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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The 3rd-seeded Duke Blue Devils defeated No. 6 Virginia Friday evening 3-2 at the 2011 ACC Field Hockey Championship. Duke advances to the semifinals for the first time since 2005 and will face No. 2 Maryland Friday afternoon.
“I thought our team did a great job of staying on their tasks,” said Duke’s first-year head coach Pam Bustin. “They kept fighting and stayed in the moment. Whatever Virginia threw at us we had to find a solution. It was a game of momentum. Virginia came out with a lot of energy and we did a great job of maintaining that energy with our tempo.”
Emmie Le Marchand got the Blue Devils on the board first, taking a pass from Mary Nielson that went through the middle of the circle 17:15 into the game. The native of Worcester, England knocked it in from the right doorstep to give Duke the early 1-0 lead.
Elly Buckley scored to tie the game for the Cavaliers five minutes later. Hadley Bell inserted a penalty corner and Rachel Jennings set up the shot for Buckley.
Jessica Buttinger gave Duke the lead for good seven minutes before halftime. Rhian Jones fired a shot from the top of the circle off of a penalty corner, and Buttinger deflected the shot over Jenny Johnstone, the Virginia goalkeeper. McKay Ross scored her second goal of the year ten minutes after halftime to increase the Blue Devil lead to 3-1.
Buckley got the Cavaliers to within one goal midway through the second half, knocking in a loose ball from the middle of the circle during a scramble after a penalty corner for her 17th of the year, but Virginia was unable to come up with the equalizer down the stretch.
Duke outshot Virginia 15-8, including an 8-4 margin in the second half as they held the lead. Both teams had six penalty corners apiece in the game.
“After our loss to them last week it woke us up. We realized that we didn’t have to change anything; we just had to capitalize on the things that we have been working on,” said senior back Stefanie Fee, about losing to Virginia 3-2 in strokes a week before the ACC Championship. “We just knew that we had to come out and play our game.”
“I just couldn’t be more proud of the team and how they played,” said Virginia head coach Michelle Madison. “It was against a very good team. I thought we put together a much better game plan than last Saturday, but the score tells the final story.”
The Blue Devils advance to play No. 2 Maryland Friday at 3:30 p.m. The game can be seen on the ACC’s regional sports network
More information on the 2011 ACC Field Hockey Championship can be found online at http://www.theacc.com/championships/11-acc-field-hockey-championship.html.