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First-half surge carries Blue Devils past Cavs
November 19th, 2012 12:21AM

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[VIRGINIA-DUKE] Kim DeCesare scored her third and fourth goals of the weekend to lead Duke to a 3-1 win at ACC champion Virginia. It was the fourth win in four NCAA games for the Blue Devils over the Cavaliers in Charlottesville.

“It was a tale of two halves,” said Duke coach Robbie Church. “Obviously, we came out getting the first couple of goals.  Not just the first goal, but the second goal was really key for us. Anytime in NCAA play, the first goal is key for momentum, it is a big goal -- almost like a double-goal. It gives your team energy to play.”

Duke took the lead in the ninth minute when Laura Weinberg found DeCesare, who scored on a header. Freshman Cassie Pecht was also credited with an assist for her NCAA-best 15th of the season.

The Blue Devils kept their foot on the pedal and U.S. U-20 Mollie Pathman made it 2-0 with a right-footed blast for her first goal of the 2012 campaign in the 38th minute.

But Virginia was the aggressor after intermission and cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 51st minute when Caroline Miller extended her single-season school records to 20 goals and 47 points and eight consecutive games with at least one goal.

“We knew that Virginia was going to come out at us in the second half,” said Church.  “They have always been very strong in that segment in the first 15-20 minutes.  We were scrambling, holding on for our dear lives for a little while.  We had to change our formation and personnel.  We settled down and defended very well.”

The Cavaliers kept up the pressure, but Duke held firm and put the game away on DeCesare’s second goal of the contest in the 89th minute.

“Congratulations to Duke, it was a tough game but the better team won today,” said Virginia coach Steve Swanson. “We have a lot of respect for their team and their coaching staff and they are a real class organization. We are obviously disappointed with the loss, but if we had to go out at this point, at least it was to an ACC team and a team we respect an awful lot.”
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