Commentary

Danowski, Duke need no time to warm up

Originally Published: February 25, 2008
By Quint Kessenich | ESPN.com

Here's a look at my top 20 teams, and the reasons I'm voting for them:

1. Duke
Matt Danowski has 16 points in two games, passing Syracuse's John Zulberti on the all-time scoring list. The "Z" man was a classic, one of the premier attackman in Orange history who invented the dip and dunk. The Blue Devil's steamrolled Bucknell in Week 1 and disposed of Vermont on Saturday. Duke has its first real test Saturday when they host Maryland (ESPNU, 5:30 p.m. ET).

2. Johns Hopkins
In one of the most impressive Blue Jays debuts I've seen, Hopkins cleared 24 of 25 and was ultra quick and tough on ground balls (Matt Bocklet's work is worth mentioning). Jays did not let Albany score a single transition goal. Goaltender Michael Gvozden was terrific in his debut and Kevin Huntley shot 4 of 9. The first midfield, however, was not in sync. Hopkins faces Princeton on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in the Konica-Minolta Face-Off Classic (ESPNU, 2:30 p.m. ET).

3. North Carolina
The Tar Heel defense was dominating at Denver, allowing just eight shots in the second half, with one in the third period. So much for the Rocky Mountain altitude being a factor. UNC went 1-for-10 on EMO yet prevailed. Heels lost six games in 2007 -- three of them were to Duke.

4. Maryland
Freshmen accounted for nine goals in Maryland's win at Georgetown on Saturday. Coach Dave Cottle is now 17-1 vs. Georgetown in his career. The baby Terps scored in transition and capitalized on Hoyas miscues. The youngsters will get the real welcome to college lacrosse on Saturday in Durham, N.C.

5. Virginia
Home opener at Klockner against Stony Brook wasn't a cake walk. Virginia was on its way to a blow out with a 9-2 lead, and next thing you know the score was 13-13. Danny Gladding tallied eight points, helping the ACC go a perfect 7-0 on the year.

6. Syracuse
The Orange edged Army on Sunday, holding the Black Knights to a mere 22 shots. Syracuse hops on the bus down to Charm City to challenge the Wahoos on Saturday (ESPNU, noon ET).

7. Cornell
Cornell found a way to win late verses Navy this week. It appears as if it will take some time to replace Eric Pittard, David Mitchell, Mitch Belisle and Matt McMonagle. Tough game at North Carolina on Sunday.

8. Albany
I was very impressed with the Great Danes on Saturday. Jordan Levine is legit, and the Amman twins are going to score 20 goals apiece. Biggest question mark will be developing offense from behind the goal. Albany put more pressure on the JHU goal this year in a defeat than they did last year in victory. (In 2007, Hopkins' goalkeeper only made four saves on 21 Albany shots; in 2008 JHU goalie made 11 stops on 26 shots.) The Great Danes have Siena tomorrow and then Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday.

9. Princeton
The Tigers led Canisius by just two entering the fourth quarter. Canisius generated more shots (35-32) than the Tigers, which isn't a good sign, but Alex Hewit made 17 saves. Princeton did shut out Canisius for the final 20:49. Tommy Davis had a career-high four goals for the Tigers. Up next for Coach Tierney are the Blue Jays.

10. Georgetown
The Hoyas dropped their opener 11-6 to Maryland. Defender Barney Ehrmann is Georgetown's best player -- he scored a goal and was everywhere, scooping up seven game balls. Freshman Brian Tabb was impressive, taking 13 of 20 faceoffs. The first midfield line shot just 1 for 13. St. John's comes to DC next week in the lacrosse version of the "Sweater Game."

11. Delaware
Delaware handled Marist 12-6 in Bob Shillinglaw's 500th game as a coach. Curtis Dickson had a hand in eight goals, scoring five times and dishing out three assists. The Blue Hens are 3-0 and play Rutgers on Saturday.

12. Denver
Denver beat Colgate in Week 1 and lost to UNC week in Week 2. The Pioneers travel east to UMBC on Saturday.

13. Navy
The first regular-season game between the Big Red and Navy since 1975 saw the Mids surrender two goals in the final minute before losing in overtime.

14. Notre Dame
Ryan Hoff scored six goals as Notre Dame beat the Nittany Lions for the sixth straight time.

15. Drexel
The Broad Street Bullies beat Penn 9-8 on Saturday, scoring the final four goals of the game.

16. Ohio State
The Buckeyes beat Colgate 13-6 on Sunday after losing a heartbreaker to Navy last week. They won the third quarter 5-0. Colgate is now 0-2 against the GWLL. Bucknell is an important game for the Buckeyes on Saturday.

17. Bucknell
Bucknell bounced back from last week's Duke thrashing with a 10-9 win over Hobart on Sunday.

18. Massachusetts
UMass jumped out to a 5-1 lead and goalie Doc Schneider made a career-high 19 saves against Hofstra, but an ugly incident on Feb. 2 still looms over the Minutemen.

19. Dartmouth
The Big Green beat Hartford 10-6.

20. Loyola
The Greyhounds scrapped their way to a win over Charles Street rival Towson as sophomore attackman Cooper MacDonnell scored a career-high four goals. Loyola was eager to capitalize on Tiger generosity during clears.

Outside looking in:
Siena: The MAAC favorite upset Harvard on Saturday. Coach Brian Brecht has the Saints program moving in an upward direction.

Holy Cross: The Crusaders beat Yale on Sunday to complete a rough opening week for the Ivy League.

Congratulations to Lehigh coach Kevin Cassese (former Duke assistant coach), who won his first game as a head coach.

Quint Kessenich covers college and professional lacrosse for ESPN. He can be reached at quint@insidelacrosse.com.

Quint Kessenich covers college and professional lacrosse for ESPN.

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