Virginia women top No. 1 Duke for ACC crown

ACC women

Virginia 13 Duke 8


When the NCAA women's lacrosse tournament field is announced a week from today, there's one opponent No. 1 Duke does not want to see in its portion of the bracket - Virginia.

The No. 4 Cavaliers were the only team to beat Duke during the regular season and they duplicated that feat yesterday with a 13-8 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament final at M&T Bank Stadium.

The smothering Virginia defense gave the Blue Devils problems, especially in the second half when they struggled simply to maintain possession. The Cavaliers (15-3) held Duke (15-2) scoreless for 21 minutes while running up seven straight goals to take an 11-4 lead on Tyler Leachman's goal with 10:19 left.

"They swarm ball side, which is something we're not used to. They have really good first and second slides," said Duke's Katie Chrest (Maryvale), the two-time ACC Player of the Year.

Duke coach Kerstin Kimel said her team wasn't patient enough on offense.

While Virginia goalie Ginger Miles had some fine stops among her eight saves, the Blue Devils made only eight of 22 shots.

Cavaliers defender Nikki Lieb, whose team beat the Blue Devils 11-10 on April 1, said Virginia was even better prepared this time.

"We had more of an opportunity to practice defending their plays," Lieb said. "They're very good at draw-and-dump and one-on-ones. We knew if we were going to slide, we had to win the double teams."

Early on, the game was tied three times.

Chrest's goal on a feed from Kristen Waagbo (Mount Hebron) with 44 seconds left before halftime tied it at 4. Leachman, who set an ACC Tournament record with 11 goals for the weekend, then beat Duke defender Laura Anderson (Severna Park) to score with 10 seconds to go, giving the Cavaliers the lead for good.

Offensively, the Cavaliers were much more efficient than Duke, which averaged 15.8 goals during the regular season. Virginia took only three more shots but hit more than 50 percent of them, converting on 13 of 25.

The Blue Devils scored four of the last six goals, but it was too little too late to defend their 2005 ACC title.

Virginia 5 8 - 13

Duke 4 4 - 8

Goals: V-Weymouth 6, Leachman 4, Connors, Lieb, O'Malley; D-Chrest 3, Davis 2, Del Monte 2, Jester. Assists: V-Leachman 2, Lieb 2, O'Malley; D-Davis, Del Monte, Jester, Waagbo. Saves: V-Miles 8; D-Huether 9. A: n/a.

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