COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Three different Blue Devils scored goals as the eighth-ranked Duke field hockey team earned a hard fought 3-2 win over Virginia in the opening round of ACC Championship Thursday afternoon from Maryland's Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex. With the win, third-seeded Duke (12-6, 2-3 ACC) advances to the ACC Tournament semifinals and will face No. 2 seed Maryland Friday, Nov. 4 at 3:30 p.m.
Duke led in shots (15-8) for the game, which was the Blue Devils' second against the Cavaliers in less than a week. Virginia (8-12) topped Duke 3-2 last Saturday, but the Blue Devils capitalized on their opportunities today to come away with the win, Duke's first ACC Championship victory since 2005.
"I thought our team did a great job of staying on their tasks," said head coach Pam Bustin. "They kept fighting and stayed in the moment. Whatever Virginia threw at us we had to find a solution. It was a game of momentum. Virginia came out with a lot of energy and we did a great job of maintaining that energy with our tempo."
Duke came out with great intensity and controlled possession early on in the first half. The Blue Devils struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. Junior Mary Nielsen played the ball into the circle and sophomore Emmie Le Marchand deflected it into the cage from the far post for her team-leading 15th goal this season.
The Blue Devils' early advantage was short-lived with Virginia tying the game at 1-1 five minutes later. UVa's Elly Buckley converted a straight shot off a penalty corner in the 23rd minute to knot the score at one.
With just under seven minutes remaining in the first half, Duke regained the one-goal lead following a Blue Devils penalty corner. Freshman Jessica Buttinger deflected a shot from senior Rhian Jones for her sixth goal of the season.
Duke would take the 2-1 lead into the intermission and extended its advantage in the 46th minute. With the Blue Devils on the attack, sophomore McKay Ross collected a loose ball in the circle and netted her second goal of the season to put the Blue Devils up 3-1 with 25 minutes to play.
Virginia cut the Duke lead to one in the 49th minute on Buckley's second goal of the game, but the Cavaliers would not come any closer the rest of the way.
"After our loss to them last week, it woke us up," said senior Stefanie Fee. "We realized that we didn't have to change anything; we just had to capitalize on the things that we have been working on. We just knew that we had to come out and play our game."
Duke and Maryland meet tomorrow in the second game of the ACC Championship semifinals. The game will be broadcast live on RSN.