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Penn State, Duke seek first Women’s College Cup national titles

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By Rick Houston,

NCAA Women’s College Cup Final: Sunday, December 6 – 12 p.m. ET on ESPNU

CARY, N.C. (Via – Penn State over Duke, Duke over Penn State.

It’s anybody’s guess at this point which team might possibly come out on top of this year’s Women’s College Cup. Penn State made it to Sunday’s finals with a 2-0 victory over Rutgers, while Duke got past defending national champion Florida State by the same score.

Duke and Penn State met earlier this year, and played to a 0-0, double-overtime tie Aug. 28 in University Park. Such meetings usually provide some sort of indication of how things might go in the finals. Who won? That might help, but there’s no such luck here.

August 28, neither team won or lost. That won’t happen Sunday. The NSCAA Coaches Poll has Penn State sixth and Duke twentieth, but the fact is, they’re the last two teams standing. Neither team has ever won a national championship in women’s soccer.

“I thought we really struggled in the first half against them, dealing with a little bit of nerves,” said Robbie Church, Duke’s head coach. “It was our first really big game. I think at that point they were a top-five team in the country. We’re starting to get very familiar with each other.

“They’re a great attacking team. They’ve got some outstanding midfields. I think that’s going to be important to be able to neutralize that group. They’re very, very, very well coached. They’ve had some formation changes. We expect a great game, so we’ve got to push this (win over Florida State) aside and we’ve got to start looking forward now to playing that game.”

After her post game press conference, Duke head coach Erica Walsh sat just outside the press box intently watching the Duke-Florida State matchup. It would be her last live look at the team – whichever one it might have been at that point – the Nittany Lions would be going up against for the national championship.

“Obviously, we’re going to be studying those little details,” she said. “At this point in the year, with two teams left, it’s all about the little things. It’s all about the details. We’ll be looking for those finer points against a very, very good team.”

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