(1) Florida State (16-4-2) defeated Loyola (IL) (11-7-1) by a 1-0 score tonight in Tallahassee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State and Loyola play a similar style. Both teams try to employ a possession style of soccer. The key to the game would be which team would be able to impose their will on the other by dominating midfield and maintaining possession.
Due to the injury sustained by keeper Brooke Bollinger in the ACC Championship game she was replaced in the starting lineup by Caroline Jeffers. Bollinger dressed and is listed as day to day but she would not play in the game.
In the 15th minute Deyna Castellanos nearly got FSU on the board. Jaelin Howell passed the ball to Yujie Zhao in the attacking third. Zhao laid it off for Castellanos who ripped a cracker from about 28 feet out. Loyola keeper Kate Moran was there to block it. Kristen McFarland was there to follow up but the ball went straight in the air and Moran was able to catch it.
In the 17th minute Anna Patten came in to replace Gabby Carle. Patten wasted no time putting her imprint on the game. Castellanos sent the ball for Patten in the attacking third. Patten dribbled the ball into the box and fed McFarland who had her back to the goal. McFarland laid it off for Zhao who touched it back to Patten. Patten launched a shot that went just over the goal.
In the 22nd minute Patten drove the ball into the box from the right flank. She found Kaycie Tillman who passed it back to Patten. Patten then fed Castellanos who took a shot from almost on the penalty spot. Unfortunately her shot went right into the midsection of defender Abby Swanson.
In the 23rd minute Tillman collected the ball right outside of the box. She turned and took a shot from about 20 yards out that went high.
in the 25th minute Kirsten Pavlisko retrieved a goal kick from Jeffers. She drove the ball up field and found Kristina Lynch. Lynch drove the ball into the box beating a defender. Right before she could get off her shot she had the ball knocked away by Gopika Patel.
In the 27th minute Castellanos probed the Rambler defense and eventually laid it back to Lynch. Lynch switched the field sending the ball over to Gloriana Villalobos. Villalobos passed to Patten on the right flank who fed Tillman just outside the box. Tillman drove into the box and laid it back for an open Villalobos who one-timed a shot that went just wide right.
In the 30th minute FSU earned a corner. Malia Berkely took it for the Noles. Berkely went short to Castellanos who fired a shot from just outside the box. The ball made it through a thicket of bodies but was deflected wide. On the ensuing corner Castellanos sent an extremely dangerous ball into the box that would have probably gone in but Kate Moran was there to block it. Dallas Dorosy was there to try to get a foot on the rebound but the Rambler defense was able to clear.
In the 32nd minute Deyna tried again. Castellanos collected a pass from Patten and turned for the goal. She raced up the field unmolested and launched a shot from about 20 yards out that went high.
In the 33rd minute Pavlisko drove the ball up field. She eventually laid it off for Megan Connolly who took it down the right flank. Connolly executed a beautiful cross from just outside the box. It went through Villalobos’ legs and fell perfectly for Olivia Bergau who one-timed a shot toward goal. It was blocked by Madison Laudeman.
In the 36th minute the Seminoles earned another corner. Berkely took it and served a gorgeous ball into the box. Natalia Kuikka was there for the header. Her header went straight for the upper 90 but defender Taylor Lambouris was there to head the ball away and preserve the clean sheet.
In the 44th minute Natalia Kuikka got the ball to Villalobos who turned and drove up field. She found a streaking Castellanos who made a beautiful run splitting two defenders. Castellanos got the ball and flicked a shot toward goal that was deflected by Moran.
In the 52nd minute Florida State finally broke the scoring seal. Zhao drove the ball upfield and found Castellanos. Deyna sent the ball for Villalobos on the right flank. Villalobos drew a defender to her and passed back to Patten who one-timed a shot from about 17 yards away. Patten’s shot went through the legs of defender Madison Laudeman and into the goal. It was Patten’s fourth of the season and it gave FSU a 1-0 lead.
In the 54th minute Zhao collected the ball at midfield. She drove up the field and slipped a beautiful ball to Castellanos inside the box. Castellanos went shoulder to shoulder with Jenna Ross but eventually got to the ball. She tried to put a move on Ross to get free but Ross tripped her in the box taking her down. Castellanos hopped up incredulous that a penalty wasn’t given but the referee said no. There is no doubt that there was a foul and if it had been anywhere else on the field the whistle would have definitely been blown. Sometimes refs don’t want to give penalty kicks unless they feel like a clear scoring opportunity was denied even if it is a clear foul.
In the 55th minute FSU suffered some tough luck. Pavlisko was going for a 50-50 ball with Madison Kimball. It appeared that Pavlisko caught her foot in the turf and wrenched her right knee. She walked off the field gingerly and would not return.
In the 59th minute Loyola played the ball up the field. Sienna Cruz headed it on from just outside the box. Jeffers raced off her line to get the ball. She collided with Ari Banks and Jenna Szczesny who was also trying to get the ball fell on Jeffers. The ball squirted out but Kuikka was there to save the day and clear the ball.
In the 62nd minute Villalobos collected the ball in midfield and drove it to just outside the box. She slipped a perfectly weighted ball to Castellanos who was making a run into the box. Moran came off her line to cut off Deyna’s angle. Castellanos tried to execute a toe poke to get the ball past her but Moran made a great save to deny her.
To their credit, the Ramblers wouldn’t quit. In the 84th minute Loyola earned free kick. Lambouris served a beautiful ball into the box. Szczesny did a great job to get free of the FSU defense and she directed a dangerous header to the goal but Jeffers was there for the save.
In the 85th minute off of a throw in Szczesny flicked a header that pinged around in FSU’s box. The ball eventually came out of the box and Lambouris took a shot from about 20 yards out but it was high.
In the 89th minute Natalia Kuikka collected the ball and drove the length of the field from her position on defense. She launched a dangerous shot from the edge of the box that Moran was just able to deflect for a corner.
From there the Seminoles were able to run out the clock and take the 1-0 victory.
FSU led in shots (26-2) and shots on goal (10-1).
FSU’s goal was a bit lucky as it went through a defender’s legs. However, the goal was well deserved as the Noles were dominating the game and applying a ton of pressure on the Rambler defense. When you give yourself a lot of chances (26 shots) you have more chances to get lucky.
The score was only 1-0 but make no mistake, FSU dominated this game. The Noles had almost all of the possession and they peppered Rambler keeper Kate Moran with shots.
In contrast, Caroline Jeffers didn’t have much to do but when called upon she did well. The Noles have a week before their second round matchup so Bollinger could be back for the next game. However, if she isn’t Jeffers proved tonight that she is more than capable of getting the job done in goal.
Florida State will welcome the winner of the South Florida - Albany matchup to the Seminole Soccer Complex for the second round of the NCAA tournament. That game is scheduled for Friday, November 16th. The USF - Albany game will be played tomorrow at 7pm in Tampa.