Two weeks after helping to draw nearly 5,000 fans to its regular-season finale against Boston University at Bethpage High School, Duke is back on Long Island, this time at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. The stakes are higher and a crowd twice as large is expected for Saturday’s NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse quarterfinals doubleheader.
“We looked up in the stands and saw a lot of blue,” Duke junior attack and Garden City native Justin Guterding said after the Blue Devils walloped BU, 18-8, on May 6.
That again should be the color of the day when unseeded Duke, fresh off a 19-6 win over No. 6 Johns Hopkins last weekend, faces No. 3 Ohio State at noon. The other quarterfinal matches No. 4 Notre Dame against No. 5 Denver.
Fittingly, Duke’s starting lineup has a distinct Long Island flavor. Guterding has scored 93 points (49 goals, 44 assists) and was brilliant against Hopkins with four goals and six assists. Senior Jack Bruckner (Belle Terre/Ward Melville) has scored 61 points, with 44 goals. Senior goalie Danny Fowler (Wantagh/Chaminade) is among the nation’s leaders in goals-against average (8.33) and save percentage (53.7).
“It was fun to run,” Guterding said after the Blue Devils dazzled at Johns Hopkins. “We’re a very athletic group and we want to expose other teams when we run.”
If Duke is able to score in transition on Ohio State, undoubtedly Guterding will be in the middle of things. “From the moment he stepped on the campus, he had innate lacrosse skills,” Duke coach John Danowski said. “He continues to grow as a player and I still don’t think he’s anywhere near his ceiling.”
Guterding scored 52 goals with only 18 assists as a freshman, but was more balanced as a sophomore (43 goals, 28 assists) and is nearly 50-50 this season. “That’s a testament to the coaches,” Guterding said. “My freshman year I was more of a goal scorer because we had other guys. Now, I’m stepping into an older role, more of a leadership role in the offense. It’s a lot of fun.”
The Buckeyes, led by freshman Tre Leclare (44 goals, 18 assists) and Eric Fannell (29 goals, 27 assists), will try to spoil the party. Garden City’s Matt Borges is a starter on defense. Ohio State defeated Loyola, 7-4, in the first round.
The second game features high-scoring Denver, which defeated Air Force 17-10 last week, and Trevor Baptist, the nation’s top faceoff specialist and a Tewaaraton Award finalist who has won 74.4 of his draws. Ethan Walker (35 goals, 29 assists) and Connor Cannizzaro (39 goals, 22 assists) benefit from Baptiste getting them extra possessions. Notre Dame is strong defensively, anchored by goalie Shane Doss (52.8 save percentage, 9.30 goals-against average). The Fighting Irish’s star midfielder, Sergio Perkovic, returned last week after an injury, but was limited.
The two winners at Hofstra, plus the winners of Sunday’s quarterfinals in Newark, Del. – No. 1 Maryland vs. Albany and No. 2 Syracuse vs. Towson -- advance to next weekend’s Final Four at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse quarterfinals at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium
Duke (13-4) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (14-4), noon
2:30 p.m.: No. 5 Denver (12-3) vs. No. 4 Notre Dame (9-5), 2:30 p.m.
Road to Hofstra
Duke defeated No. 6 Johns Hopkins, 19-6
Ohio State defeated Loyola, 7-4
Denver defeated Air Force, 17-10
Notre Dame defeated Marquette, 15-9
Reserved chair-back seating and Hospitality Village spots are sold out. General admission prices are $30 for adults and $15 for youths (12-and-under), senior citizens (62+) and students with college ID. Tickets can be purchased online through HofstraTickets.com, in person at the Hofstra Athletics Ticket Office in the David S. Mack Sports Complex or by phone, (516) HOF-TIXX.
Reserved parking on the south side of campus is sold out. General parking on the north campus is $10 per vehicle and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Fans can enter those parking lots via Earle Ovington Boulevard.
The winners of the games at Hofstra, plus the winners of Sunday’s games in Newark, Del. (No. 1 Maryland vs. No. 8 Albany and No. 2 Syracuse vs. Towson) advance to the Final Four at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass., on May 27 and 29.