DURHAM, N.C. - A first-half goal was the difference on Sunday, as the No. 5 and second-seeded Duke Blue Devils (14-3-2) fell to the No. 9 and seventh-seeded Florida State Seminoles (13-4-2) in a 1-0 decision in the 2018 ACC Tournament Quarterfinals at Koskinen Stadium.
The Seminoles, who dominated the match with 14 shots to Duke's five, tallied the game's lone goal in the 23rd minute. FSU sent the ball into the box and used a header to center the ball to Kristen McFarland, who headed it down and in to goal to give the visitor's a 1-0 advantage it would carry to the final whistle.
“We worked so hard to get into this situation, to be the No. 2 seeded team, and we just did not play as well as we’re capable of playing,” Duke head coach Robbie Church said. “Florida State is a really good team and we wish them luck moving forward. I know it’s a tough stretch coming back from Notre Dame, but this is a disappointing loss.”
Sunday's loss drops Duke to 0-4-1 all-time against the Seminoles in ACC Tournament play and snaps its six-game winning streak. It also marks just the second time this season the Blue Devils have been shut out and the first in a loss.
Duke managed the game's first attempt at the 2:10 mark, as Kayla McCoy headed a ball from Mackenzie Pluck on goal that was saved. One of the best chances of the match for the Blue Devils came in the 21st minute, as Karlie Paschall played the ball to the far post for Ella Stevens. The junior rolled it across the middle for a sprinting McCoy, but the ball was cleared out by the FSU defense to avoid any danger.
Florida State managed three more shots for the remainder of the first half, but could not grow its lead as it went into the intermission up by one. The Seminoles applied pressure right out of the gate in the second half, reeling off four attempts within the first six minutes. Duke would manage to get off a shot at the 58:06 mark, a Marykate McGuire attempt that would be blocked. Duke earned two more shots that both were on target, but could not equalize, falling to the Seminoles, 1-0.
“We have to be better in these types of games as we go forward,” Church said. “In 12 days the NCAA Tournament starts and a loss there ends the season and the careers of these four seniors as well. It’s disappointing not to be playing in the final four of the ACC Tournament, but right now we have to focus all of our attention on the NCAA Tournament.”
With the loss, Duke will now await its NCAA Tournament fate, with the first round of matches set to be played Nov. 9-11. The NCAA Women's Soccer Selection Show is set for Monday, Nov. 5 on NCAA.com at 4:30 p.m. ET.
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