DURHAM, N.C.—Duke freshman forward Daniel Wright scored in the 77th minute and the Blue Devil defense held off a talented Virginia offense to post the 1-0 shutout victory over the No. 13 Cavaliers on Senior Night at Koskinen Stadium. The win clinches the No. 4 seed in the upcoming ACC Championship for the 18th-ranked Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils will receive a first-round bye and host an ACC Quarterfinal game Nov. 5 at 1 p.m., against the winner between Clemson and Syracuse.
"It's a huge win for us for so many reasons," said head coach John Kerr. "For your seeding in the ACC Tournament. For your seeding in the NCAA Tournament and for our confidence level. We've been searching for this kind of consistency for a while. All credit to our guys, they were great. Virginia had a great gameplan and played good stuff tonight. Will Pulisic stood on his head and made some unbelievable saves."
Duke improves to 12-3-2 overall and finishes the ACC with a 4-3-1 record. The fourth-place finish is the highest since the 2011 squad finished tied for third, while the 12 wins are two-shy of matching the 14 in 2009. Virginia falls to 10-3-3 overall and 3-2-3 in league action.
The Blue Devils beat Virginia for the first time since 2009 and for the first time in Durham since 2008. Five of the past seven results in the rivalry have been 1-0 decisions.
Wright recorded his third goal of the year and second in as many games for Duke. After a scoreless first half, the two teams played a lot of the action in the middle of the field with scoring opportunities hard to come by against the two solid defenses.
With just over 12 minutes to play in the game and Duke in its offensive third, Brandon Williamson did well to maintain possession inside the Virginia penalty box. The sophomore quickly touched it out to an open Max Moser on the right wing for one of his patented right-footed crosses. The ball fell right at Wright, who one-touched it perfectly past Jeff Caldwell for the goal.
The final 10 minutes were a wild affair with Virginia pressing forward in search of the equalizer. Pablo Aguilar, after having a shot saved by Duke goalkeeper Will Pulisic off the crossbar in the first half, knocked one off the right post in the 84th minute. The Cavaliers, repeatedly winning corner kicks, nearly put one in in the 86th minute as it went just over the bar.
Duke’s Cameron Moseley had a dangerous look at goal with under four to play, but sent it wide left of Caldwell’s net. On the other end of the field, Pulisic and the Duke defense was outstanding in all areas to hold on for their seventh shutout of the season.
The two squads played a scoreless opening 45 minutes with the best chance coming off the foot of Aguilar. The Cavalier midfielder took a chance from 50 yards, but Pulisic got just enough of his fingers on it to touch it off the crossbar. The rookie goalie finished with two saves, but countless other plays, including holding Virginia off the board despite having 10 corner kicks.
Caldwell also made two stops, including a great reaction save on a header from Brian White in the second half.
Duke will host either Clemson or Syracuse Sunday, Nov. 5, in the ACC Quarterfinal. The game will be at 1 p.m., on ACC Network Extra with Ryan Craig and Jason Garey on the call. Ticket prices will be announced in the coming days.