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NCAA Game of the Week: Own goal leads to Duke’s demise against Virginia

A last-minute goal from Duke’s Kayla McCoy was not enough for the home side, as the No. 12 Blue Devils fell, 2-1, to the No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday in ACC action.

A Duke own goal opened up scoring on the day and, although not the game-winning goal, it did give Virginia the advantage despite a rather lackluster opening half from both sides. Virginia freshman Rebecca Jarrett scored the second goal in the match for the Cavaliers, while McCoy’s goal was the lone Blue Devil tally.

McCoy, who leads the Blue Devils in scoring with 13 points so far this season, opened up the excitement in the sixth minute when she found herself in a one-v-two situation to get a look on goal, but she didn’t get enough of an angle on her shot and it went short of the far post. That set the pace for Duke, who controlled much of the attacking action in the opening 45 minutes.

Moments later, Duke was awarded a free kick within striking distance, which was taken by Karlie Paschall. Paschall slotted her shot through a gap in the wall, but the ball bounced right into the arms of Virginia sophomore goalkeeper Laurel Ivory.

Twenty minutes into the contest, junior Blue Devil Ella Stevens found space inside the box and fired off a shot, but Ivory was able to make the point-blank save to deny her. Ivory failed to collect the ball, which rolled loose inside the six, and Stevens attempted to capitalize on the opportunity, but the Virginia defense was there to clear it from danger before she could.

Six minutes later, the deadlock was broken when Virginia got on the board thanks to a Duke own goal following sophomore midfielder Taryn Torres’s cross into the box. A pair of opponents battled over possession in the area, and the Duke defender’s touch sent the ball in at the far post while Duke goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn went to her right.

The own goal was a gift from Duke’s defense, as they held Virginia without a shot in the opening half otherwise. On the other side of the field, Ivory tallied two saves in the opening half to prevent the Blue Devils from making their way onto the scoresheet.

Much as they had in the opening half, the Blue Devils opened up the second half by putting a shot on frame in the opening seconds, forcing Ivory to make yet another, albeit easy, save. They were then awarded a pair of back-to-back corner kicks, but neither resulted in any opportunities on goal for Duke.

From there, momentum began to swing more into Virginia’s favor, and they began to create more scoring opportunities while preventing Duke from doing the same. The Hoos were able to capitalize on that in the 77th minute to double their lead when two freshman attacker Alexa Spaanstar played a pass to fellow rookie Rebecca Jarrett right in front of the goal. Jarrett calmly finished the chance for the second Cavs goal of the day and her fourth of her career.

As the clock continued winding down, it seemed evident that the game would finish with a 2-0 scoreline in favor of the visitors. However, with just 37 seconds left in the match, Duke finally managed to work their way onto the board courtesy of McCoy, who received a pass inside of the box and was able to slide her resulting shot past Ivory to prevent the Cavalier netminder from earning another clean sheet on the season.

The Cavaliers will next travel to Virginia Tech on Thursday, September 27, for a match postponed due to Hurricane Florence. They will then return home to face Wake Forest on Sunday, September 30. Duke faces a tough test against No. 16 North Carolina State on Thursday night before having the rest of the weekend off.

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