Virginia Downs Duke to Keep NCAA Hopes Alive
from press release
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Virginia women's lacrosse team advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Women's Lacrosse Championships with a 10-7 first-round victory over Duke.
The fifth-seeded Cavaliers will take on top-seeded Maryland on Friday, March 26 at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the ACC Regional Sports Networks and streamed online on ESPN3.
"I could not be more proud of the team today," said head coach Julie Myers. "Everyone came with their best game and the fourth-years certainly lead the charge, setting the tone and an example for the team to follow. I thought we were great on ground balls and draw controls, really making Duke play some tough defense. Our defense on the other end was very stingy. They slid pretty well and really covered free players. All over the field, it was one of our better performances from top to bottom."
The Cavaliers held a 6-3 advantage at halftime with hat tricks from Casey Bocklet (So., South Salem, N.Y.) and Liza Blue (So., Butler, Md.) accounting for the six goals.
Duke pulled to within two, 8-6, after a shot by Blue was blocked. The Blue Devils came up with the ground ball and scored on a fast break with 18:06 remaining. Blue added her career-best fourth goal of the game with 12:44 remaining to push the lead back to three, 9-6. Kelly Boyd (Fr., Baltimore, Md.) recorded the first assist of her career, dishing to Ashlee Warner (Jr., Corning, N.Y.) right in front of the net with 9:14 remaining to extend the lead to 10-6.
After Duke scored on a free position shot with 4:40 remaining, Lelan Bailey (Sr., Millersville, Md.) won her sixth draw control of the game, putting Virginia back on attack. The Cavaliers had two man-up opportunities in the final 3:30 of the game and never lost possession, running out the clock to earn the victory.
"I think it sparked our offense," Blue said of her goal scoring. "We just knew to go for broke in this game. We needed to leave it all out on the field. We went hard in practice all week and my teammates really helped set me up really nicely." With the win, Virginia, currently ranked No. 20 in the IWLCA poll, improves to 9-8. Duke, currently ranked No. 7 in the IWLCA poll, fell to 11-5. The victory ensures that Virginia will finish with the non-losing record required for consideration for an NCAA Tournament berth.
"We knew that our backs were against the wall and we needed to get to .500 to make it to the post season," said senior defender Megan Dunleavy. "In ACC's, anything can happen and we showed that today. It is really exciting."
It was only the second time that a five-seed won a first-round game in the ACC Tournament. It was also the first time that Duke lost in a first-round ACC Tournament game.