FIRST HALF: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 3 Virginia

End of 2nd Quarter, Duke 7 Virginia 3. After corralling a loose ball in the offensive zone and Virginia’s defense out of formation, Steve Schoeffel zipped it across the face of the net to Brad Ross, but Petit made an impressive save on the overhand shot.

Duke’s just 30 minutes away from the 2008 ACC Tournament championship.

3:00, 2nd Quarter, Duke 7 Virginia 3. Cavaliers are trying to get back into the game. Garrett Billings lobbed it into Gavin Gill on a man-up opportunity, and Gill slipped it past Loftus from just outside the crease.

Virginia has done a great job of limiting Duke’s second-chance opportunities. On missed shots, the Cavaliers have beaten the Duke attackmen to the endline several times in their effort to quiet the Blue Devils’ prolific attack.

5:00, 2nd Quarter, Duke 7 Virginia 2. Virginia breaks out of its scoring drought with a score from Garrett Billings. Billings basically rolled it along the ground past Loftus after receiving the pass from former Blue Devil Peter Lamade.

Ned Crotty initiates from behind the cage, where he has been successful so often this season, turns the corner and fires it in for a 7-2 Duke lead. Surprisely, Matt Danowski has been a non-factor to this point

6:41, 2nd Quarter, Duke 6 Virginia 1. UVa goalie Bud Petit has made several mistakes in the clearing game, including a few long passes that resulted in easy turnovers. But he did have a Loftus-like save, stopping a Blue Devil shot from just outside the crease with his ankle.

But Loftus would not be outdone. A Cavalier shot from four yards out looked destined to bounce through Loftus’ legs, but the goalie somehow got his stick on it, stopping the ball dead in the dirt just a few inches short of the goal line. Quite simply, Loftus is playing out of his mind.

Ned Crotty scores Duke’s sixth straight goal of the game, ripping a shot to the top right corner of the cage.Both teams are getting solid shots off, but the difference in the game to this point is the play of Duke’s Dan Loftus.

10:17, 2nd Quarter, Duke 5 Virginia 1. Virginia’s Shamel Bratton dodges off the right goal-line extended, beating his man for a shot from just outside the crease. Somehow, though, Loftus makes the save with his left foot.

About 45 seconds later, Duke continues to take the wind out of the Cavaliers’ sails, as Zack Howell unleashes a shot over Petit’s left shoulder from nearly 15 yards away.

Despite being grossly outnumbered, the Duke faithful is making itself known here in Klockner Stadium.

End of 1st Quarter, Duke 4 Virginia 1. Matt Danowski initiates from behind the cage, first feigning a shot from the goal-line extended, then passing it to an open Zack Greer right in front of the net. Greer stuffed it home, giving Duke a 3-1 lead.

With 8.5 seconds left, Steve Schoeffel drew the defense in when he dodged for the net. After pulling back, he found Max Quinzani standing at the top edge of the crease, and the sophomore attackman spun and dropped it over Petit’s shoulder for the 4-1 first quarter advantage.

2:30 1st Quarter, Duke 2 Virginia 1. Duke has struggled clearing, giving Virginia multiple fast-break looks that have put tremendous pressure on Dan Loftus. But the senior goalie has played magnificently, making at least three stops on hard shots from about five yards out.

These two teams are so fast and so aggressive that the game has been largely played with the ball on the ground. Neither squad has established a rhythm.

6:20 1st Quarter, Duke 2 Virginia 1. Virginia looked impressive in its first offensive possession, as star attackman Ben Rubeor drew the attention of the defense as he ran all the way around the back of the net, then dumped it over a Duke defender to teammate Ryan Carrol for a point-blank shot past goalie Dan Loftus.

Duke equalized it with a garbage goal shortly thereafter, though. After goalie Bud Petit stopped a Blue Devil shot, the Cavaliers botched their clear attempt, as an errant pass ended up right in front of Duke’s Brad Ross with an empty net in front of him.

A few minutes later, Steve Schoeffel dodged and netted an unassisted goal on a bounce shot from six yards away. Despite the lead, Duke’s offense looks a bit out of sorts as multiple shots have missed wide.

–by Matthew Iles

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Filed under ACC Tournament, Live Blog, Men's Lacrosse

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