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Virginia wins 11th straight game

DURHAM, N.C. - A rowdy crowd was out to support the Duke men's soccer team Saturday at Koskinen Stadium. But with less than two minutes into sudden-death overtime, Alecko Eskandarian silenced it.

Virginia's sophomore forward handed the Cavaliers (12-0-1, 5-0-0 ACC) the win and the regular season ACC championship by putting a feed from senior Sheldon Barnes past Duke goalkeeper Justin Trowbridge. The goal was Eskandarian's fourth game-winner of the season, and the win gives the Cavaliers a first-round bye in Nov. 15's ACC tournament.

"I was really just ready to end the game," said Eskandarian, who had been slowed by a groin injury. "This was my first 90-minute game in a while since I've been hurt. We had had so many chances [during regulation]. I was hungry for a goal and Sheldon gave me the perfect ball that I'd been waiting for all game."

Related Links

  • Official Site for Virginia Men's Soccer
  • Official Site for Duke Athletics
  • Virginia headed into Koskinen Stadium with a little trepidation, as do most teams, because the home crowd is notoriously raucous. The Cavaliers, however, had some extra incentive to silence the crowd this year: The Blue Devils (7-6-0, 2-2-0) were the only blemish on Virginia's regular season home record last season.

    Both teams were aggressive from the start in what would prove to be a very physical game. Virginia outshot Duke, 11-8, but the play of both defenses was the deciding factor in the game.

    "Their goalkeeping was outstanding," Virginia coach George Gelnovatch said. "We had some chances three-on-two and one-on-one. In other games, at least one of the chances we had [Saturday] would have gone in."

    Duke sophomore Matt Ahumada made a spectacular defensive play in the 58th minute when he cleared a shot from Ryan Gibbs with a sliding kick-save just before it crossed the line. The Blue Devils substituted Trowbridge for injured goalkeeper Scott Maslin (four saves) in the second half and the freshman delivered, grabbing two saves. Trowbridge would remain untouchable until overtime, when Eskandarian finally was able to put the ball into the Blue Devils' goal.

    "This is huge," Gelnovatch said of the win. "This is the regular season ACC Championship, which is huge for us because we want that bye in the first round. This is a very tough place to play and we knew if we wanted to be a championship-caliber team we needed to come to places like this and win."

    The Cavaliers are not going to let winning the ACC title get to their heads, though.

    "We're going to take it like professionals," Eskandarian said. "Go home, shower, a little homework and we're back at practice tomorrow"


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