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Frustrating year ends in Virginia

Senior Lauren Miller’s efforts were not enough to help Duke beat Virginia and stay in contention for an NCAA tournament berth.
Senior Lauren Miller’s efforts were not enough to help Duke beat Virginia and stay in contention for an NCAA tournament berth.

The story of the Blue Devils’ season repeated itself Thursday in Charlottesville, Va., but on this day, it meant the end of Duke’s season.

The Blue Devils needed a win in the first round of the ACC tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament, but came up short in a 3-1 defeat to No. 3 Virginia on its home field. This was the second matchup in one week between the two conference rivals, and Duke (9-10) dropped both matches to the Cavaliers.

NCAA rules mandate that teams have a .500 record to be eligible for the national tournament, and the Blue Devils fell just short of that mark.

“I keep saying it’s the best team we’ve had in three years but we are not going to the [NCAA] tournament,” head coach Beth Bozman said. “We had some unlucky breaks.”

No. 14 Duke and Virginia (17-2) played evenly for most of the first half. Both teams had three shots in the period, and Virginia had only a slight advantage in penalty corners.

After 13 minutes of play, Virginia sophomore All-ACC midfielder Inga Stöckel scored on a penalty corner to put the Cavaliers ahead. Duke responded less than three minutes later when freshman Abby Hassinger notched her third goal of the season on a penalty corner with an assist from senior All-ACC defender Lauren Miller.

Just before halftime, sophomore All-ACC midfielder Paige Selenski scored on a penalty corner to put Virginia ahead 2-1.

“We are a real talented team, it’s unfortunate,” Bozman said. “I’m really incredibly proud of this team.”

The score remained 2-1 as the two teams battled back and forth in the second half. Virginia dominated the game from a statistical standpoint putting eight shots on goal while Duke had only two, but junior goalkeeper Samantha Nelson, and the Blue Devil defense kept the Cavaliers from adding to their lead.

It wasn’t until the last minute of play that Selenski tallied her second goal of the game and wrapped up the victory for Virginia. The goal was her third against Duke during the week.

The win moves Virginia to the semifinal round, where it will take on No. 2 North Carolina.

It was an emotional ending for seniors Amie Survilla and Miller, who both earned All-ACC honors earlier in the week.

“I’m sorry for Lauren Miller and Amie Survilla because of what they have done for the program,” Bozman said. “They are leaving this program far better than when they came in. I’m proud to have shared it with them.”

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