On a wet and rainy night in Tallahassee, the No. 1 seeded Florida State women's soccer team created its own warmth, advancing to the Elite Eight of the 2014 NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament, defeating UCF 1-0.
The Knights provided a stiff challenge for the Seminoles, different from the first two opponents FSU had played in the tournament. The Knights' speed and pressure in attack gave Florida State problems in the first half, even hitting the crossbar on a chance from 25 yards out early in the match's 4th minute. Florida State created its own chances in the half as well outshooting the visitors from Orlando 9-6 in the period and nearly breaking the deadlock in the 43rd minute. Sophomore Berglind Thorvaldsdottir's shot from eight yards out struck the left post keeping the score at 0-0 into the half.
"When you get to this point in the season there aren't a whole lot of chances, so when you get one you have to finish", head coach Mark Krikorian said.
The second half sung a different tune as the Noles upped their pressure offensively and locked up the gaps defensively, taking control of the match. Florida State continued its possession-oriented attack patiently working in the UCF defensive third.
FSU would break through in the 60th minute as Michaela Hahn sent a pass down the right end-line off a free kick to Isabella Schmid. Schmid one-timed a low pass across the box, over the face of goal where Kristen Grubka met it with a slide, sending the ball across the goal line to give FSU the 1-0 lead.
"We work on the set pieces in practice knowing that they will be executed in the game and I thought the players executed the play perfectly", Krikorian said.
Florida State would hold the Knights at bay for the final 30 minutes advancing to the school's 10th straight Elite Eight and in every season under coach Mark Krikorian.
"We've been able to recruit extremely talented kids that are exceptional student-athletes", Krikorian said. "The administration has given me the resources to hire a fantastic staff, put that together with bright players and the formula has worked for us."
"That's why I came to Florida State, to play at the highest level", junior midfielder Michaela Hahn said. "I knew going there I would get better as a player due to all the great players coming in and out."
With the win Florida State will host #3 seed South Carolina, who defeated powerhouse program North Carolina 1-0 earlier on Sunday. The match will be played Friday, November 28th at 2 PM, taking place inside the Seminole Soccer Complex with the winner advancing to the Final Four.