The second-ranked Virginia women’s soccer team saw its season come to an end on Sunday with a 3-1 loss to No. 15 Duke in a NCAA Round of 16 match at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers conclude their season with an 18-5-1 record, matching the school record for wins in a year.
“Congratulations to Duke, it was a tough game but the better team won today,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “We have a lot of respect for their team and their coaching staff and they are a real class organization. We are obviously disappointed with the loss, but if we had to go out at this point, at least it was to an ACC team and a team we respect an awful lot.”
Duke opened the game strong and jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute of play. Laura Weinberg’s cross was headed in by Kim DeCesare for her 15th goal of the season.
The Blue Devils continued their pressure and doubled their lead in the 38th minute. A cross bounced to Mollie Pathman on the far wing and she one-timed in her first goal of the season. Duke, who outshot Virginia 9-3 over the first 45 minutes, took a 2-0 lead into intermission.
Virginia responded with early pressure in the second half and cut the lead in half in the 51st minute. Danielle Colaprico’s cross was knocked in by Caroline Miller, extending her single-season school records to 20 goals and 47 points. It also extended her school record goal-scoring streak to eight consecutive games.
Miller finished her career with 45 career goals, second in school history, and 109 career points, tied for second in school history. Her seven career NCAA Tournament goals are also a school record.
The Cavaliers continued to attack throughout the second half, but couldn’t find the equalizer. With 83 seconds to play, DeCesare got to a long clearance from the Duke defense and fired a shot past the charging keeper for her second goal of the night, her 16th goal of the season, sealing the Blue Devil victory.
“I thought we played for 45 minutes today,” said Swanson. “We just didn’t compete very hard in the first half. They were more aggressive than us, played direct and put the ball into our box. We didn’t cope with that as well as we could have. You just can’t compete at this level and expect to win if you only play for 45 minutes. I was proud of how we played in the second half. We came back and made it a game, but we just couldn’t get that second goal to get us back even.”
Each team ended the game with 14 shots as Virginia held a 4-3 corner kick advantage. Danielle DeLisle made four saves in goal for Virginia, while Tara Campbell made five saves for Duke.
The Cavaliers conclude a 2012 season that brought the program’s second ACC Championship, a school record 66 goals and a school-record-tying 18 wins.
“I don’t think this game should define this team,” said Swanson. “We played some unbelievable soccer this year. To go on the run we did over the last month was amazing. I think this team will go down in history as one of the greatest Virginia teams ever. As hard as loss is, because we had been playing so well and the season comes to a screeching halt, I think once we have some time reflect on it, we will look back at all we accomplished this season with pride.”
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