UCLA advanced to the Women's College Cup for the sixth straight year in dominating fashion thanks to a 6-1 win over Duke Saturday. Olympic gold-medalist Lauren Cheney broke an early 1-1 tie with a goal in the 18th minute.
"It's just clicking for us right now," said UCLA coach Jillian Ellis. "I thought all 11 players stepped up and were committed tonight. And I'm not just talking about the starters. This was a complete team effort, and I'm just so happy that we were able to advance to another College Cup."
Despite surrendering their first goal of the NCAA Tournament when Duke's KayAnne Gummersall canceled out McCall Zerboni's goal, the Bruins showed no signs of being rattled. Cheney put UCLA ahead by heading in a corner kick from Lauren Wilmoth, and Christina DiMartino followed with a 30-yard blast just before halftime.
UCLA pounded the Duke for 27 shots in the game and forced goalie Cassidy Powers into 13 saves, 10 in the first half.
Junior Kristina Larsen was the star of the second 45 minutes of play, scoring her team-leading 12th and 13th goals of the season. Bruin sophomore Dana Wall capped the scoring for UCLA in the 72nd minute with her first goal of the season.
"We got very hesitant tonight," said Duke coach Robbie Church. "We gave up more set play goals that we have all year. A lot of that goes to UCLA's experience. I've seen a lot of the teams in the Final Four and this UCLA team is as good a team as I've seen in the country. I wouldn't bet against them next week in Cary."
Nov. 29 in Los Angeles
UCLA 6 Duke 1.Goals: Zerboni (Wright, Barnes) 5, Cheney (Wilmoth) 18, DiMartino (Mac Kechnie) 44, Larsen 59, Larsen (Lang, Cheney) 62, Wall (Williams) 72; Gummersall (Miller, Quinn) 15.
UCLA --Thompson, Barnes, Wilmoth, Hardy, Cook, DiMartino, Zerboni, Lang, Wright, Cheney, Larsen. Subs: Dimmitt, Williams, Mathis, Mac Kechnie, Kleinert, Calvert, Zadro, Belcher, Britt, Wall, Sharpe.
Duke -- Powers, G.Miller, Alukonis, FitzGerald, McDonald, McCann, Quinn, Redmond, Kreger, Gummersall, Hathorn. Subs: Allen, Kramer, Goodman, Newman, Bradley, Lester, Canepa, Pappas.