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Cavaliers continue Duke’s wretched ACC streak

Senior Lauren Miller scored Saturday, but Duke was beaten 2-1 by Virginia to put a possible bid to the NCAA tournament in jeopardy.
Senior Lauren Miller scored Saturday, but Duke was beaten 2-1 by Virginia to put a possible bid to the NCAA tournament in jeopardy.

Duke has fallen just short against ACC opponents over and over this season, and the disappointing trend continued Saturday as the Blue Devils (9-9, 0-5 in the ACC) registered a 2-1 loss against No. 3 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. Duke posted strong efforts both offensively and defensively, but was unable to secure the win against the Cavaliers (16-2, 3-2) in its last regular season contest.

Going into the game, head coach Beth Bozman understood the quality of play that it would take to defeat Virginia on its home field.

“It’s like walking into Cameron [Indoor Stadium] and expecting to beat Duke. It’s a tough place,” Bozman said.  

However, No. 14 Duke quickly demonstrated its ability to play with the Cavaliers. The Blue Devils’ offense ignited early with a goal in the 20th minute by senior defender Lauren Miller, her fifth of the season. The tally came off a penalty corner, and sophomore Stephanie Fee picked up the assist.   

Although Duke went into halftime with the lead, Virginia gained offensive momentum early in the second half, led by sophomores Paige Selenski and Michelle Vittesse. Selenski, ranked seventh nationally in goals per game, tipped the ball into the net off a pass from Vittesse in the 39th minute to give the Cavaliers their first goal.

Just four minutes later, Virginia’s offensive duo struck again, this time with a goal from Vitesse. She netted her sixth goal of the season on a two-on-one offensive opportunity facilitated by an assist from Selenski.   

Virginia’s commanding offense kept the Blue Devil defenders active the rest of the way. Goalie Samantha Nelson was a force in the cage, saving eight shots, six of which came in the first half. Nelson out-stopped Virginia goalie Kim Kastuk 8-3 to drive the Duke defense. Nelson has been a dominant force in the net this season, recording 75 saves and two shutouts for the Blue Devils.  

The Duke offense registered four shots on goal Saturday. Miller led the team with three shots, while senior Amie Survilla added one. Survilla, the team’s leading scorer, had 20 goals this season, making her the ninth-best in goals per season in Duke history. Survilla’s offensive talents were kept in check by the Cavalier defense, though, and Virginia held on for the win.

Duke looks to reverse the outcome of Saturday’s game in a rematch with Virginia in the first round of the ACC tournament Nov. 5. The team must win next Thursday’s game to keep its record above the .500 mark required to be eligible for an NCAA tournament berth.

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