PHILADELPHIA -- Robert Rotanz led a potent Duke attack with a career-high five goals as the Duke Blue Devils beat the Colgate Raiders 17-6 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament on Sunday.
Early on, it looked like the upstart Raiders would give the Blue Devils all they could handle. Colgate (14-4) took a 4-2 lead on freshman Ryan Walsh's goal with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter, but it was all Duke after that.
"Everybody knew we needed to settle down," Duke senior Justin Turri said about a timeout taken by head coach John Danowski following that Walsh goal. "It was a big, deep breath timeout, regain our focus. You could tell some guys early on had to get some jitters out."
Rotanz scored four goals during the crucial 13-0 Duke run, which spanned 26:14 of the first through third quarters, turning that deficit into a 15-4 lead. The senior midfielder, who entered the game third on the team in points (40), added one more tally with 2:19 remaining in the third quarter to join sophomore Jordan Wolf as the only Blue Devils with five-goal games this season.
"I think we just had the momentum at that point," Rotanz said. "Momentum's a funny thing...I think that run was just a product of everybody being on the same page."
"I thought guys were just being unselfish," Danowski said. "A ton of assisted goals. Sometimes that's a function of how your opponent is defending you, but I thought guys were playing the right way and playing correct."
Wolf had two goals of his own, joining Rotanz, Christian Walsh (three goals), David Lawson (two) and Jake Tripucka (two) as the Blue Devils with multi-goal games.
Colgate's top offensive player, national goals leader Peter Baum (3.88 per game), was held to just one goal in the first period as part of an impressive defensive effort by Duke.
"I felt like at the beginning of the game, I was really taking it to them," Baum said. "In the second quarter there, we didn't get the ball a lot...and the wheels just kind of fell off.
"It's tough to come back after that."
The Raiders never threatened after that demoralizing run, getting just two goals in the entire second half as the Blue Devils ran out the clock. Both of those goals were scored by Walsh, giving him a hat-trick.
"Pete's drawing all the attention...I just took advantage of the opportunity Pete basically gave me," Walsh said. "I'm not satisfied with my game, because we didn't win."
Duke (15-4) has now won 12 of its last 13 games after getting off to a fairly shaky start to begin the season, losing only once since March 10 (April 27 vs. Denver).
The Blue Devils dominated time of possession, getting opportunity after opportunity against an overmatched Raiders defense.
When the Raiders would break through for opportunities, they often found themselves turned away by Duke goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer, who made nine saves (.600 save percentage) to maintain his team's comfortable lead.
Duke, which advances to the national semifinal for the sixth straight season, faces Maryland next Saturday with a chance to earn its second national title game appearance in three years. That year, the Blue Devils beat Notre Dame 6-5 in overtime to clinch the school's first national championship.