Howell Shows Star Power in Duke's Season-Opening Rout of Siena
from staff reports
Attackman Zach Howell proved he could shoulder the load Saturday, scoring seven goals as Duke opened its NCAA title defense with a 20-6 victory over Siena.
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DURHAM, N.C.-- Zach Howell scored 51 goals last year, yet some doubted he could do the same this year without cohorts Ned Crotty and Max Quinzani. Howell made a statement to the contrary Saturday, scoring a career-high nine points on seven goals and two assists to lead the fifth-ranked Blue Devils to a convincing 20-6 season-opening win over Siena College at Koskinen Stadium.
Eleven different Duke players notched a goal and 15 different Blue Devils registered at least one point overall in the game.
Duke (1-0) improved to 48-23 all-time in season openers and to 45-25 in home openers. The 20 goals were the most by the Blue Devils in the first game of the season since 2006 when they beat Butler 20-3.
"I was really delighted with the focus of the team," Duke head coach John Danowski said. "The theme of today was that last year was way gone and it was about you now and you creating your new path, whatever that's going to be. Two things we wanted to was get after ground balls and exchange the ball well, just clear well and possessing on offense. If we can do those two things I thought we could be successful. I'm certainly delighted with the effort."
The Blue Devils got out of the gates quickly against Siena (0-1), scoring five goals in the first 7:59 for a 5-0 lead. Sophomore attackman Josh Offit registered the season's first tally 2:54 into the contest as he fired home a pass from Howell to make it 1-0. Five different Blue Devils netted scores over the final 12 minutes of the opening quarter to put Duke in front 6-1.
Included in that group were four Blue Devils notching their first career points in a Duke uniform. Redshirt senior Jesse Fehr tallied the game's fifth goal off and assist from sophomore David Lawson, who posted his first career assist. Rookie Christian Walsh rounded out the scoring for the first period for his first goal as a Blue Devil. Also getting involved was freshman Jordan Wolf with an assist on the fourth goal of the game.
Siena stopped Duke's quick start with a goal at the 6:15 mark of the first quarter from Chris D'Alberti. Kevin Cotter dished out the assist on the play.
Senior Sam Spillane started the second quarter with his second goal of the game, dropping in a pass from junior CJ Costabile for his second goal of the game. The two goals by Spillane are a career-high.
Less than 40 seconds later, Siena's Chris Roth registered thee first of his two markers on the day to make it a 7-2 game early in the second frame. John Rogener provided the assist for the Saints. Siena added one more goal in the second quarter, while Duke put away five more, including one in the final second, for a 12-3 halftime lead.
The final two quarters were much of the same with Duke scoring four goals in each of the sessions en route to the 14-goal victory. Howell posted five of the final eight Blue Devils goals, while freshman Josh Dionne and Lawson both tallied their first career goals in the final quarter.
Duke dominated the game in all facets as the Blue Devils outshot the Saints 47-22. The Blue Devils won 18 of the 28 faceoffs, with Costabile going 9-of-14 in draws and rookie winning 6-of-7 in his debut. The Blue Devils won the ground ball game, 42-29 with Costabile leading the way with six. Brendan Fowler
In goal, Duke sophomore Dan Wigrizer earned the start and made seven saves. Mike Rock manned the cage in the third and fourth quarters, making one stop, while Chris Shannon had one save in the final three minutes. Siena goaltender Tom Moor had seven stops in the first 30 minutes and Bill Kelly made three saves in the second half.
Duke, ranked No. 5 in the preseason USILA Division I poll, will take on No. 7 Notre Dame next in the Sunshine Classic in Jacksonville, Fla. The game will be played at EverBank Stadium on Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. A rematch of the 2010 NCAA championship game, it will be televised by ESPN.