- Brian Span scored in the second minute and Spencer LaCivita made a clutch save on a penalty kick in the waning minutes as the No. 12 Virginia men's soccer team held on to post a 1-0 win at No. 25 Duke Friday evening in the ACC opener at Koskinen Stadium. With the victory, UVa earned its first win at Duke since Oct. 20, 2001.
"It's really tough to win on the road, particularly in this conference and here at Duke, where we hadn't won in 10 years," Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. "We talked all preseason about getting a win here and it wasn't pretty, but we did it. The difference in this game was we were able to grind it out and do what we had to in order to win."
Virginia (4-1-0, 1-0-0 ACC) made Span's early goal hold up with a bend-but-don't-break effort. Duke out-shot Virginia 13-5 in the second half, but LaCivita came up with a pair of saves in the final three minutes to thwart the rally attempt. Duke (1-4-0, 0-1-0) out-shot UVa 19-12 in the contest. The physical game also featured 34 fouls, with 24 assessed to the Cavaliers.
LaCivita made four saves to earn his second shutout this year, while Duke keeper James Belshaw stopped five of the six UVa shots on goal.
UVa struck quickly, scoring just 1:49 into the game. After Chris Somerville made a nifty turn to break loose from the Duke defense, he passed to Will Bates, who raced past the defense down the left flank and then crossed the ball across the box to a streaking Span, who tapped it home to the near corner from five yards out. The goal was Span's second this season, while Bates racked up his team-leading third assist of 2011.
In the 32nd minute, Hunter Jumper lobbed a ball to midfield, and when the Duke defender mistimed the bounce, Bates was left alone and streaking to the net but he mistouched the ball and it caromed harmlessly to Belshaw.
After UVa out-shot the Blue Devils 7-6 in the first half, Duke pressed the Cavaliers extensively in the second half with multiple scoring chances. In the 76th minute, after an Andrew Morales cross, Nick Palodichuk's header from five yards out went just outside the near post.
In the 80th minute, Chris Tweed-Kent had his shot from six yards out toward an open half of the goal blocked by UVa defender Matt Brown.
The Devils' best chance came in the 88th minute after UVa was called for foul in its own box and Duke was awarded a penalty kick. Andrew Wenger took the kick, but LaCivita made a sprawling stop to punch the ball away and keep the lead intact.
LaCivita stopped a Palodichuk header off a free kick in the 90th minute, and UVa broke the other way, where Belshaw brilliantly tipped away a Brian Ownby breakaway shot with 36 seconds remaining. The Blue Devils did not get another shot from there.
After playing four of its first five matches on the road, Virginia returns home next week to start a four-game homestand. The Cavaliers will match up with Liberty at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Klöckner Stadium as UVa will play 10 of its final 13 regular-season games at home.