SPORTS  |  SOCCER

Blue Devils host No. 10 FSU in conference showdown

The ACC has proven yet again to be one of the nation's toughest conferences, and Duke has had several chances to take down ranked opponents. The team has come up short, however, in capitalizing on those opportunities to come away with wins.

The Blue Devils (7-3-5, 2-2-3 in the ACC) have another shot to prove they belong among the conference's best Sunday at noon against No. 10 Florida State at Koskinen Stadium.

"We haven't gotten the big win during the year," head coach Robbie Church said. "This is our chance to go out and get it."

The Seminoles (10-4-2, 5-2-1) feature one of the smoothest offenses in the country, and have scored 53 goals this season compared to Duke's 23. They are adept at moving the ball on the ground and effectively control possession. Although this would seem to be a strength for their opponents, the Blue Devils feel confident playing a team whose style of play greatly matches their own.

"Playing against a team like Florida State, who is a possession-oriented team, makes us do the same thing," forward Kelly Hathorn said. "When we play like that, I think that we are actually a better team."

Even though the two have similar attacking styles, Duke will counter Florida State's 4-4-2 formation with a 4-3-3, giving the Seminoles a numerical advantage in midfield. Defender Christy McDonald said the Blue Devils will have to work hard to find open players on the opposing team and close them down.

On the flip side, Duke will have an extra player up front, so the team will also look to play to its strengths and move the ball forward to the open attacker. Even though Duke has struggled recently scoring in late-game situations, the players are confident that their consistent pressure will translate into wins.

"We're obviously frustrated with the results of our game, but we're not down on ourselves," McDonald said. "We believe that we're a great team and we're ready to play FSU."

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