Second-ranked Duke outlasts No. 8 Virginia 17-15, claims ACC title
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Sophomore midfielder Myles Jones scored four goals and added two assists to lead No. 2 Duke to a 17-15 road win against No. 8 Virginia on Friday night at Klöckner Stadium. The victory – Duke’s 14th in the past 15 meetings with the Cavaliers – gives the Blue Devils at least a share of the ACC regular season championship.
“[Winning an ACC regular season title] is really important on campus,” head coach John Danowski said. “From the first day you walk on campus, you’re watching men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball or football and everything is the ACC. In the lacrosse world it’s not much of a big deal, but it is on campus and we’re very proud of it.”
A winner in seven consecutive games, Duke improves to 11-2 overall and 4-1 in ACC play. The Blue Devils entered the weekend tied atop the league standings with Maryland, who holds a conference ledger of 3-1 and faces Notre Dame next weekend. Under head coach John Danowski, Duke has either won or shared seven ACC regular season titles in eight seasons.
With the loss, Virginia falls to 8-5 overall and 1-4 in league play.
Jones led an offensive attack that featured six players with multiple goals. Duke scored its 17 goals on 34 shots, with two Virginia goalkeepers combining for just four saves.
Back and forth lacrosse highlighted a first quarter that featured three ties and two lead changes. Duke opened the scoring 1:13 into the game on a Jones score and the blue Devils and Cavaliers traded goals in the next 13 minutes as Virginia 4-3 lead at the end of the opening stanza.
Virginia added two goals to Duke’s one early in the second quarter for a 6-4 lead before the Blue Devils offense got hot. Sparked by Jordan Wolf’s goal at the 10:52 mark, Duke scored four goals in a 5:02 span to grab its first two-goal lead of the game. Walsh threw in two goals in that span and the Blue Devils added two more in the final 90 seconds to take a 10-7 lead at the half.
“It’s funny," Danowski said. “We said to the team ‘We haven’t been down in a few weeks’. It’s really been since the North Carolina and so we had to learn to embrace the struggle, embrace the fight. Virginia has great players and a great coaching staff so we knew they were going to give us everything they had so it was a great game for us to embrace that.”
Brendan Fowler was outstanding in the run, winning five consecutive face offs, while Luke Aaron made four consecutive saves to keep the Cavaliers offense at bay for 11:26 in the second quarter.
The Duke offense continued to roll in the third period as the Blue Devils tacked on three more goals for a 13-8 lead late in the quarter. The Cavaliers would pull within two goals at 13-11, but Duke responded with a pair of Josh Dionne markers for a 15-11 advantage early in the final quarter. Virginia then used a 4-2 spurt to make the score 17-15 with 2:29 remaining, but Duke stopped the rally for the win.
Dionne, Walsh and Wolf finished with three goals each while Deemer Class and Will Haus chipped in two markers apiece. Class and Walsh also dished out three assists each.
In the Duke net, Aaron was credited with 14 saves while Fowler won 22 of 35 face offs and logged 14 ground balls.
For Virginia, James Pannell had three goals and one assist while Greg Coholan and Zed Williams posted two goals and two assists apiece. The Cavaliers outshot Duke by a 53-34 count on the evening.