Virginia came into last night's matchup with Duke riding a winning streaking and having just played one of their better games of the season in a dominating performance against North Carolina. Duke, on the other hand, was coming off a one-point win over Marist - hardly a dominating performance.
So perhaps that could mean the end of the curse that has plagued the Cavaliers against the Blue Devils?
Duke came away with a 13-5 win - simultaneously scoring the most points allowed by the Cavaliers this season and holding Virginia to their fewest points this season. It was, quite frankly, an embarrassing performance across the board for the #1 team in the country.
Tewaaraton favorite Steele Stanwick had a quiet three points (one goal, two assists) for Virginia, but the player of the game had to be goalie Rob Fortunato. The senior tied his career high with 16 saves and was the only reason the game was event competitive for the first half.
The Blue Devils out shot Virginia, collected more ground balls and had fewer turnovers.That's often enough to win by itself. But it was the Blue Devils' superb defensive play that stood out to me the most. They pressured the ball out to the edges of the restraining box, but still managed to shut down the inside cutting lanes that Stanwick and fellow senior Chris Bocklet had made their living on this season. I have to give Duke coach John Danowski a lot of credit for having his team prepared to play Virginia.
Up next is the ACC Tournament, which the Cavaliers host at Klockner Stadium next weekend. Virginia is the 2-seed and will face North Carolina, the 3 -seed on Friday at 7:30pm, while Duke gets the 1-seed and faces Maryland (who beat the Blue Devils during the regular season) at 5pm.