No. 12 men’s lacrosse drops contest against No. 5 Duke, 18-13

The Cavaliers kept the game close until the Blue Devils’ fourth quarter run

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Junior attacker Mikey Herring had three goals and an assist in Virginia's loss to Duke on Saturday. 

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

The No. 12 Virginia men’s lacrosse team lost to No. 5 Duke Saturday in a high-scoring conference matchup, 18-13. The Cavaliers never led, despite putting up a strong effort against a prolific Blue Devils team.

Virginia (9-4, 1-3 ACC) was overwhelmed by Duke (11-2, 3-1 ACC), whose talent proved to be too much for the Cavaliers to overcome. The Blue Devils used a 6-0 run starting at the end of the third quarter and continuing into the fourth to secure their victory, after Virginia had brought the deficit to one near the end of the third.

Duke started out the game hot, using a 5-1 run to make Virginia have to fight from behind for the whole game. The Cavaliers responded to the Blue Devils’ offensive explosion with two out of the next three goals, to bring the score to 6-3. Junior attackman Mikey Herring scored one of his three goals of the night, and sophomore attackman Michael Kraus scored one of his four goals to wrap up the first frame.

The Blue Devils responded with even more offensive intensity, however, and led 11-6 at the break. Duke dominated possession in the first half, bombarding the Cavaliers’ goal with 25 first-half shots. Virginia’s defense was porous, and both goalies — freshman Alex Rode and sophomore Griffin Thompson — struggled against Duke’s offensive talent.

But Virginia did not give up. The Blue Devils scored the first goal of the second half, but the Cavaliers responded with a 5-0 run to bring the score to 12-11. Kraus led the run with two goals and two assists. The sophomore star finished with four goals and five assists on the night.

After freshman midfielder Matt Moore’s goal cut the Blue Devils’ lead to one, Duke stopped Virginia’s momentum. Sophomore faceoff specialist Brian Smyth took the ensuing faceoff straight to the Cavaliers’ net, and it was all Blue Devils from then on. Sophomore faceoff specialist Justin Schwenk was not at his best, losing the faceoff battle 21-14. His second half faceoff struggles prevented the Cavaliers from seizing Duke’s lead.

The fourth quarter started with two goals from Duke senior attackman Justin Guterding, who scored four goals along with five assists on the day. Virginia was unable to stop Guterding, who now has 43 goals and 34 assists on the year.

Duke added three more goals after Guterding’s pair to complete a 6-0 run, leaving the Blue Devils ahead 18-11. Senior attackman Mike D’Amario and Kraus added two goals to bring the score to 18-13, but it was too little, too late for Virginia.

While Duke came out on top in a dominant victory, there were many positives for the Cavaliers, who will finish fourth in the ACC. Kraus’ continued stellar play has to be one, in addition to the fight Virginia put up through three quarters.

The Cavaliers take it to the road next weekend to face Vermont, a contest with significant postseason implications.

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