Off the back of a dominant 16-8 win over Syracuse that jumped them up to #2 in the country, Maryland hosted the #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils at Byrd Stadium. The game was an exciting and high tempo affair early before Maryland put the clamps on defensively in the second half and defeated Duke 10-6.
The game started fast with Jordan Wolf scoring on an EMO for the Blue Devils who held a sizable shot advantage early. Maryland quickly answered with two goals from Mike Chanenchuk to take a 2-1 lead. The Terps controlled the pace for the next five to six minutes before Josh Dionne struck for Duke to tie it up at 2-2 and that's how it ended after one.
The second quarter picked up where the first left off with the Terps taking advantage of an EMO of their own and Jay Carlson scored to give Maryland a 2-1 lead. Jordan Wolf answered right back and a fabulous individual goal from Duke attackman Case Matheis had the Blue Devils up 4-3. Maryland struggled to get groundballs and take care of the ball which then resulted in another lay-up for Duke from Matheis again and after a 3-0 run it was 5-3 Blue Devils. Maryland finally got some momentum and started to pepper Luke Aaron's goal and it paid off with Colin Heacock getting his first of the year to cut the lead to 1. Mike Chanenchuk then completed his hat trick and the Terrapins tied it back up at 5. The Terrapins cut down on the TO's and developed a rhythm which resulted in Matt Rambo scoring to give Maryland a 6-5 lead with 1:44 left in the half. That would hold the rest of the way and Maryland had a 6-5 lead at the end of a thrilling first half.
Maryland continued the pressure and tempo early in the 2nd half and peppered Luke Aaron in the Duke cage. Aaron fended off numerous Terp efforts as part of a great day in the cage. Chanenchuk was not to be denied though and got his 4th to put Maryland up 2. The Terps D started enter lockdown mode and Niko Amato made a few good saves as opportunities were coming few and far between for the Blue Devils. Mike Chanenchuk got his 5th of the game and then Charlie Raffa scored by himself to put the Terps up 9-5 and make it 6 unanswered goals from Maryland. The Maryland D continued to stifle the Blue Devils and it was 9-5 Maryland after 3 quarters with Duke on a 23 minute goal scoring drought.
Maryland kept the tempo up in the 4th Quarter and struck early from Joe LoCascio and the Terrapins were doubling up Duke 10-5. Myles Jones then broke a 28 minute goal scoring drought for Duke to cut the lead to 10-6 with just over 10 minutes to go. Duke stepped up the pressure in the 4th, but Niko Amato made a few crucial saves to keep the lead at 4. The score would remain the same the rest of the way and the Terps took home a comfortable 10-6 victory over Duke.
Plenty of choices for MVP for the Terrapins. Niko Amato made numerous key saves for Maryland, especially down the stretch in the second half as Duke amped up the pressure. But Mike Chanenchuk was also on fire offensively scoring 5 goals for the Terrapins. Jay Carlson and Matt Rambo also tallied goals, with Rambo playing the role of helper for Chanenchuk which has been a role-reverse to what we've seen early this season. Colin Heacock also registered his first goal as a Terp.
If you had told me 2 weeks ago that Maryland would go 0-2 vs Syracuse and Duke but played well, I'd of been somewhat pleased. If you told me they would go 1-1 I would be very pleased. 2-0? I'm over the moon. This team is simply firing on all cylinders and has shown that they are as balanced as any team in the nation, and likely are the most balanced team in the nation. The offensive production has picked up from the back end of last season and the defense is once again extremely stout. This team is fun to watch and will continue to be fun to watch as we advance in what still is a young season.
The young Terps can't get in over their heads as there is work to do straight away next Saturday as they go on the road to take on Stony Brook and it's still just March 1st. But it's certainly fun to have the #1 team in the nation reside in College Park and they'll be fun to watch the rest of the way.