(4) Florida State 4-0-1 fights to a scoreless draw with (7) USC 3-0-1 tonight in Tallahassee.
The Noles dominated possession for the first 25-30 minutes of the game as the Trojans struggled to get the ball through the midfield. Deyna Castellanos got her first start of the season for FSU and she wasted no time getting a shot off in the second minute that was high over the goal. In the thirteenth minute the Noles earned a corner and Castellanos sent the ball into the box and Kristina Lynch got a head on it but the ball went over the goal. In the 22nd minute Castellanos fired a shot from distance but USC keeper Kaylie Collins had no issue with it.
USC finally found their footing in the 34th minute. Striker Penelope Hocking forced FSU keeper Brooke Bollinger into her first save of the night. The Trojans followed that up with another shot by Leah Pruitt that went wide. USC earned a corner kick in the 44th minute but was called for a foul. The half ended after a Gloriana Villalobos shot went wide.
In the second half the Trojans started fast when a Hocking shot was blocked. On the ensuing corner kick USC was called for a foul. FSU earned a corner in the 48th minute but a header by Jaelin Howell went wide. In the 58th minute Gabby Carle forced USC keeper Collins into a nice save to preserve the clean sheet. In the 64th minute Collins saved another shot this time from Villalobos.
FSU threatened again in the 74th minute when a shot from Carle was blocked. Howell’s followup attempt sailed high. In the 77th minute USC’s Hocking sent a shot wide.
In the 83rd minute Castellanos sent a free kick to the upper right hand corner of the goal but Collins made a sterling finger-tip save to keep the ball out of the goal. Gabby Carle took the ensuing corner kick and Kaycie Tillman was able to get a shot but it went high. FSU was able to earn another corner in the 89th minute but couldn’t capitalize so regulation ended in a scoreless tie.
In the 91st minute FSU’s Yujie Zhao had a shot blocked. USC earned a corner in the 95th minute but couldn’t convert. A Gloriana Villalobos shot in the 97th minute was blocked. After a USC shot from Natalie Jacobs was blocked in the 99th minute the first overtime ended.
Hocking started the second overtime for USC with a shot that was blocked. Castellanos forced Collins into another save in the 101st minute. In the 107th minute a Castellanos shot went over the goal. In the 108th minute FSU’s Malia Berkely uncorked a rocket from distance that banged off the crossbar. It landed at Tillman’s feet but she couldn’t control it and her followup went wide. FSU had one last gasp in the 109th minute but a Kristen McFarland shot went wide.
FSU outshot USC 18-6 with six shots on goal to USC’s one. There was liberal substituting on both sides. For the Noles only the defenders (Gabby Carle, Anna Patten, Malia Berkely, Kirsten Pavlisko) and the goalkeeper (Brooke Bollinger) played all 110 minutes.
The Seminoles had to settle for a tie but they dominated possession in this game and had most of the chances. USC was a bit threatening at times on the counter attack but the Noles didn’t let the Trojans sustain possession.
There were a couple of nervy moments in the back but FSU held up well defensively despite missing senior Natalia Kuikka who was called up by Finland for national team duty. There was one instance of miscommunication between Bollinger and her defenders on a back pass but in general Bollinger played well and made the right decisions. Bollinger has the frame (5’11) and the athleticism to be FSU’s next great keeper. The sky is the limit for her once she gets a little more experience.
FSU had its way in the midfield for most of this game. They did have issues finishing at times in the final third but they were flat out unlucky on a couple of occasions.
Overall, the Seminoles looked like the better team but they just couldn’t close the deal. However, they will get another chance when (2) UCLA visits on Sunday at 5pm (ACC Network Extra). The Bruins finished in a scoreless tie against Florida in Gainesville tonight.