February 12, 2011

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.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

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.

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