March 28, 2009

Duke Edges Virginia in Final Seconds

from press release

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Sophomore Sarah Bullard found the back of the net with just 11.3 seconds remaining in the game to lift the No. 5 Duke women's lacrosse team to a 13-12 victory over tenth-ranked Virginia Saturday afternoon at a rainy Klockner Stadium on UVA's campus.

The Blue Devils improved to 9-2 and 2-1 in the ACC with the victory, as today's win snapped Duke's three-game losing streak against the Cavaliers. It was also the Blue Devils' third-straight victory.

With the score tied at 12 and Virginia maintaining possession in the final minute, the Cavaliers were working the ball around to look for the last shot, but a bad pass toward the sideline resulted in a UVA turnover. Danielle Kachulis carried the ball up field for Duke, but would slip on the wet grass and manage to flick the ball to Cryer. Cryer sent it over to Davis on the far right, who passed it to Del Monte behind the cage. Del Monte then found a streaking Bullard at the top of the arc, who fired it past the keeper to put Duke up 13-12 with just 11 seconds left. UVA won the ensuing draw but could not manage a final shot as the Blue Devils held on for the road win.

The goal was Bullard's only goal of the day as the sophomore midfielder made it count.

"We made a great team play to force the ball out of bounds, and Danielle kept her composure to bring the ball up the field," said Bullard of the final minute. "We were able to run our end-of-half play and it worked out. Everyone did a great job and it was just coincidence that it was me."

The teams combined for the 25 goals, with Duke coming away with 35 shots to Virginia's 29. The Blue Devils managed one more draw control, 14-13, while senior goalkeeper Kim Imbesi came away with 12 saves to keep the Blue Devils in the game.

Virginia got on the board in the first minute of play with a goal from leading scorer Ashley McCulloch at just the 29:27 mark. The Blue Devils had a chance at the early equalizer but Caroline Cryer's shot from out in front ricocheted off the pipe and was scooped up by UVA keeper Lauren Benner.

UVA went up 2-0 at the 22:07 mark off a goal from Jenny Hauser, followed by a score just 20 seconds later by Whitaker Hagerman to build the three-goal edge. But the Blue Devils found the scoreboard at the 21:06 mark with an unassisted goal for senior Carolyn Davis. Duke then cut it to 3-2 moments later off a goal from Emma Hamm to move within one.

Virginia's Hauser converted on her free position chance with 19:30 on the clock, just barely finding the corner of the net to make it 4-2, before Gilbride took advantage of a free position chance of her own at the 13:25 mark, sending the eight-meter shot past the keeper to again bring Duke within a goal and snap a six-minute scoreless streak for both sides.

Gilbride would net the tying goal just after that, as she waited on the right side and took a pass from Cryer, sending it past Benner to make it 4-4 with 12:18 left in the first frame. Imbesi came up with a big stop off a Cavalier eight-meter shot to keep it tied at that point.

Duke took its first lead of the game at 6:49 off another Davis goal, as she cut through the middle and took a perfect pass from Del Monte before beating the keeper to put the Blue Devils up, 5-4. Davis completed the hat trick just 30 seconds later, starting from the top of the arc and dodging her defender to create the open look as Duke took a two-goal lead.

Hamm netted her second of the day and Duke's fifth straight goal, as she took a pass from Bullard in front and faked the keeper with a bounce shot that crept over the line to make it 7-4 in favor of the visitors. Imbesi made another great save down the other end before Bullard scooped up a ground ball at midfield and carried it into the offensive end, dishing to Gilbride with just over three minutes left in the opening period as the junior finished the play for the four-goal lead.

After not scoring for over 17 minutes, UVA unleashed three in a row at the end of the half to cut Duke's lead to 8-7 with 42 seconds remaining in the first. Imbesi made a late stop to preserve the Blue Devils' one-goal lead heading into the locker rooms.

Megan Del Monte jumped on the scoreboard and opened the second half as she fired an unassisted shot past the keeper to reposition the Blue Devils up by two goals at 9-7. Virginia then scored two straight goals to tie it at nine apiece with 25:51 on the scoreboard, before Davis charged through the right side and found the net at the 17:49 mark to reestablish the Blue Devil lead.

Cryer next took a pass from Gilbride on the right side to make it 11-9. The teams went on to trade scores over the next several minutes, but UVA netted two in a row to tie it 12 with 8:25 to play.

The Cavaliers had a big chance to go ahead with just over two minutes left in the game, but Imbesi came up huge and turned away the close-range shot to keep it tied. Duke then forced the late turnover and went end-to-end, resulting in Bullard's game-winner.

"This was a tough game - the conditions were not ideal and I felt our kids stuck to the game plan and just toughed it out," said head coach Kerstin Kimel. "We knew the team that won the draw and had the ball more in the second half would win the game, and that's what happened today."

For Duke, Gilbride and Davis finished with four goals while Hamm had two and Bullard, Del Monte, and Cryer each tallied one. Gilbride added two assists to finish with six points on the day.

UVA's Hauser had six goals to lead all scorers.

Today's game started almost an hour later than originally scheduled, after the Virginia-Maryland men's lacrosse game at Klockner Stadium went a record seven overt imes. UVA won, 10-9, on a sudden victory goal in the 100th minute of play, making it the longest college lacrosse game in Division I history.

Next up, the Blue Devils will tackle the four-time defending champions Northwestern on the road next Friday night in Evanston, Ill.    

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