- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

CARY, N.C. (AP) - Toni Payne had a goal and an assist and Duke beat defending champion Florida State 2-0 on Friday night to reach the championship game of the NCAA Women’s College Cup.

The Blue Devils will play Penn State on Sunday. Penn State beat Rutgers 2-0 in the first semifinal.

Duke (14-5-5) is one win away from the first national title in program history after failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

“Wow,” Duke coach Robbie Church said. “We’re obviously very, very excited to be playing on Sunday. As you start this journey, your dreams are that you end on the last day. I really could not be prouder of this team.”

Kayla McCoy broke through in the 32nd minute in a first half otherwise dominated by the Seminoles (18-3-4). She took a feed from Payne just to the right of the goal and blasted the ball past goalkeeper Cassie Miller into the lower left corner of the net.

Payne added a goal on a breakaway with a second left in the game.

But it was her run down the right flank and pass to McCoy after drawing four defenders that changed the match.

“We have a little bit of connection where she sees me running and plays me through,” McCoy said. “I was very fortunate to have finished it this time.”

Florida State was denied its third consecutive appearance in the national title game.

The Seminoles also had their record streak of 10 consecutive NCAA Tournament shutouts come to an end at the hands of an Atlantic Coast Conference rival.

Florida State finished with a 16-8 advantage in shots, but Duke’s EJ Proctor made four saves in her 11th shutout of the season.

The Seminoles had three exceptional chances to score in the first half, including once when Duke’s Ashton Miller stopped a shot at point-blank range after the ball eluded Proctor.

“The way the game was going, I don’t know if we would have played another hour whether we would have scored or not,” Florida State coach Mark Krikorian said.



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