A defensive-minded first half resulted in a scoreless tie, but the two teams would combine for 18 shots in the second frame as both squads were even at 10 shots apiece for the game. However, the Blue Devils (8-10, 0-5 ACC) recorded both more shots (10-8) and more penalty corners (8-7) in the deciding second period.
"I thought we were playing really well in the first half," head coach Beth Bozman said, "and we certainly outplayed them in the second half. Statistically, we had more corner opportunities and I think it was a pretty dominating performance in the second half. It was unfortunate we couldn't win this one because we deserved to win."
With the score knotted at 0-0 entering the second stanza, Virginia (15-2, 3-2 ACC) capitalized on a penalty corner chance to take a 1-0 lead at the 38:59 mark. The Cavaliers' Paige Selenski tallied the goal, assisted by Taylor Swezey and Haley Carpenter.
The Blue Devils nearly tied the game five minutes later on a penalty corner opportunity of their own, but sophomore Abby Hassinger's deflection of a Rhian Jones hit grazed the post and was cleared by the UVa defense.
As the intensity level continued to rise, Duke increased the pressure on the Virginia backline and the Blue Devils' efforts paid off in the 46th minute. The Blue Devils received another penalty corner and did not let the opportunity pass them by as junior Tara Jennings evened the score at one-all. Hassinger along with junior Stefanie Fee assisted on the score.
Duke would outshoot Virginia 5-3 down the stretch, yet it would be the Cavaliers who came away with the game-winning goal.
With less than two minutes to play, UVa's Tara Puffenberger found Elly Buckley alone on the right side. Duke goalkeeper Samantha Nelson made the save on the initial shot, but Buckley collected the deflection and put the ball in the back of the cage for the deciding tally.
"I think we played great hockey," Bozman added. "We couldn't hit anymore posts or have worse luck about getting it in the goal, but we certainly had our chances."
The Blue Devils will next travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., for the ACC Tournament, scheduled for Nov. 4-7. Duke will look to avenge today's loss as the Blue Devils face Virginia in the opening round on Thursday, Nov. 4