November 23, 2012
FINAL FOUR BOUND
Penn State advances with 1-0 win over Duke
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A penalty kick in the 13th minute by Christine Nairn gave Penn State a 1-0 win over Duke, at windy Jeffrey Field Friday night.
| Christine Nairn scored the only goal on a penalty kick, advincing Penn State to the College Cup.
Photo courtesy of Penn State Sports Information
The win earned the Nittany Lions their fourth ever trip to the Women’s College Cup and first appearance since 2005.
Penn State (20-3-2) will face Florida State, 1-0 winners over Notre Dame in the semifinal next Friday in San Diego, Calif.
Duke came out on the attack from the beginning and outplayed Penn State for the first 13 minutes of the match. Junior Kaitlyn Kerr opened the game with Duke’s first three shots, including a great one-v-one chance in the eighth minute, but it was saved by Penn State goalkeeper Erin McNulty.
In the 13th minute, Nairn chased a loose ball that was bouncing near the top of the 18. Duke’s Natasha Anasi tripped up Nairn at the top of the box, forcing a penalty kick. Nairn converted on her third penalty kick of the season, blasting it by the Duke keeper on the left side to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
Blue Devil senior goalkeeper Tara Campbell then made a diving stop to her right off a Maya Hayes shot in the 18th minute to keep the score 1-0 in favor of Penn State.
Just five minutes later, senior defender Erin Koballa sent a right-footed cross into the box where senior midfielder Nicole Lipp one-timed a shot that hit the crossbar.
Laura Weinberg later in the half fired a shot on McNulty, but the keeper made her second save at that point to keep the Nittany Lions in front heading into the half.
The Blue Devils outshot the Nittany Lions 11-2 in the second half. Penn State’s closest opportunity in the second stanza came in the 54th minute when Raquel Rodriguez’s corner kick found senior Maddy Evans’ head. The Nittany Lions' captain put a good lick on it towards the upper right corner of the goal, but the ball was deflected out.
Duke’s best opportunity came in the 69th minute. From about 12 yards out, Weinberg ripped a shot that McNulty dove and made a great stop on. However, McNulty did not have complete possession of the ball and Kim DeCeasre took one more crack at it, but McNulty stopped DeCesare’s attempt as well.
Sophomore Kelly Cobb featured one of Duke’s best chances of the match in the 82nd minute as she forward drove inside the left side of the box and had a one-v-one with the PSU goalkeeper, but her shot went high over the crossbar.
McNulty was brilliant in goal, making five big saves. With the win, Penn State improved to 3-0-0 against ACC teams this season. In goal for Duke, Campbell finished the night with two saves
McNulty will be making her second ever trip to the College Cup, earning her first trip when she was a freshman keeper for the Florida State Seminoles. Head Coach Erica Walsh will be making her first trip to the National Semifinals as a head coach. Penn State also earned trips to the College Cup in 1999, 2002 and 2005.