It was a tale of two halves Saturday for No. 9 Duke against reigning national champion No. 5 North Carolina.
And, in the end, the climax proved unfortunate for Duke.
The Blue Devils (6-3, 0-2 in the ACC) suffered their second in-conference loss Saturday, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Tar Heels (7-3, 1-0) at Williams Field.
The team held its rival scoreless for the entire first half, with Duke's lone score coming from junior forward Amie Survilla in the 14th minute.
The Blue Devils went into halftime with an edge that wouldn't last.
Duke allowed two goals in the second half, including one from the ACC's leading scorer, Danielle Forword.
Despite the 2-1 loss, Duke showed the ability to slow down the one of the nation's top offenses.
"We had five freshmen in our lineup, and in every game we play, we are going to get better," head coach Beth Bozman said.
Freshman goalie Ali Comolli anchored the defense that held the Tar Heels, averaging more than five goals per contest, to just two.
"Ali really stepped it up," junior defender Lauren Miller said. "She made big saves, and we couldn't have asked much more from her."
"We are really happy with her," Bozman said of Comolli. "She's saving the balls that should be saved, and overall, with such a young team to step up against the defending national champions is commendable."
Along with Comolli in goal, the four other freshmen rounding out the staring lineup were midfielders Megan Deakins, Tara Jennings, Rhian Jones and defender Stefanie Fee.
The chemistry and cohesion that the team plays with will help it continue to build to face the difficult competition in the ACC.
The loss to North Carolina actually proved to be a promising sign of what is to come for Duke in the rest of the season, Bozman said.
"This game was an example that we can play the top teams in the country," she said.
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