The regular season has come to a close, and Duke could not snag its first win against an ACC or higher-ranked opponent in its last chance to do so. The No. 22 Blue Devils fell to the No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers 3-1 at Jack Katz Stadium in their final contest of the 2012 regular season.
Before play began, Duke (7-10, 0-5 in the ACC) honored its three seniors, midfielders Mary Nielsen and Chelsea Amsley and defender Abby Hassinger.
“I have to thank our seniors,” Bustin told GoDuke.com. “The contribution and impact you have on this team is fantastic, and your on-field presence this year has made a difference, especially through the thin times that we’ve had…. I’m proud to say you’re Blue Devils, and I’m proud to say I had an opportunity to coach you.”
Once the contest began, Virginia (15-3, 4-1) opened up the scoring in the seventh minute with sophomore forward Rachel Sumfest’s goal off Duke sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Blazing’s rebound. Virginia senior forward Paige Selenski took the original shot on Blazing and was credited with the assist. Selenski entered the game two points shy of breaking Virginia’s all-time points record.
In the 22nd minute, Duke tied the game up with a goal by sophomore forward Martine Chichizola off a penalty corner. Junior midfielder Grace Christus and Amsley were tabbed with the assists. Before the first half could come to a close, however, Selenski scored a goal of her own, putting the Cavaliers ahead for good and earning Selenski her 229th point to put her name atop Virginia’s record books.
“It just goes to show how powerful [Virginia’s] program is and how great of a team we’ve had my whole four years here,” Selenski told VirginiaSports.com. “We’ve been able to accomplish so much, and breaking this record you can’t do without a great team so I’m just so thankful to have my teammates behind me.”
Sumfest scored again in the 46th minute off a pass from junior defender Elly Buckley, cementing the Cavalier victory. Despite the loss, Duke held a 17-15 advantage in shots and 9-8 in penalty corners, while Virginia sophomore goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone outnumbered Blazing in saves, 9-7.
“Our attack was fantastic as we outshot and outcornered a great Virginia team,” Bustin said. “But Virginia’s goalkeeper had an amazing game and made some impressive saves.”
With the win, Virginia secured its second seed and first round bye in this week’s ACC Tournament. As the only team without a win in the ACC, Duke earned the sixth seed in the tournament, playing No. 3 seed Maryland Thursday. A rematch could be in the Cavaliers’ and Blue Devils’ future, however, because Virginia will play the winner of the Duke-Maryland game.
Bustin remains optimistic about Duke’s chances in the postseason, as her team showed both potential offensively and defensively against a top-ranked foe.
“I am so proud of our fight and composure today as we battled against one of the best attacking teams in the country,” Bustin said. “Our performance today is exactly the effort and teamwork we need as we continue to prepare for the upcoming tournament.”