Men’s lacrosse: No. 3 Duke outlasts No. 10 UVA, 18-13

uva dukeThe No. 3 Duke Blue Devils (11-2, 3-1 ACC) outlasted the No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers (9-3, 1-3 ACC) on Saturday afternoon, 18-13, at Klöckner Stadium.

With Duke holding a one-goal lead (12-11) with 2:49 left in the third quarter, the Blue Devils went on a 6-0 run to secure the ACC victory.

“Duke’s lacrosse program is at such an elite level,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Lars Tiffany. “Offensively, they’ve got weapons everywhere and they can dodge and score, beat the zone and score. They proved today, as we played a zone defense, which is not normal for us. What they can do with the faceoff, the defensive athleticism and aggressiveness. They are at a level that we are striving for.”

The Blue Devils started the game on a 5-1 run. Sean Lowrie capped the run on a helper from Justin Guterding at 6:14 in the first. UVA scored two of the next three goals to trail by three, 6-3, after one quarter of play. Mikey Kerring scored on a Michael Kraus helper, and then Dox Aitken assisted Kraus at 1:21 in the first.

Duke outscored UVA, 5-3, in the second quarter to own an 11-6 lead at the intermission. Herring, Aitken and Ian Laviano all found the nylon in the second period. Aitken’s unassisted goal at 2:37 in the second capped the first half scoring and gave the sophomore his 30th goal of the season. Aitken is the 12th all-time Cavalier midfielder to score at least 30 goals in a season and the first since 2009 (Shamel Bratton, 31).

The Cavaliers bounced back in the third quarter. After Duke’s Joe Manown picked up a saved shot at 13:11 in the third and scored, UVA tallied off five goals in a row to make it a one-goal game, 12-11. During UVA’s 5-0 run Michael Kraus scored twice and also assisted Aitken and Herring. Matt Moore’s unassisted goal at 2:49 in the third capped the spurt.

Duke replied with the 6-0 run to secure the victory. Guterding found Kevin Quigley at 8:53 in the fourth to cap the streak. UVA managed goals from Mike D’Amario and Kraus to end the game, but it wasn’t enough.

“Positives?” said Tiffany. “If you saw us a year ago against Duke, we were really nowhere near the level they were playing. I told the men after this game, it’s still a loss and it hurts, but compared to a year ago, see how much further we’ve come along. There is some really good progress being made. I am excited with how we kept competing today and battling for ground balls, but this is a great day to learn. From the sting of the loss, we will only benefit if we can evaluate and assess and really look at how Duke plays the game, and we can continue to borrow certain things and fundamentals, it will be fantastic.”

Duke won the battle of shots (43-39), ground balls (44-33), faceoffs (21-14), saves (10-9) and had more turnovers (15-13).

Two of the nation’s best attackmen shined in the game. Duke’s Guterding had four goals and five assists for nine points, which was mirrored by UVA’s Kraus, who had the same numbers.

Herring had a career-high three goals for UVA and dished out one assist. Aitken finished with two goals, giving the sophomore 31 for the season. He is tied for No. 6 all-time at UVA in single-season goals by a midfielder. Pete Eldredge (1971), Greg Traynor (1995), Jay Jalbert (1999) and Bratton (2009) also scored 31 goals in a season at UVA.

UVA returns to action on Saturday in Kraus’ hometown of New Canaan, Conn. The IMLCA Game of the Week with Vermont will be played at New Canaan High School. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m.

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