Oct. 26, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A late goal proved to be the difference on Thursday night at Klöckner Stadium as No. 10 Virginia (10-4-4, 5-2-3 ACC) fell to No. 2 Duke (17-1-0, 10-0-0 ACC) by a score of 1-0 in the regular-season finale.
With less than three minute to play, Kayla McCoy found Kat McDonald in the six-yard box for the go-ahead goal. McDonald’s shot off the centering pass was up and in under the bar to give the Blue Devils the lead and the eventual win.
Virginia will finish as the fourth-seeded team in the ACC heading into the ACC Championships beginning with quarterfinal action on Sunday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium. Virginia will host fifth-seeded Wake Forest at 1 p.m.
“First of all, congrats to Duke,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “To go undefeated in this league is impressive. Hats off to them, they were the better team tonight. We weren’t precise or crisp in the first half at all and I have to take responsibility for that. They are a good team and have a lot of weapons, but we didn’t play well in the first half and it’s hard to play a team like that for only 45 minutes. With that said, we had our chances and we didn’t put them on frame.
“We needed to be a little smarter defensively. In the first half we were chasing a lot and we didn’t have to chase. We turned the ball over way too much. I felt like their best chances came from our turnovers, but they’re not undefeated for no reason. They can punish you. I hope this is a good lesson for our team. We had been playing good soccer up until this game.”
Opportunities were limited in the first half of play, but the Blue Devils had the few chances that opened up. At the half, Duke had managed five shots, while the Cavaliers managed only one. The lone Virginia shot was almost a big one as Taryn Torres (Frisco, Texas) got the ball low in the box, but her shot hit the far post and bounced back into the field of play.
Virginia came out firing in the second half, cutting the edge in shots to one as the Cavaliers would create five scoring chances through the first 16 minutes of the second half. Duke would only manage two shots in that time.
Play settled back into the familiar defensive battle of the first half down the stretch before Duke would get the goal from McDonald in the 87th minute.
It was senior night for the Cavaliers as Virginia honored four players prior to the start of the match in midfielder/defender Olivia Hazelrigg (Rolling Hills, Calif.), forward Veronica Latsko (Venetia, Pa.), defender Annaugh Madsen (Annandale, Va.) and defender Megan Reid (Orinda, Calif.).
“We have some very good leaders in that group and they have a lot of heart,” Swanson said of his seniors. “They are not just great players, they are good people as well. You can build a team around them. They are quality student-athletes and they represent Virginia well. We’re proud of them, we’re just sorry we couldn’t get the win for them.”