DURHAM, N.C. – No. 3 Virginia (8-3, 2-2 ACC) nearly overcame a six-goal deficit at halftime, but No. 2 Duke (11-2, 3-2 ACC) held on to win 15-14 at Koskinen Stadium Saturday afternoon (April 15).
Virginia goalie Matthew Nunes (8-3) made a career-high 17 saves, while Duke’s William Helm (11-2) recorded seven of his 12 total saves in the fourth quarter.
Offensively, Virginia was led by Payton Cormier (4g), who notched his ninth hat trick of the season. Cormier’s four scores moved him to No. 2 on UVA’s all-time goals list, passing Michael Watson (142) and Matt Moore (143) in the process. With 145 career goals, Cormier is now 20 goals shy of tying UVA’s all-time record held by Doug Knight (165).
UVA midfielder Griffin Schutz also recorded his third career hat trick with three goals and one assist.
In Duke’s 18th consecutive regular-season win over the Cavaliers, UVA struggled at the faceoff X, finishing 11-for-32, and lost the ground ball battle [37-34] for the first time this season.
Despite holding Duke star attackman Brennan O’Neill to just two goals on 11 shots and one assist, nine different Blue Devils found the back of the net in Saturday’s contest.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Duke outshot the Cavaliers 16-6 in the first quarter, which contributed to their early 6-2 lead by the end of the period. After the Blue Devils scored the first two goals of the game, Thomas McConvey (1a) found Cormier to put UVA on the board. Connor Shellenberger (1g, 2a) dished out one of his two assists on a pass to Peter Garno (1g), who buried an outside shot to cut the Duke lead to 3-2 midway through the first. The Blue Devils capped period No. 1 by ripping three straight goals. UVA’s faceoff woes were apparent early as Duke won seven of the game’s first nine draws.
Virginia started the second quarter man-up after drawing a penalty in final seconds of the first, but Helm made a save that effectively killed off UVA’s advantage. A dodge and score by Cormier from the wing cut the Blue Devils’ lead to 6-3, but Duke responded with a 4-0 run in the span of 3:12. Jeff Conner’s (1g, 1a) eighth score of the season with 59 seconds to play in the first half halted the Blue Devils’ run as they clung to a 10-4 lead at the break.
Cormier, Schutz and Shellenberger notched the first three goals of the second half to swing momentum in UVA’s favor and trim the Duke lead to 10-7. After back-to-back Blue Devil goals, Schutz barreled his way at the cage for his second score of the day. Duke led 12-8 at the end of the third.
The two teams went back and forth for much the fourth quarter. Virginia trailed by four [15-11] with less than 4:00 to play before Shellenberger found Noah Chizmar (1g) on the doorstep, who scored his fourth goal of the season. Cormier’s fourth goal of the day was unassisted at the 2:55 mark in the fourth. Schutz assisted on Dickson’s second goal with 1:03 left to shrink the Duke lead to one [15-14] for the first time since the Blue Devils claimed the game’s opening goal. Nunes’ 17th save came with just over 30 seconds to play and gave UVA another legitimate chance. After a successful Virginia clear, Schutz attacked the cage and found Cormier on the crease, who fired off a quick shot, but it was saved by Helm with 16 seconds remaining. The Cavaliers got off one more shot from the Duke restraining line just before time expired, but it was saved with ease to solidify the win for the Blue Devils.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Lars Tiffany on today’s fight…
“[We’re] disappointed. Our job as the coaching staff for Virginia men’s lacrosse is to win games – win ACC games. To come to Koskinen [Stadium] and come away with a W and we didn’t do that. Obviously, we couldn’t be more grateful for the way we didn’t go down. We might’ve been wobbly like a fighter who’s taken a lot of body blows – a lot of hits to the head – but too much heart for us to go down. [I’m] very grateful for the way we battled back and just kept believing despite what the scoreboard said. The sting of the loss is somewhat balanced by this incredible gratitude that we all have for each other.”
- With one assist, Thomas McConvey extended his point streak to 63 games. Having registered at least one point in all 63 career games, McConvey’s streak is the longest among all active Division-I players. For his career, McConvey has amassed 147 goals and 63 assists.
- With four goals, Payton Cormier extended his point streak to 38 games. During his streak, Cormier has registered 119 goals and 24 assists.
- With 145 career goals in 49 games, Cormier moved to No. 2 on UVA’s all-time goals list, passing Michael Watson (142) and Matt Moore (144).
- Goalie Matthew Nunes turned in a career-best 17 saves. His previous best was 16, which he achieved twice in 2022.
- For the first time this season, a Virginia opponent collected more ground balls than the Cavaliers [37-34].
- Virginia has lost its last 18 regular-season games against the Blue Devils. UVA’s last regular-season win over Duke was on April 17, 2004.
The Cavaliers return to Klöckner Stadium on Saturday (April 22) to host Syracuse (7-5, 0-3 ACC). Opening faceoff is set for 2 p.m. on ESPNU.