[ACC]Duke claimed its first Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title since 1994 on Thursday evening with a 1-0 victory at N.C. State. In the reformatted tournament structure, the Blue Devils open tournament play Sunday as the No. 1 seeds at home against Virginia Tech.
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The Blue Devils become only the second ACC team to post multiple ACC regular-season titles other than North Carolina.
"I am overwhelmed," said Duke coach Robbie Church, who posted his first league title with the Blue Devils. "To win a title in a league like this in a year like this where you have 10 teams in the top 37 of the RPI that just came out on Wednesday -- is unbelievable. I am just so proud of the girls. They have worked so hard all year and fought through things. It is a just reward for them and it is a just reward for a lot of people that has been in our program in years past to that set the tone and helped us build it. To get our first league title since 1994 is fantastic."
After a scoreless first half, the Duke attack came to life. Sophomore Mollie Pathman hit the crossbar in the 53rd minute and then fed Kaitlyn Kerr 11 minutes later for the winning goal.
Other Sunday matchups find No. 2 Virginia (13-3-2) playing host to No. 7 Maryland (10-4-4), No. 3 North Carolina (11-4-1) at home against No. 6 Florida State (12-6-0), and No. 4 Boston College (11-4-2) playing host to fifth-seeded and defending champion Wake Forest (12-3-3).
On Thursday, North Carolina dropped its second game in a row when Hayley Brock tied the game with less than four minutes remaining and Becky Kaplan scored the game-winner in overtime to give Maryland a 2-1 win over the Tar Heels before a crowd of 2,126 at Ludwig Field.
The BC-Wake Forest game will be a rematch of Thursday night's season finale, which the Eagles won 2-0 in a light snowfall at Chestnut Hill, Mass., to clinch the fourth seed and the right to remain home on Sunday.
Freshman Morgan Brian scored twice to lead Virginia to a 2-0 win over Miami (Fla.).