Duke 5, Michigan State 2



WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Duke will seek its first field hockey national championship Sunday after five different players netted goals in a 5-2 victory over Michigan State Friday in NCAA Semifinal action. It will mark the Blue Devil's second straight championship game appearance.

Duke jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 4:13 mark on a goal by junior Nicole Dudek. Sophomore Cara-Lynn Lopresti created the action by splitting a pair of MSU defenders and carrying the ball along the right end line. Dudek received the centering pass from Lopresti and knocked home her team leading 22nd goal of the season.

Michigan State tied the score with 15:23 remaining in the half when Veerle Goudswaard flipped a shot into the upper corner of the net on the Spartans first penalty corner opportunity. Breanna Harpstead and Jessica Miller assisted on the play, as Goudswaard netted her 32nd goal of the season.

The Blue Devils regained the lead less than four minutes later, scoring off their fifth penalty corner of the opening half. Dudek took a pass from senior Johanna Bischof on right wing and rifled a pass to Katie Grant on the far post. Grant redirected the ball into the corner of the cage for her 22nd goal of the season. Dudek was credited with her 14th assist on the play.

Duke closed the opening 35 minutes with a 10-2 shot advantage and a 5-1 edge in penalty corners. Goalie Christy Morgan added one save and stopped another Spartan scoring chance by knocking a bouncing ball away from Goudswaard a the top of the scoring arc.

Michigan State tied the score at 2-2 less than four minutes into the second half as Goudswaard scored on a direct hit. Harpstead and Miller again assisted on the play. The Spartans had another scoring opportunity a short time later but Morgan made a save and freshman Shayna McGeehan was able to get the ball off her pads and out of the scoring zone.

The Blue Devils regained the lead with 27:26 remaining in the game as Hilary Linton registered her fourth goal of the season. Linton took a pass from Gracie Sorbello on the right wing and slipped a perfect shot through a handful of defenders into the far edge of the cage.

Sorbello spotted Duke to a 4-2 lead less than seven minutes later with her 12th goal of the year. The Davis, Calif., native rebounded her own blocked shot and slipped a shot under the pads of goalie Christina Kirkaldy and forcing a Michigan State timeout.

Duke stretched the lead to three goals with 16:56 remaining as Amy Stopford scored an unassisted goal. The sophomore, midfielder out fought a MSU defender for the ball on the right wing and put the shot in the far side of the cage for her 12th goal of the year.

With just over 12 minutes remaining, Morgan smothered another potential Spartan scoring opportunity by pushing a bounding ball on the left end line out to the corner where the Blue Devils collected and cleared the ball.

The Spartans threatened again at the seven minute mark but Morgan stopped an initial shot and Sorbello had a defensive save on the rebound opportunity to keep the Duke advantage at three goals.

Morgan finished the game with six saves, including five in the second half when Michigan State took 13 shots on goal. The two teams finished the contest with 15 shots each.

Duke improves to 18-4 on the year and advances to the NCAA Championship game for the second time in as many years. The loss was Michigan State's fourth of the year and their first defeat in regulation. The Spartans close the year 18-4 overall.

-- Courtesy Duke