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Men’s lacrosse: No. 18 UVA falls at No. 9 Duke, 20-11

uva lacrosseNo. 18 UVA (8-6, 0-4 ACC) fell to the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils (10-3, 3-1 ACC) on Saturday afternoon, 20-11, at Koskinen Stadium.­

“Today we have witnessed an opponent play the game of lacrosse at a higher level than we have seen all season,” said Virginia head men’s lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany. “Give credit to Duke’s student-athletes and coaching staff.  What we must do as program is to learn from this contest, as we must do with all of life’s experiences.  It starts with me – it is obvious I did not prepare this team properly to be successful today.  I must grow from this experience – there is no other alternative.  We will challenge our men in the final two weeks of our season to raise our lacrosse skillset and intelligence.

“I do not doubt the hearts of our men – this group has held back nothing in our training or contests.  The disappointment we all feel with the lack of success this season will fuel our staff and men in our mission to place Virginia Lacrosse back in the upper echelon of college lacrosse.”

Duke started the game on an 8-1 run, including outscoring the Cavaliers 6-0 in the first quarter. Ryan Lukacovic’s goal at 14:17 in the second quarter was only one of two goals by the Cavaliers in the opening half.

After trailing 10-2 at the intermission, UVA scored the first three goals of the third quarter, cutting its deficit to five goals, 10-5. Lukacovic, Mike D’Amario and Zed Williams all scored in the run.

Jack Bruckner scored the game’s next three goals for Duke and the natural hat-trick was followed by a goal by Justin Guterding to put the game out of reach in the Blue Devils’ favor, 14-5, with 1:06 left in the third period.

“We did not defend anywhere close to the level that we need to,” said Tiffany.  “That is on me.  We simply were not effective with our slide schemes, nor did we prevent Duke from earning high-percentage shots.”

The remainder of the game was even, with each team scoring six goals each.

UVA was led by Lukacovic, who scored four goals and dished out three assists for seven points.

“I should not be surprised that Ryan Lukacovic played so well, considering today was Military Appreciation Day here at Duke,” said Tiffany.  “There is no quit in that man as there was not in Jimmy Regan, a fellow Chaminade graduate.  Ryan, similar to Jimmy, will be pursuing a military career upon graduation this May from the University of Virginia.  I am truly humbled by their commitments to our nation and to protecting our freedom.”

Regan was honored by every Duke player today with every Blue Devil jersey having the name “Regan” stitched upon its back. Regan passed away in Iraq in 2007 when explosives hit his Army Ranger convey.

Duke won the battle of shots (52-40), ground balls (45-35), faceoffs (18-17) and saves (11-10). Virginia had more turnovers, 16-13.

After UVA lost 5-of-7 faceoffs in the first quarter, the Cavaliers hunkered down and won 15-of-28 the rest of the game.

“Luke Brugel and Jason Murphy epitomized today the grit we need,” said Tiffany.  “Both of them were relentless in the pursuit of the ball at the faceoff X, and they earned their share of ground balls and shots in transition.  We are fortunate to have those two men and their willingness to grind for extra possessions.”

Virginia has a week off and will return to action for ACC Championship Weekend in Durham, N.C., April 28-30. After this weekend, the ACC will release the schedule of events.

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