CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Trailing by three goals early in the second half, the eighth-ranked Duke field hockey team responded with a rallying effort but ultimately came up short in a 4-3 loss to No. 6 Virginia Friday evening at the Cavaliers’ Turf Field.
The Blue Devils fell to 10-4 overall and 2-2 in the ACC with the loss while Virginia moved to 15-3 and 3-2 in conference play.
Following an early tally by the Cavaliers’ Elly Buckley, Duke notched the equalizer just 28 seconds later as sophomore midfielder Aileen Johnson scored on a feed from senior Emmie Le Marchand. The goal was Johnson’s third of the year while Le Marchand recorded her eighth assist.
The next 20 minutes were a back and forth affair with the defenses on both ends holding up under pressure. However Virginia broke the tie in the 25th minute when Riley Tata tapped in a pass from Lucy Hyams. The Cavaliers scored again just before the intermission on a fast break to send the Blue Devils into halftime down 3-1.
Less than a minute into the second period, Virginia’s Buckley scored for the third time on the evening to increase the deficit to three.
Redshirt senior Devon Gagliardi answered with a goal in the 39th minute, capitalizing on a pass from Johnson. Duke then made it a one-goal game with 26:10 to play as Le Marchand knocked in a strike on an assist from senior Paula Heimbach for her team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Intensity picked up on the turf over the next several minutes of action and cards were handed out to players on both sides. Despite a strong comeback performance from the Blue Devils, Virginia’s defense remained stalwart, preserving the 4-3 score to the end of regulation.
The Cavaliers totaled 18 shots to six by Duke and held a 6-2 edge in penalty corners. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Blazing posted seven saves in the loss while Virginia keeper Jenny Johnstone made one stop.
The Blue Devils return home to Durham Sunday, Oct. 20 to host non-conference opponent Stanford in a 12 p.m. contest.