Nov. 3, 2017
CHARLESTON, S.C. – For the second time in a week it came down to a goal as No. 10 Virginia (11-5-4) dropped a tight 1-0 match to No. 2 Duke (19-1-0) in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament at MUSC Health Stadium.
The goal, which came just over a minute into the second half, was on the only shot on goal for the Blue Devils. Virginia out-shot the Blue Devils 11-to-4 for the match, but couldn’t find the net despite six shots on goal.
“I thought we had chances in the first game we played them and we had chances tonight to get the first goal,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “It’s a different game when you get the first goal against a team like that. We played well enough, but we didn’t create enough in the offensive end to convert and we have to get better at that. We did a good job against their defending because you have to be patient and pick-and-choose your times. We played well enough we might could have gotten a result tonight, but we just didn’t get it.”
Virginia got its first chance in the 16th minute off a corner kick. The set piece produced a pair of shots in the box from the Cavaliers, but both were blocked by Blue Devil defenders before Duke would safely clear the ball.
Montana Sutton (Bedminster, N.J.) fired a strike in the 42nd minute off a free kick outside the top of the box, but it was punched over the net by a leaping E.J. Proctor to keep Virginia off the board.
The Cavaliers had the run of play throughout the first half with a 7-to-0 edge on shots at the break. Seven different Virginia players had shots in the period with four on goal.
Duke got a goal on its first shot of the half as Ella Stevens headed one in off a free kick near midfield. In the 47th A foul on the Cavaliers set up the free kick, which Kat McDonald served into the box from range. As the ball sailed in toward the far post, Stevens leaped and headed it back across the face of the goal and in past the near post for the 1-0 lead.
The Cavaliers got another chance in the 65th minute with a service into the box off a free kick by Phoebe McClernon (West Chester, Pa.). Betsy Brandon (Littleton, Colo.) went up and headed it on frame, but once again the Duke keeper was able to make the save to keep her team in the lead.
The Cavaliers got another great chance in the 87th minute with a shot from Taylor Ziemer (Santa Rosa, Calif.) that was blocked. A second shot came seconds later after the Cavaliers collected the rebound and sent it in for a header from Brianna Westrup (Corona del Mar, Calif.) from six yards out. The header was on frame, but in familiar fashion, Duke’s keeper was able to get a hand on the ball and deflect it just wide of the goal and preserve the win.
Virginia will now await the announcement of the NCAA Tournament bracket on Monday, November 4 at 4:30 p.m.