Heading into another top-10 matchup in Charlottesville, Va., the Blue Devils knew the game was poised to become a track meet against Virginia, masters of a speedy, run-and-gun style. 

A track meet that Duke proved dominant in yet again. 

The No. 5 Blue Devils downed the No. 10 Cavaliers 18-13 Saturday afternoon, extending their winning streak against Virginia to 10 games. They have won 18 of 19 matchups with the Cavaliers since 2005. Although Virginia won its first ACC game in four years this season with a victory last week against North Carolina, it could not muster enough despite a spirited third-quarter rally. 

“We were really selfless,” Duke head Coach John Danowski told Blue Devil Network after the game. “We hit a lot of singles, we moved the ball smartly and it wasn’t about who was on the end of the rainbow.” 

The two teams traded goals to start the contest, with Justin Guterding and Mike D’Amario getting things going for the Blue Devils and Cavaliers respectively, but then the Duke offense got going. Joe Robertson—a Charlottesville, Va., native—Kevin Quigley, Peter Conley and Sean Lowrie ripped off four straight over the course of three minutes and 31 seconds to start the offensive fireworks. 

The two sides began to trade scores again before Duke (11-2, 3-1 in the ACC) could find another run thanks to Conley, Guterding and Robertson. Guterding, already the nation’s leader in goals per game, finished with nine points off of four goals and five assists. Six of those nine points came before halftime, which the Blue Devils strode into up 11-6. 

Despite the fairly comfortable lead, there was still a lot of lacrosse left to play. Joey Manown put Duke in front 12-6 to start the second half before the Virginia run came. The Cavaliers (9-4, 1-3) ripped off five straight scores to dominate the third quarter. Michael Kraus scored two goals in a little more than three minutes, as Mikey Herring, Dox Aitken and Matt Moore chipped into the scoring action as well. 

Virginia brought the score within one and left the Blue Devils scoreless for more than 10 minutes, swinging the momentum hard back toward the hosts—until an unlikely spark brought the Duke offense roaring back. 

Coming off the bench to win 8-of-14 faceoffs and score two goals, Brian Smyth stopped the bleeding with 2:42 left to play in the third quarter, winning a faceoff and streaking down the field unchecked to fire a shot into the bottom corner of the cage. Smyth ignited a run of six straight Blue Devil goals. 

“I saw the top defender didn’t slide to me and I took it in,” Smyth said. “They were going on a bit of a run, coaches were saying ‘dig in’ and we stuck to their game plan and I think that got us back in the offensive game.”

After Smyth’s tally, Guterding got two in a row, freshman Nakeie Montgomery fired in a score and Smyth himself got another goal off a faceoff win before Quigley wrapped up the scoring for Duke, then in command of an 18-11 lead. 

Although D’Amario and Kraus, who had 11 of Virginia’s 23 points, had late goals to pad the scoreline, the visiting Blue Devils emerged victorious and owners of the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament, which will take place in two weeks in Charlottesville. 

Before it can focus on postseason play, Duke will have to get through a scrappy Marquette team at home at Koskinen Stadium on Senior Night Friday.