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(Photo by Eric Canha, theACC.com)
Le Marchand Fuels the Blue Devils’ Offense to the Semifinals
NEWTON, Mass. (TheACC.com) – Carried by the offensive efforts of senior Emmie Le Marchand, Duke defeated Virginia, 2-1 in the opening contest of the ACC Field Hockey Championship.
With the victory, Duke will move on to face top-seeded Maryland on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m.
The Blue Devils got on the board first just past the five-minute mark of the contest, as Emmie Le Marchand potted her team-leading 12th goal of the season.
The play materialized after Le Marchard inserted a corner to Grace Christus. The senior from Far Hills, N.J., then tapped a pass on to Brenna Rescigno, who directed a shot toward the net through traffic. Le Marchand was positioned perfectly by the near post to direct the shot past Virginia goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone to give Duke a 1-0 lead.
The Blue Devils maintained their lead for a majority of the first half, threatening on two separate occasions to extend its lead. The Cavaliers, however, withstood the offensive onslaught long enough to net the game-tying goal with less than five minutes remaining in the first stanza.
On a deep drive to Duke goalkeeper Lauren Blazing’s left, Virginia’s Elly Buckley centered a pass to the front of the cage to Caleigh Faust, who tallied her 10th goal of the season to knot the match at one.
In the second half, the Blue Devils wasted little time in regaining their advantage, as Le Marchand was again the catalyst for the offense.
Working from near the end line, Le Marchand was able to get a pass to Devon Gagliardi, who found herself in front of the net. With her back turned to the goalkeeper, Gagliardi released a turning shot that trickled past Virginia’s Johnstone.
With 19 minutes remaining in the match, Duke had a chance to stretch its lead to two goals on a penalty stroke. The Blue Devils’ Le Marchand, stepped to the seven-yard mark and lifted a hard, rising shot. Johnstone was able to stop the crucial shot and kept the Cavaliers within striking distance.
Following the penalty stroke save, momentum seemed to take a turn in favor of the Cavaliers. During a four-minute stretch in waning moments, Virginia recorded five shots on net and had four corner opportunities. However, Duke’s defense stood tall and protected the 2-1 lead.
The victory by the Blue Devils avenged a 4-3 regular season loss to Virginia.
More information on the 2013 ACC Field Hockey Championship can be found online at http://theacc.co/FHChamp.