Nov. 21, 2008

Courtesy Wake Forest Athletics

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The second-seeded Wake Forest field hockey team will play in the NCAA Finals after defeating third-seeded Syracuse 3-2 in overtime in Louisville. Junior forward Hilary Moore netted all three goals for the Demon Deacons, marking her first career hat trick.

Wake Forest (22-3) will now face top seed Maryland (21-2) for the third time this season in the NCAA Championship match on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Terrapins also earned an overtime victory, taking the fourth-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes to over 85 minutes of play before scoring the game-winning goal (2-1).

After adding a few extra minutes to compensate for the earlier double over time game and then another 45 minutes to de-ice the turf, the Demon Deacons started play in the semifinals a little after 8:45 p.m. At game time the official temperature was listed at 29 degrees, but with the wind chill it felt like 23 degrees.

Syracuse (22-2) had the first corner opportunity five minutes into play. The Orange had trouble stopping the ball at the top of the circle and the Deacons wasted no time swiping the ball away and sending it down the field.

With 28 minutes in the first half, Syracuse had a big opportunity. Forward Shelby Schraden made breakaway and was alone in the Wake Forest circle. Wake Forest defenders Aileen Davis and Minou Gimbrere quickly slipped in to clear the ball and kept the game scoreless for the time being.

Hilary Moore was the first to score in the game, netting the first of her three goals in the 11th minute.

In the 20th minute Syracuse's Lindsey Conrad flew from midfield into scoring circle, hitting a high shot that fell past Wake Forest goalkeeper Crystal Duffield into the cage, knotting the score at 1-1.

Duffield made big save with 4:28 left in the half, diving to block a penalty corner shot fired by Syracuse midfielder Lauren Taylor. Just two minutes later, Duffield once again stopped Taylor on a similar penalty corner play.

"I just kept my eye on her and I knew she had no where else to shoot it. I just went for it and made the dive," Duffield said.

The teams couldn't break the tied score and entered halftime even at 1-1.

Moore opened scoring in the second half, taking pass from Kim Romansky to send the ball in right in front of the cage, giving Wake Forest a 2-1 lead with just under 20 minutes to play.

In the 58th minute Lindsey Conrad scored on a controversial play that the Demon Deacons hoped would be recalled, but the play stood, and the score was tied 2-2 with just over 10 minutes in regulation.

The Orange had an advantage in possession during the final minutes and continued to hold an edge during the opening of overtime.

"Our team made the field very small," Wake Forest head coach Jennifer Averill said. "Syracuse had several opportunities to score but we stayed alive."

In Wake Forest's second decisive possession in overtime, Kim Romansky started a play inside the Syracuse circle that ended with Hilary Moore tapping in her third goal of the night, catching a rebounded shot off the Syracuse keeper. With the goal the Demon Deacons took the 3-2 sudden victory win.

The NCAA Finals will be aired live on CBS College Sports as well as cybercast on NCAA.com.