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FSU sends Blue Devils home

CARY, N.C. - Down 1-0, Duke senior Sarah McCabe fired an 11-yard shot at the Florida State goal just 34 seconds into the second half.

Although the ball hit the crossbar, McCabe's shot motivated Duke-until Selin Kuralay found the net for the Seminoles two minutes later to bring the score to 2-0.

Sixth-ranked Florida State (14-2-3) knocked Duke (9-8-2) out of the ACC Championships Wednesday night, handing the Blue Devils a 2-0 loss and keeping them out of the semifinal round for the first time since 2001.

"The first time we played them... we got a couple of goals-they're energy goals," head coach Robbie Church said. "We needed something to energize us, we needed something to give us the belief. Unfortunately it turns around and goes right back down the field. It's tough when it's a quality opponent like Florida State."

Duke had upset the then-No. 5 Seminoles with a 3-1 win Oct. 22 in Koskinen Stadium but could not deliver a similar outcome at the SAS Soccer Complex against a tough Florida State team.

"We knew that if we battled hard and gave it our all that we could come back like we did before," senior Darby Kroyer said. "It was unfortunate that we got scored on in the first five minutes, but we still battled the rest of the [second] half."

Thirty-two minutes into the first half, Mami Yamaguchi sent a soaring corner kick to Onnie Trusty on the left side of the box, who hit a header past Duke goalkeeper Allison Lipsher into the top right corner of the net.

Trusty's goal put the Blue Devils into the same position they had been in Oct. 22-down 1-0 at the half. But this time, Duke did not come back and score.

"Anytime you play a team like Florida State that a lot of times you can panic," freshman Elisabeth Redmond said. "We rushed some of our decisions, and we did our best to create opportunities, we just needed to finish them."

The Blue Devils outshot the Seminoles 16-11 and took 14 corner kicks to Florida State's four but struggled with finishing. The Seminoles, on the other hand, were able to connect despite heavy defensive pressure from Duke.

"At the start of the second half Duke pressed us," Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. "You take the lead when you can get it and try to hold on to it and add to it when ever you can."

With the NCAA tournament around the corner, Duke will continue to focus on finishing and defending set plays in practice in preparation for what it hopes will be an upcoming NCAA tournament berth.

The Blue Devils will now hope to receive an at-large bid to the competition. Church said that he is confident that his team has earned one of the 64 spots in the tournament, which will be announced at 5 p.m. Nov. 6.

"I think we deserve to be in the NCAA tournament, and I think that one of the things the selection committee will look at is teams that go out and challenge themselves and get better with their out-of-conference schedules," Church said. "I think you have to look at quality wins. Not only have we challenged ourselves but we have gotten results."


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