February 9, 2011

NCAA Preview: No. 8 Duke

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

The February issue of Lacrosse Magazine features an extensive NCAA lacrosse preview, from Division I through Division III, plus in-depth features on the top-ranked Syracuse men and the snake-bitten Cal women. Lacrosse Magazine Online (laxmagazine.com) examines the key players, strengths, weaknesses, best- and worst-case scenarios, sleepers, what's new, what's not and rival coaches' takes on each of the top 10-ranked teams in Division I men's and women's lacrosse.

MEN: 10 COR | 9 HOF | 8 DUKE | 7 UND | 6 PTON | 5 MD | 4 SB | 3 UNC | 2 UVA | 1 CUSE
WOMEN: 10 UND | 9 JMU | 8 PENN | 7 UVA | 6 GTOWN | 5 CUSE | 4 DUKE | 3 UNC | 2 NW | 1 MD

NO. 8 DUKE

Is Zach Howell a star or a byproduct of playing alongside great players? We'll find out in 2011.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

Head Coach: John Danowski | Listen
Conference:
ACC
2010 Records: 16-4, 1-2
2011 Opener: Saturday, Feb. 12 vs. Siena | Schedule

KEY PLAYERS

A Zach Howell (Sr.)
Can Howell (51g, 19a) produce as much without Ned Crotty and Max Quinzani as he did with them? “Like everyone else in the world, we’re saying, well, maybe Zach scored 51 goals just because he was playing with those two other guys,” Danowski said. “That remains to be seen. Could be true, or maybe Zach is one of those guys that just figures out a way.”

M Justin Turri (Jr.)
Duke’s most dynamic threat from the midfield had a breakout performance against Virginia in the NCAA semifinals and will look to improve on his 20 goals and 17 assists. His ability to do so hinges on how well he can dodge long poles and spin feeds off slides.

D Michael Manley (Sr.)
Third-team All-American (44 GBs, 17 CTs) anchors Duke defense that needs to continue to protect sophomore goalie Dan Wigrizer and put shooters in a position from which he can make saves.

STRENGTHS

• Depth. "Sometimes you have depth, but you're not really talented," Danowski said. No such worries here.
• Versatility with attackmen who can play midfield, and vice versa.

WEAKNESSES

• Vulnerability up the middle, from goalkeeping to faceoffs to crease play.
• No go-to guy in the mold of Crotty. “We need to look down there and see somebody,” Danowski said. “I don’t know that we have a guy on the field that people feel that way about…yet.”

BEST CASE

Zach Howell steps up, reassuring Duke that there’s still some star power on attack and making opponents pay for sliding from him.

WORST CASE

Howell does his best Hollow Man impression. Duke’s offense becomes one-dimensional and predictable.

SLEEPER

M Dave Lawson (So.)
Lawson is one of several sophomores (goalie Dan Wigrizer and attackman Josh Offit are among others) whose demeanors impressed Danowski in the fall. Danowski was disheartened that Lawson, even as a defensive middie, didn't do more to become a two-way threat in 2010. "As a team that likes to run, get up and down, it's pretty hard not to score a goal," Danowski said. Lawson's attack has changed. "This year he's more confident, more aggressive, more relaxed."

RIVAL COACH'S TAKES

"There's no question Turri's going to be a pole and Howell is going to get a pole. A lot of people have to step up outside the ones you know. I think there are a lot of question marks, but they have a bunch of good players."

"They lost 18-20 seniors, and I think the big thing is replacing those two attackmen [Ned Crotty and Max Quinzani]. They had some good experience, but I think losing those two, they're two dynamic players and impactful in so many ways."

"They always lose players, but with the fifth-year seniors, they lost so many. You just don't know. You figure they'll be by good midseason and tough to beat."

"Fifth-years are gone. It's a new breed to lead."

"Look for a slow start, but they will be right there in the end."

WHAT'S NEW?

"No stars," Danowski said, which could be a good thing. "We've had a little bit of star power since I've been here. Ned [Crotty] and Max [Quinzani], Matt [Danowski] and Zack [Greer]. Nobody will be writing about any of our individuals."

WHAT'S NOT?

Uncertainty in goal. Danowski did a good job managing a committee approach in 2010. Dan Wigrizer will likely start. But Sean Brady, dismissed from the team due to conduct issues, is back and ready to contend. Mike Rock also returns.

1

Players recruited by Mike Pressler remaining on the Duke roster: fifth-year senior midfielder Terrence Molinari.


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