CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-Sophomore attackman Josh Dionne scored four goals and goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer tallied 14 saves to lead the seventh-ranked Blue Devils past top-ranked Virginia, 13-5, in front of 7,234 fans Friday evening at the Cavaliers' Klöckner Stadium.
"I feel so excited and awesome," Wigrizer said. "The entire game I game tried to stay calm. When that whistled blew, everything blew up. I can't even describe it. Before the game, I tried to change up a few things both physically and mentally. I tried to stay very relax. I tried to have no emotions before the game. I wasn't getting excited and tried to keep it that way throughout the game, so that really helped me out. Physically wise, I changed up my hands. I made them much closer so they can move much faster."
Duke extends its win streak to eight games and improves to 11-3 overall and 2-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Virginia falls to 10-2 on the year and 2-1 in league play. Duke has now won 12 of the past 13 meetings with Virginia, including 11 of 12 under head coach John Danowski. The Blue Devils clinch the ACC regular season and top-seed in the ACC Tournament with the victory. This marks the seventh straight year Duke has reached the 11-wins mark.
The five goals scored were the fewest scored by the Cavaliers this season and marks just the seventh time Duke has held them to five or fewer goals in the 76-game series. The last time was a 16-5 Duke victory in the 2009 ACC Tournament.
"Defensively, we want to be able to defend the play," Danowski said. It is not about one guy. We always knew that Virginia was such a great athletic team and that there was going to be a lot of bodies flying around from the lane and both boxes. We certainly made them a priority all week."
Wolf added two goals and four assists in the win, while Christian Walsh had three goals. The attacking trio of Wolf, Dionne and Walsh combined for nine goals and three assists and 10 ground balls.
Led by Dionne, the Blue Devils' offense fired on all cylinders in the third quarter as it broke open a defensive battle with five unanswered to take a 9-2 lead. Dionne netted four straight goals in a span of 9:42 and senior defenseman Michael Manley added a goal to put Duke up seven after three quarters.
Defensively, Duke was outstanding in the third session as it held Virginia to just four shots and forced six turnovers. Wigrizer stopped all three shots on frame and give him 10 after three periods.
The Cavaliers rallied to score three goals in the final quarter, with Colin Briggs, Mark Cockerton and Steele Stanwick all finding the back of the net. However, Virginia continued to struggle in containing Duke's offensive attack, as the Blue Devils tacked on scores by Jake Tripucka and Christian Walsh. A third goal by Walsh with just 17.9 seconds remaining sealed the 13-5 victory for Duke.
"You just had to stay on it," Danowski said. "You know how explosive they are. You know how talented they are, so you just have to continue to keep playing which is something we have been struggling with over the course of the year."
The first half was a showcase of the two squads' defenses and goaltenders as Duke held a 1-0 lead after 15 minutes of action and built a 4-2 advantage heading into the locker room. The two goals scored by Virginia were the fewest a Blue Devils opponent had scored in the opening half this season and the lowest output by the Cavaliers in 2012.
Jordan Wolf headlined Duke's attack in the first half as he netted two goals and assisted on a third. Senior Robert Rotanz rounded out Duke's scoring with his 27th goal of the season. Wolf finished with two goals and four assists for six points.
The Blue Devils outshot Virginia, 42-33, and won the ground ball battle by a 39-37 margin. The two teams split the wins at the faceoff X, with senior CJ Costabile going 10-of-19 for Duke. Costabile added nine ground balls and Manley led the defensive unit with four. Wigrizer finished with 14 saves, just two shy of his season-high, while Rob Fortunato totaled 13 stops for the Cavaliers.
"This is a big week for us," sophomore defenseman Henry Lobb said. "We really needed this game. It is just awesome. I can't describe it in words. This is the best start to finish game that we have played. Coach [Danowski] has been asking us to just stay on it, and we finally did it. We did everything that the coaches said. It was really just a team effort."
The Blue Devils will return to Charlottesville next Friday, Apr. 20 to face No. 4 seed Maryland in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament at 5 p.m.
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