Field Hockey's Hopes For First-Ever National Title Come To An End
Nov. 19, 2004
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.- Michigan State field hockey (18-4) closed out its season, as Duke (18-4) returns to the NCAA Championship game for the second straight year, having defeated the Spartans, 5-2, at Wake Forest's Kenter Stadium on Friday, Nov. 19.
"We are disappointed," said MSU head coach Michele Madison. "That being said, I think that Duke played a very good first half. They were really able to play the ball through open spaces to generate scoring opportunities. Our goalie has been phenomenal all year, but she wasn't able to get to every ball today."
"I am just really proud of my team," senior back Michelle Carstens said. "We played through everything. All 70 minutes, we played out hearts out. We made it this far, all the way to the Final Four, and that is just an amazing thing for the program. I am so proud of my team and my coaches."
Duke took offensive control early. Less than five minutes into the contest, Blue Devil offensive standout Nicole Dudek notched the first goal of the game, assisted by sophomore forward Cara-Lynn Lopresti. Less than a minute after establishing the lead, Duke continued to apply pressure on the Spartans and earned a penalty corner situation.
Determined to regain control, MSU worked to push the Blue Devils out of scoring proximity, but Duke managed to maintain an edge. Still, the Spartans persisted.
As senior forward Veerle Goudswaard broke toward Duke goalkeeper Christy Morgan's net, MSU earned its first penalty corner opportunity. Just under 20 minutes into the first half, Goudswaard sailed a shot over Morgan's head to net the Spartans' first goal and to tie the game, 1-1. The goal marks Goudswaard's 32nd of the season. Juniors Breanna Harpstead and Jessica Miller posted the assists.
Minutes later, Duke retaliated, as junior forward Katie Grant snuck the ball past Kirkaldy on a penalty corner, lifting the Blue Devils to a 2-1 lead. Dudek drew the assist on Grant's goal.
Duke continued to control, offensively, but Michigan State's game began to take shape as time in the first half dwindled. The Spartans began to work more efficiently as a team and appeared calmer than in the initial minutes of play.
Freshman midfielder Amy Schneider, low to the ground, worked through the Blue Devil defense to help MSU advance toward Morgan's net. The Spartans began to build upon growing momentum, but just as Kathryn Elenz-Martin neared the scoring arc, time in the first half evaporated, allowing Duke a 2-1 lead, having outshot MSU, 10-2, entering the second half.
Both teams came out strong in the second, with an added aggression on both sides. Duke's physicality led to a penalty corner opportunity for Michigan State, just its second of the game. Again, MSU was able to capitalize, as Goudswaard sunk her second goal of the game and Miller notched her second assist. Miller's assist marked her 14th of the season.
With 27:26 remaining to play, Duke regained its lead, as a ball shot by sophomore midfielder Hilary Linton rolled into the far left side of Kirkaldy's net, good for the Blue Devils' third goal of the game. Senior back Gracie Sorbello posted the assist.
Still battling to grab a lead, State's game intensified. It looked as though MSU might even the board, as sophomore forward Ashley Pernicano took a shot, but the ball cleared the top of the net.
With 20:28 remaining, Duke pulled ahead for a cushioned 4-2 lead, as Sorbello netted an unassisted goal. Madison quickly called a Michigan State timeout.
"Duke's fourth goal really took some air out of us," Madison said. "I thought that the team still really tried to dig deep and find a way to attack. We made a couple of adjustments to create more attack. We thought that if we could get one more and make it 4-3, we could get back into the game."
State returned to the field to the sound of "Let's go State!" from hopeful Spartan fans. However, Duke managed to sink yet another goal at the 53:04 mark, as sophomore midfielder Amy Stopford netted the Blue Devil's fifth goal of the game.
Duke will advance to the NCAA Championship game, to take on the winner of a Wake Forest-Maryland contest, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19.