[WOMEN'S COLLEGE CUP] Duke advanced to the NCAA Division I final with a 4-1 victory over ACC rival Wake Forest on Friday evening at the KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga.
The Blue Devils seized momentum just before the half on a goal by Kim DeCesare, and then Mollie Pathman scored the first of two goals just after halftime to extend the lead to 2-0.
Rachel Nuzzolese got one back for the Deacons in the 57th minute, but Duke struck 33 seconds later later on a penalty kick converted by Pathman to effectively put the game away. Like DeCesare, Kaitlyn Kerr scored off a corner kick to finish the scoring in the 75th minute. Those two goals were the first goals that the Demon Deacons had allowed on set pieces all season.
"The goal at the end of the half was absolutely huge," said Duke coach Robbie Church. "It gave us the confidence to carry on. We talked about this in the press conference the other day. We haven't been a very good first-half team. We tried almost everything and it showed. Getting that goal and knowing what a strong second-half team we are was really big. I thought the girls played terrifically, both offensively and defensively. Another key was early in the first half, they had so many set plays and we did a great job of defending and didn't give anything up."
Duke will play Stanford in the final on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (TV: ESPNU, ESPN3). It will be the second final for Duke. In 1992, the Blue Devils fell, 9-1, to archrival North Carolina. The '92 Tar Heels with Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly is considered to be the greatest team in the history of women's college soccer.
Wake Forest had reached the College Cup for the first time and ended the year with a program-best 18-4-4 record.
“Tonight I thought we played a very good first half,” said Wake coach Tony da Luz. “We created some chances, had a lot of corners and were in a pretty good position, but to give up the goal right before halftime mentally was not very positive. Those two goals, right before halftime and right after halftime, were not a good way to win a semifinal."
Dec. 2 in Kennesaw, Ga.
Duke 4 Wake Forest 1.
DUKE: DeCesare 5 (Lipp) 43
DUKE: Pathman 5 (Weinberg; Cobb) 51
WFU: Nuzzolese 12 (unassisted) 57
DUKE: Pathman 6 (pen.) 57
DUKE: Kerr 11 (Lipp) 75
Duke -- Campbell, Jandl, Anasi, Koballa, Haller, Kerr, Lipp, Doria, Cobb, Weinberg, Pathman. Subs: Gibson, Simpkins, Treese, Mack, Rape, Lester, DeCesare, Canepa, Straton.
Wake Forest -- Bledsoe, Marshall, Woodson, Keppler, Logue, Ridgik, Berry, Meier, Nuzzolese, Stengel, Park. Subs: Howell, McSally, Mandarich, Feger, McBryer.
Referee: Tim Debysingh.