- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2005

PRINCETON, N.J. — Matt Danowski scored five goals as second-seeded Duke brushed aside unseeded Cornell 11-8 at Princeton Stadium in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals to advance to the final four.

The Blue Devils (16-2) will play on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1997 and the second time ever, meeting third-seeded Maryland in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Freshman Zack Greer, a key addition for a team that went 5-8 last season, scored three goals to give him 53 for the season, tying him with John Fay (1997) for the most in Duke history.

“It’s an unbelievable turnaround,” Danowski said. “That’s why I came to Duke — to go to the final four and play for a national championship.”

Duke and Maryland are joined in the semifinals by fellow ACC member Virginia, the first time in the event’s 35-year history a conference had three teams in the final four.

“The top four seeds are in the final four, and all three of us have been ranked in the top four or five all year,” Duke coach Mike Pressler said. “Nobody is surprised, but it is great for our conference.”

Cornell kept it close for a half, restricting the tempo despite its high-octane proclivities on the way to trailing 4-3 at the break. However, Duke pole Casey Carroll scored in an unsettled situation off the opening faceoff in the third quarter, and Danowski followed two minutes later to make it 6-3. The Blue Devils scored five more goals before the end of the quarter to put it out of reach.

The Big Red (11-3) scored five straight in the final period but still wound up with their third quarterfinal loss in four years. Cornell hasn’t reached the final four since 1988.

Duke split its two games with Maryland, winning in the regular season 10-8 at College Park. The Terrapins bounced back to shock the Blue Devils 9-5 in the ACC tournament final, a loss Duke is eager to avenge.

“This is what we wanted,” Danowski said. “We beat Georgetown pretty well, so we wanted to play Maryland. We didn’t play well against them last time, and we wanted them again to leave no doubt in anybody’s mind how good we really are.”

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