The No. 9 Virginia women’s lacrosse team played a pair of games against No. 10 Duke over the weekend. The Blue Devils (6-3, 2-3 ACC) dominated the first meeting, but the Cavaliers (7-2, 3-2 ACC) bounced back with a close victory in the second game.
Virginia began the weekend with a Friday night clash against Duke at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers struggled to get anything going offensively for much of the night, and the Blue Devils were able win with a comfortable 17-8 margin.
Junior attacker Maddie Jenner opened the scoring for Duke with a goal less than three minutes into the match. Virginia bounced back with goals from junior attacker Lillie Kloak and freshman midfielder Maggie Bostain to take a 2-1 lead.
Following Bostain’s goal, Duke exploded for five goals within a three-minute span to take a 6-2 lead with 14:04 remaining in the first half. Freshman midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg was able to halt some of the Blue Devils’ momentum, with a goal from a free position shot to cut the deficit to three.
The teams would proceed to trade goals for the remainder of the half and Duke headed into the break with an 8-5 lead.
Duke opened the second half on another big run, scoring six consecutive goals to build a nine-point lead. Four of Duke’s goals during that time came from free position shots.
Kloak finally scored for Virginia more than halfway through the second half, making the score 14-6 with 14:46 remaining. However, Duke responded with three consecutive goals to put the game away. Virginia ended the game with goals from senior midfielder Halle Graham and freshman attacker Morgan Schwab, but the game was out of reach by then.
The Blue Devils were powered by Jenner, graduate attacker Gabby Rosenzweig and senior midfielder Katie Cronin. Jenner and Rosenzweig each recorded hat tricks, while Cronin led all players with four goals. Kloak recorded a hat trick for the Cavaliers in the loss.
“Not the outcome we had worked for or prepared for,” Coach Julie Myers said. “Credit goes to Duke for really doing a great job on the draw control and having the ball almost the entire game. It seemed much more competitive than that scoreboard. We battled, we had opportunities, we came up with stops, but we clearly need more stops and need to keep Duke off the 8-meter for little fouls.”
The two teams met again just two days later on Sunday afternoon. Virginia played much better and won by a score of 14-11.
The Cavaliers got off to a quick start, as goals from Kloak and sophomore midfielder Kiki Shaw put them ahead 2-0. However, Duke responded with three consecutive goals to take the lead.
Freshman attacker Katie DeSimone scored to restore Duke’s lead, but senior midfielder Chloe Jones scored from a free position shot to even the score at 4-4. The game was scoreless for nearly eight minutes before sophomore midfielder Olivia Carner put Duke ahead 5-4 with 3:38 remaining in the half. Neither team scored after that, and the Blue Devils headed into halftime with the one-goal lead.
Virginia quickly retook the lead to open the second half, as senior attacker Taylor Regan scored twice within a span of 21 seconds, putting the Cavaliers ahead 6-5. Carner scored to tie the game at 6-6, but Regan answered with another goal less than a minute later.
Duke scored the next two goals of the game to take an 8-7 lead with 19:46 remaining. Virginia answered with a 4-0 run to take its largest lead of the game at three. Junior attacker Ashlyn McGovern scored two goals, while Schwab and Jones each added a goal.
The Blue Devils quickly cut into that lead with two goals, making it an 11-10 game with less than 10 minutes remaining. Shaw and Kloak each scored to restore the Cavaliers’ three-goal lead and Regan scored with 2:09 left to seal the win for Virginia.
Regan finished with a career-high four goals, while McGovern, Jones, Shaw and Kloak each scored two goals.
“What was most exciting was we had a big second half,” Myers said. “It had been a while since we had played strong in the second half and to score 10 goals to come up with this win is huge. It took everybody on the field and the sideline, everything we had really to come up with this win against a talented Duke team.”
Virginia returns to action Friday with a game against in-state rival No. 24 James Madison. The game will begin at 5 p.m. in Harrisonburg.