HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Duke freshman attackman Justin Guterding tallied six goals and Myles Jones added three goals and a pair of assists as the No. 3 Blue Devils upended High Point 16-13 in the lacrosse season opener.
“Watching High Point on tape we just think they are so well coached and they have some great talent,” said coach John Danowski. “At Duke you always get everyone’s best shot. We knew this was going to be a 60-minute battle.”
Duke (1-0) tied 13-13 with the Panthers late in the fourth quarter, held High Point scoreless in the final 10 minutes and added three in the last six minutes for the season-opening win. The junior duo of Jones and Deemer Class closed out the game for the Blue Devils with a goal apiece, while Guterding sealed the win with an empty net goal with 14 seconds left. Class finished with two goals and an assist.
“I was impressed with our ability to play the game for 60 minutes,” Danowski said. “[At the end] we had possession of the ball. Defensively, I thought we played well in the box the whole game. Luke Aaron made two big saves in that last five-minute sequence.”
Luke Aaron, playing 40 minutes for the day, came up with two big saves in the closing minutes to secure his first victory of the year. He finished with seven saves in the game. Making his debut as Duke’s top faceoff man, senior Jack Rowe won 20-of-33 restarts and picked up 10 ground balls.
“I think what we did see was guys in brand new roles all over the place,” Danowsk said. “You saw guys playing new roles and there were a lot of different, from our perspective, a lot of great plays in the game that were significant if we’re to grow and move forward.”
The first half was a tale of two quarters for the Blue Devils. Duke jumped out to a 5-2 lead after 15 minutes with five goals from five different players. The Blue Devils held High Point to just six shots overall in the first quarter, while firing 17 of their own, including 12 on goal.
The opposite proved to be true in the second quarter as High Point outscored the Blue Devils 5-2 to even the score at the half. After Duke opened the period with a Case Matheis tally, the Panthers went on a 5-1 run in the final 12 minutes to bring it to a 7-7 game after 30 exciting minutes of action.
Duke, after scoring just twice on 10 shots, came out in the third quarter on fire. Guterding sparked the five-goal run with a pair of his own in the opening five minutes. Tanner Scott and Case Matheis squeezed in a goal apiece before the rookie Guterding capped the streak that gave Duke its largest lead of the game 12-7.
High Point (1-1), much like it did in the second quarter, roared back to into contention with six of the next seven goals to even the score 13-13 and set up the strong finish by the Blue Devils.
Duke outshot the Panthers 47-28 and won the ground ball battle 38-24. High Point goaltender Austin Geisler finished with 18 saves. Duke sophomore goaltender Danny Fowler saw his first action in the cage, making one save in 20 minutes.