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Wake wipes out Duke

The field hockey team suffered another Sunday catastrophe against Wake Forest (20-3), which captured its third consecutive national championship Sunday with a dominating 3-0 victory over Duke (18-5) at Kentner Field.  WINSTON-SALEM -- The field hockey team suffered another Sunday catastrophe against its recent nemesis.

Wake Forest (20-3) captured its third consecutive national championship Sunday with a dominating 3-0 victory over Duke (18-5) at Kentner Field. It was the third time these two teams have met with championships on the line in the past two years, and the Demon Deacons have prevailed in each, having beaten the Blue Devils in last year's ACC and NCAA title games.

"Our whole dream and goal for this season was to play on Sundays," Wake Forest head coach Jennifer Averill said. "If you play on Sunday in the ACC [Tournament] that means you're doing pretty good. If you play on Sunday on November 21st, you are doing really good."

Heading into the national title game, Duke had reason to be confident. In the regular season, the Blue Devils defeated the Demon Deacons 4-3 in overtime Sept. 11 in Winston-Salem. Duke had also beaten top-seeded North Carolina in the regional final to qualify for the Final Four. But when the stakes were highest, Wake Forest worked its game plan to perfection.

From the start of the game, with the home crowd roaring, the Demon Deacons did not allow Duke to move the ball effectively. Wake Forest closely guarded the Blue Devil forwards and prevented them from getting many touches on the ball.

 "One of their strengths is low block tackles, and they just did that consistently," midfielder Hilary Linton said. "We didn't adjust our game to counteract.

Wake Forest also had no trouble slashing through the Duke defense and penetrating the circle to challenge keeper Christy Morgan. The Demon Deacons' incessant pressure finally broke through 25 minutes into the game. Forward Tamar Meijer found a seam in the right side of the Duke defense and beat Morgan far post for a 1-0 lead. The Demon Deacons' nearly extended their lead before halftime, but Morgan made two clutch saves and the defense cleared the ball.

The second half, however, was more of the same for the Blue Devils. Unable to advance the ball into Wake Forest territory with any consistency, Duke was left scrambling in front of its own net trying to preserve the one-goal deficit.

"It's unfortunate this is our last game because we've had such great games and played so well this season. Our attack players have really performed for us with a number of goals that they have scored for us," head coach Beth Bozman said. "This was not one of their better showings."

 

In the second half, it only took the Demon Deacons five minutes to extend their lead when Meijer wove through a crowd of defenders and beat Morgan far post for the second time.

Wake Forest notched the final goal with 20 minutes remaining. Midfielder Kelly Wood scored off a pass from senior forward Kelly Dostal.

After the game, Bozman, who has not won a national title in six trips to the Final Four, was dejected.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say we were really disappointed in our performance today," Bozman said. "I think we had a great run all season and just really did not perform today. I'm disappointed for the team and disappointed for the seniors because as extraordinary as this season was, this is what you remember for a long time."

For the field hockey team, the loss was much different than last year's, considering the path to the championship was much tougher. "I think going into the game there was a big difference in the general attitude of the team," Linton said. "I feel like we were a lot more confident going in and everybody was really excited. Last year, we felt like we were lucky to be in that spot and this year we felt like we deserved to be there."

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