DURHAM, N.C. — Senior midfielder Myles Jones had three goals and three assists while freshman attackman Justin Guterding added four tallies as No. 3 Duke defeated visiting Air Force 13-7 at Koskinen Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Duke (2-0) also received a three-goal effort from sophomore attackman Jack Bruckner as the Blue Devils overcame a 5-4 halftime deficit en route to the six-goal victory.
“I think we really tried to value the ball in the first half,” Bruckner said. “In the second half we just kind of played our game, slung the ball and played Duke lacrosse.”
The Blue Devils outscored the Falcons 9-2 in the second half and held Air Force to just eight shots in the fourth quarter. The win, the 349th career victory for head coach John Danowski, extended Duke’s home win streak to 18 dating back to March of 2013.
After a first period which saw the teams deadlocked at 2-2, Duke took a 3-2 advantage on a Jones marker early in the second quarter. Air Force then used a patient offensive attack to counter with three consecutive goals by Austin Smith, Nate Hruby and Chris Walsch. Duke pulled within one goal just prior to intermission on a marker by Deemer Class.
“Coach [Ben] DeLuca thought we should extend the tempo a little bit, extend the field and I think that’s what we did,” Danowski said. “We tried to pressure them a little bit, create some turnovers early. We just tried to heat up their attackmen a little bit more when they were subbing their midfield on and off and our defensemen did a nice job of that.”
Bruckner and Jones both threw in a goal to open the scoring in third quarter, and after an Air Force goal by James Burke tied the score at 6-6, the Blue Devils used five consecutive goals — including four from Guterding — to pull away.
“That’s just me catching the ball and finishing,” Guterding said. “I’m not doing much. These other guys [in the midfield] are unbelievable. They are the ones who create space for me by cutting through, dodging. Jack [Bruckner] is a great finisher and us two are usually on the pipes and we’re just there to finish the ball.”
At the face-off X, the Rowe brothers — Jack (11 of 19) and Kyle (3 of 5) — combined to secure 14 of 24 draws for the Blue Devils. Jack Rowe scooped up a team-high six ground balls.
In goal, Luke Aaron posted 10 saves for the Blue Devils while his counterpart, Doug Gouchoe, was credited with 13 stops.
Air Force was paced offensively by Smith’s pair of goals while Burke and Christopher Allen finished with one goal and one assist each.