(9) Florida State (13-4-2, 9-2-2 ACC) defeated (5) Duke (14-3-2, 8-2-1 ACC) by a 1-0 score today in Durham, NC to advance to the ACC Tournament semifinals.
Duke started the game well. In the second minute Mackenzie Pluck was able to drive into the box and get by FSU defender Gabby Carle. Malia Berkely was there to support in central defense and she was able to knock the ball over the touchline for a Duke corner kick. Ella Stevens took the corner for Duke and the ball went out to Pluck who served it into the box. Kayla McCoy got her head on it for the Blue Devils but Brooke Bollinger snatched it out of the air to make the save for FSU.
In the 20th minute Duke generated perhaps their best chance of the game. Kayla McCoy retrieved a ball off of a corner kick. She passed the ball out and the Blue Devils served a beautiful ball into the box. Stevens one-timed it from the far post and sent the ball across the face of the FSU goal. Fortunately for the Noles no one was there to take advantage and the ball rolled harmlessly away.
In the 23rd minute the Blue Devils suffered a defensive breakdown and Florida State took full advantage. Off of a throw in Deyna Castellanos served a great ball to the far post. Kristina Lynch does an excellent job to hustle up to get a head on the ball redirecting it into the box in front of the goal. Duke, for some reason, fails to mark FSU’s attackers in front of the goal. Both Yujie Zhao and Kristen McFarland were wide open to receive Lynch’s header. The ball happened to go to McFarland and she makes no mistake heading the ball down from four yards away and it bounced into the goal to give the Seminoles a 1-0 lead.
In the 25th minute Kaycie Tillman tested Duke keeper Brooke Heinsohn. Tillman made a run splitting the Blue Devil central defenders. She received a perfectly weighted ball from Castellanos and sent a strong left-footed shot toward goal. Heinsohn was up to the task however and she made a quality diving save to deny Tillman.
In the 34th minute play was stopped briefly due to a clash of heads. Jaelin Howell and Kayla McCoy were both going for a header on a 50-50 ball and they hit heads. Play was stopped as both players fell to the ground. Fortunately both players were able to return to the game.
In the 36th minute Duke generated another opportunity. Delaney Graham drove the ball down the right flank. She chipped a nice ball up into FSU’s box. McCoy went up for the header but she was marked well by Berkely and the ball went harmlessly out of bounds. Berkely stayed down for a bit after the play but she was able to remain in the game.
In the 38th minute Anna Patten dribbled the ball into Duke territory. She laid a pass off for Tillman but the ball was knocked away. Patten got it back and delivered a pass for Megan Connolly on the right flank. Connolly sent a shot on goal that was deflected sightly by a Blue Devil defender. Heinsohn made a nice save to deny Connolly.
In the second half the FSU pressure really seemed to bother Duke. The Noles were able to keep the Blue Devils from generating any dangerous build-up in midfield. Duke was also frustrated in their attempts to keep possession.
In the 69th minute Kristina Lynch drove the ball down the left flank. She put a move on Graham and sent a cross into the box but Heinsohn came off her line to snag the ball and snuff out the threat.
In the 78th minute Duke executed a poor backpass. Dallas Dorosy sprinted after the ball and right before she got to it the ball was knocked away from her in the box by Chelsea Burns. It was a risky play from Burns because the tackle came in the box but it was a great bit of defending by Burns.
In the 81st minute the Seminoles earned a corner as Zhao shot was deflected out of play. Connolly took the corner and sent a ball into the box for Jaelin Howell. Howell got her head on it but it was deflected out of play by Lily Nabet for Duke as it just missed hitting the post.
Howell’s chance was the last real opportunity for either team as the Seminoles were able to protect the one goal lead.
FSU led Duke in shots 14-5 and in shots on goal (5-3). Duke averages 14 shots a game. The Florida State defense did a great job holding Duke to only five shots.
This was only the second time all year that Duke has been shutout (at Georgetown, 0-0 tie).
The Noles dominated in the midfield. The Seminoles also used high pressure for the entire game. Duke did not handle FSU’s pressure well. The Blue Devils struggled to even get the ball over the midfield line much less generate dangerous chances.
Florida State has excellent defenders (Natalia Kuikka, Gabby Carle, Malia Berkely and Kirsten Pavlisko) so the Seminoles can afford to apply high pressure tactics because they don’t need to give the defenders as much help. Duke is a team that is used to having the majority of the possession and they aren’t accustomed to having to deal with so much high pressure in their own defensive third of the field.
This was a game in which neither team got as many quality chances as they are used to but the Noles were able to generate the best opportunities and thoroughly deserved the victory.
Virginia beat Louisville 2-1 in Charlottesville today therefore the Noles will head to Cary, NC for a rematch with the Cavaliers in the ACC Tournament semifinals. Florida State defeated Virginia 2-0 a week ago. The game is scheduled for Friday and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.