Virginia women’s lacrosse lost to Duke 16-10 Saturday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C. The No. 12 Cavaliers (5-3, 0-2 ACC) fought valiantly against the No. 23 Blue Devils (5-3, 1-1 ACC), but Duke ran away with the game in the final minutes.
While Virginia led the Blue Devils in shots, 32-30, and in ground balls, 18-9, Duke had the lead in draw controls and saves, which ultimately helped decide the game.
On the Virginia side, notable performances came from senior midfielder Sammy Mueller and junior attacker Taylor Regan. They led the Cavaliers with three goals each while senior defender Ashley Stilo recorded three caused turnovers.
In addition to scoring a hat trick, Mueller continued her strong season with an assist, four ground balls and three caused turnovers.
While Duke scored first, Virginia looked to gain the offensive momentum with three unanswered goals by sophomore midfielder Lillie Kloak, Mueller and Regan to make the score 3-1.
However, with 17:03 left to play in the first half, Duke tied the game with back-to-back goals. Virginia retook the lead after junior attacker Olivia Schildmeyer scored, but two more goals from the Blue Devils brought the score to 5-4 in Duke’s favor.
A second goal from Regan briefly evened the score up again, but the Blue Devils scored in the final minute of the first half to earn a one-point lead going into the second half.
Duke looked to continue its offensive momentum in the second half, scoring the first goal of the new half in less than a minute. The two teams proceeded to fight back-and-forth until the Blue Devils found their rhythm and used a 4-0 run to extend their lead to 12-7. With 16:06 left to play, the Cavaliers were facing a deficit they could not overcome.
While Mueller and sophomore midfielder Courtlynne Caskin scored back-to-back goals and Kloak followed with a goal soon after, the Cavaliers could not stop Duke from scoring four of the last five goals, including three in the last six minutes of the game.
Led by five goals from junior midfielder Katie Cronin with the remaining 11 coming from seven players, Duke flexed its muscles in the second half and secured a 16-10 conference win.
“Duke came out to play and to win today and they competed better than we did from the opening draw,” Coach Julie Myers said. “We have some things to fix and we have to get a whole lot tougher to be ready to compete no matter who we are playing. We knew Duke was going to be good and they played a great game.”
Virginia next returns to Klockner Stadium Thursday evening to play No. 3 Syracuse (7-1, 0-0 ACC).