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No. 8 women’s lacrosse falters on the road against Duke, drops second straight game

The Cavaliers suffered their first road defeat of the season to the Blue Devils in a frustrating affair

<p>Senior attacker Morgan Schwab recorded a pair of assists for the Cavaliers in their loss to the Blue Devils.</p>

Senior attacker Morgan Schwab recorded a pair of assists for the Cavaliers in their loss to the Blue Devils.

Virginia women’s lacrosse traveled to Durham, N.C. Saturday for an ACC game against Duke. Entering off the back of a 15-14 loss to No. 7 Syracuse March 23, the Cavaliers (9-3, 3-3 ACC) couldn’t find their rhythm against the Blue Devils (8-5, 3-3 ACC) either — the final score was 15-10 in favor of Duke, marking the team’s first loss to an unranked opponent this season.

Despite the loss, the first quarter started on a good note for Virginia, as graduate midfielder Kiki Shaw opened the scoring with a free position goal. Junior attacker Kate Miller put the Cavaliers up by two a couple minutes later on a tight angle shot after dodging from the right side. However, Duke would fire back quickly, scoring three in a row within the last three minutes of the quarter to grab the lead. Graduate attacker Caroline DeBellis notched two goals, and junior midfielder Mattie Shearer grabbed two assists during this span. 

Virginia once again came out strong in the second quarter, taking a 4-3 lead thanks to shots from senior midfielder Mackenzie Hoeg and graduate attacker Katia Carnevale finding the net. However, the Blue Devils fought back again and dominated the rest of the quarter, going on a 5-0 run to close the half. Senior attacker Katie DeSimone completed a hat trick for the quarter and added an assist in the frame as well. The half ended with the Cavaliers reeling.

The third quarter was once again a tough one for Virginia. After an early strike on a free position goal by freshman attacker Jenna Dinardo, the scoring rampage began again for Duke. DeBellis scored a whopping three more times in the quarter alone, and senior midfielder Katie Keller also added to the Blue Devils’ total. 

Hoeg was able to interrupt the scoring for the Cavaliers, but the damage had already been done, and a comeback was looking slim to none. Up 12-6 going into the final period of play, Duke was in firm control of the game.

After an early Blue Devils goal less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, Virginia scored three in a row to bring the game within four and force a Duke timeout. Shaw, Dinardo and freshman midfielder Kate Galica all added to their totals. The Cavaliers’ balanced offensive attack was finally finding some of its mojo, but it was too little and too late.

DeBellis and DeSimone both scored once more, and it proved too much for Virginia to overcome. The Cavaliers couldn’t stop the Blue Devils’ deadly attack duo — DeBellis and DeSimone combined for 10 goals on the day.

Duke sophomore goalkeeper Kennedy Everson also had a game to remember for the hosts, stifling 11 scoring attempts. Her consistency between the sticks didn’t allow Virginia to go on its usual scoring runs that helped put away previous opponents early in the game.

Even though the Cavaliers held the bulk of the chances, posting more shots, shots on goal and less turnovers, it was the Blue Devils who better converted their chances. Coach Sonia LaMonica admitted that despite the loss, Virginia is a better team than the one that showed up Saturday.

“I just think it’s a game of inches and we had a great battle on our hands,” LaMonica said. “I thought Duke’s goalie played really strong today. We just failed to play our style for 60 minutes. Momentum was big and Duke rode that momentum pretty much throughout the entire game. We’ll regroup and revisit and keep building and growing. We’ve just got to be prepared to step out because it’s anyone’s game any given day. It's a game of inches and every inch matters, and we’ve got to find scrap for every single inch.”

Now on their first losing streak of the season, the Cavaliers must find answers as the postseason nears. They will try to get back into form Wednesday against VCU at 6 p.m., with the game being played at Klöckner Stadium and broadcast live on ACCNX.


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