DURHAM, N.C. — No. 6 Virginia opened up Atlantic Coast Conference play on Friday night (Sept. 14) with a 3-1 road victory over No. 2 Duke at Koskinen Stadium. The Cavaliers scored three unanswered goals in a come-from-behind victory.
Virginia improves to 4-0 for the first time since 2006 and now has now recorded wins the No. 1 team and the No. 2 team in the country in its first four games of the season. The only time the Cavaliers have defeated the top two teams in the country in the same year came in 2009 and 2014, both National Championship seasons.
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"Any away win in the conference is massive," Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. "Duke is one of the better teams in this conference as we know by the rankings. You couple this (win) with the Maryland win, those are two great performances away from home and I can't be more proud of the way our team on played both offensively and defensively."
Virginia surrendered its first goal of the season in the fifth minute but on was able to level the game before the half. Off a set piece from the right side of the 18, junior Henry Kessler (New York, N.Y.) struck a bouncing ball with his left foot that hit the left post and went into the net to tie the game at one. The goal for Kessler was the first of his career.
"I felt like no one panicked, we stayed the course and everyone refocused after giving up that first goal," Gelnovatch said. "To get that equalizer before the half was huge. Slowly but surely, we were able to get the second and third goal."
Junior Joe Bell (Wanaka, New Zealand) intercepted a ball near midfield and carried the ball all the way down to the box before slipping a pass to Nathaniel Crofts (Sheffield, England) to setup the go-ahead score. Crofts blasted a shot through the legs of goalkeeper Wil Pulisic in the 59th minute for his second goal of the season.
The Cavaliers put the game away a little over 12 minutes later when Daryl Dike (Edmond, Okla.) worked around three Duke defenders near the six-yard line before centering a pass to a streaking Spencer Patton (Morrisville, Pa.). The goal for Patton was the first of his career.
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Goalkeeper Colin Shutler (Middleburg, Va.) was credited with three saves and recorded his fourth win of the season. Two stellar defensive plays in front of him helped preserve the victory, one by Robin Afamefuna (Wuerselen, Germany) before the half in which he cleared a Duke chance as the last line of defense. Freshman Andreas Ueland (Bryne, Norway) was able to shield away another Duke chance in the second half, deflecting a well-paced shot over the top of the net.
Up Next: Virginia will return home to begin a three-game home stand when it hosts in-state foe Radford on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Klöckner Stadium. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will air live on ACCNX.
• Duke had won the previous two matchups against Virginia including a 2-0 victory last season. The Cavaliers own a 42-38-10 advantage in the all-time series that began in 1941.
• The win in Durham was the first since 2011.