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No. 4 Virginia pounces on Duke field hockey to remain undefeated

<p>Hannah Barreca got the Blue Devils on the board before halftime, but it was not enough to bring Duke back from an early deficit Friday at No. 4 Virginia.</p>

Hannah Barreca got the Blue Devils on the board before halftime, but it was not enough to bring Duke back from an early deficit Friday at No. 4 Virginia.

The Blue Devils were not prepared for Virginia’s attack in the opening minutes of Friday’s matchup.

No. 7 Duke could not recover after the undefeated No. 4 Cavaliers found the net four times in the first period, falling 4-2 at the University Hall Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va., suffering their second conference loss in as many games.

Blue Devil sophomore Ashley Kristen took the first shot of the game less than a minute into the match, but freshman Cavalier goalkeeper Carrera Lucas recorded her first of two stops in the game. From there, Virginia dominated the remainder of the half, wasting no time in handing the Duke its largest deficit of season with three goals in the first 21 minutes.

"I was really disappointed with the way we came out,” Duke head coach Pam Bustin told GoDuke.com. “[Give] credit to Virginia. They played a great game. We put ourselves in a really difficult position.”

The Cavaliers (7-0, 2-0 in the ACC) scored their first goal on a shot by Riley Tata off of an assist from Lucy Hyams in the fourth minute. The Blue Devils (4-3, 0-2) then weathered a penalty corner—sent into to cage but ruled too high—but were unable to turn the game’s momentum in their favor, losing the ball to Hyams, who capitalized on the opportunity to put Duke behind 2-0 just three minutes later.

Kristen again led the Blue Devils forward on offense, taking her second shot of the game at 7:29, but was blocked by Virginia’s defense. Duke was denied again in the 13th minute when Alyssa Chillano took a feed from Amanda Kim off a penalty corner.

Struggling to mount its own attack, Duke was also unable to combat the Cavaliers’ offensive efforts. Hyams secured possession on a fast break and found teammate Caleigh Foust for Virginia’s third goal. 

The Blue Devils found themselves facing their largest deficit of the season, but senior captains Aileen Johnson and Amanda Kim found an opportunity that Hannah Barreca converted into her first goal of the year to put Duke on the board in the 32nd minute.

But the Cavaliers refused to let the Blue Devils build momentum. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Lauren Blazing was able to block a shot from Virginia freshman Greta Ell, but Riley Tata was quick to tap the rebound in before Blazing could recover for Virginia’s fourth and final goal.

Duke could not rally after halftime despite holding the Cavaliers scoreless in the second period. Junior Heather Morris cut the deficit to two with an assist from Johnson and Kim, scoring the only goal on Rebecca Holden after the junior Cavalier replaced Lucas in the cage.

“I thought we played better in the second half…but we need to be more professional in finishing our opportunities,” Bustin said.

Duke struggled to maintain a defensive front through the second half in its losses to Stanford and Wake Forest, but Friday Virginia broke through the Blue Devils defenders and challenged Blazing in the opening 35 minutes. Prior to Friday's four goals allowed, Blazing had given up just one first-half goal all season.

Returning home with a chance to finish the weekend against another ranked opponent, Duke will face No. 15 Old Dominion at Jack Katz Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m.

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