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Wantagh/Chaminade star goalie Danny Fowler keeps Duke in the lead

Duke goalie Danny Fowler looks to pass during

Duke goalie Danny Fowler looks to pass during the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse semifinal against Maryland on Saturday at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Peyton Williams

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Sometimes it’s the little things. “Like making the first save of the second half,” Duke goalie Danny Fowler said.

And sometimes it’s the big things, like playing a solid game from start to finish — as the former Chaminade star from Wantagh did as Duke beat defending champion Maryland, 13-8, in an NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse semifinal on Saturday.

“I thought this was Danny’s best game of his career,” Blue Devils coach John Danowski said after Fowler made 12 saves. “Maryland has a tremendous amount of weapons. Connor Kelly is a great shooter. But I thought Danny was relaxed and comfortable. Not only did he make saves, but he cleared the ball really effectively.”

Fowler made a handful of big saves that prevented Maryland from coming all the way back. The Terps cut a 6-0 deficit to 8-7 midway through the third quarter, but Fowler allowed only one harmless goal the rest of the way.

“I thought their goalie was terrific,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “I felt like whenever we got some looks, he kind of stoned us at times.”

Said Fowler, a graduate student who played football as a freshman while redshirting in lacrosse: “I was seeing the ball today and just focusing on seeing the next shot. The defense played well and made them settle for some outside shots. And the offense would score a goal that would settle us down.”

He said that even though it was the first time he had played in a football stadium — Gillette Stadium is home to the Patriots — he had no trouble. “The backdrop here is all dark,’’ he said. “I didn’t even think about the stadium at all.”

His performance Saturday allowed him to think about only one thing as he closes out a long career: “We have never really shied away from setting our goal to win a national championship.”

That would be a big thing.

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