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Second ranked FSU soccer comes up short against #6 North Carolina

The Seminoles drop only their fourth home game since 2011.

Soccer: International Friendly Soccer-Mexico at USA Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

(6) North Carolina 6-2-1 (1-0 ACC) defeated (2) Florida State 7-1-1 (0-1 ACC) by a 1-0 score tonight in Tallahassee.

Game Recap

FSU got off to a quick start in the game. In the sixth minute the Seminoles earned a corner kick. Deyna Castellanos sent a great ball into the box. Anna Patten got her head on it but she couldn’t get the ball down so it sailed over the goal.

In the 19th minute the Tar Heels generated a great chance. Off of a free kick and a very nice header striker Alessia Russo got past the Nole defense. She was able to draw FSU keeper Brooke Bollinger off her line and pass the ball across the goal mouth to her teammate Bridgette Andrzejewski. Unfortunately for UNC Andrzejewski was unable to get a good touch on the ball and her effort went harmlessly wide.

In the 25th minute Kirsten Pavlisko fouled UNC’s Rachael Dorwart and the Heels were awarded a free kick from outside and left of FSU’s 18 yard box. Carolina took the kick short and Brianna Pinto fired a shot from distance that was way high over the goal.

In the 29th minute Rachel Jones got behind the Seminole back line. Russo slotted a great pass to her and Jones was able to beat Bollinger with a shot that clanked off the far post and into the goal. Florida State wanted an offside call on the play but the assistant referee’s flag stayed down. Jones was clearly past Nole defender Anna Patten when she received the ball but from the angle we had it was impossible to be sure if one of the Seminole central defenders was keeping Jones onside.

Whether or not Jones was offside the call wasn’t made and the Noles found themselves trailing in a game for the first time this season.

In the 30th minute FSU earned a corner kick after a Pavlisko run up the field. Malia Berkely took the corner and sent a cross into the box. Jaelin Howell got her head on the ball but it went harmlessly wide of the goal.

In the 49th minute Dorian Bailey released Andrzejewski with a pass into FSU’s box. Bollinger came up to play the ball but she spilled it. Fortunately for the Noles Natalia Kuikka was there to clear the ball safely away.

In the 68th minute the Tar Heels generated another great chance when Sydney Spruill intercepted an FSU free kick. Spruill passed the ball over to Russo who raced into the box. She was bumped off the ball by a tough shoulder challenge from Kuikka and Berkely was able to knock the ball away with a sliding tackle.

In the 73rd minute Alex Kimball took the ball down the field on a counter attack for North Carolina. She sent the ball over to Julia Ashley who served a beautiful ball into the box for Russo. Russo tried to one time it into the goal but she rushed her shot and it went into the side netting.

From there FSU mostly controlled possession but the Noles could not generate any quality chances and Carolina got out of Tallahassee with a hard earned win.

Post Game

North Carolina outshot FSU 12-8. The Heels also had three shots on goal while limiting Florida State to zero shots on goal.

Neither team had the lion share of the possession but FSU did have more of it, especially in the second half. However, that doesn’t mean much if that possession isn’t generating quality opportunities and the Tar Heel defense made sure that the Noles didn’t get much on the offensive end.

These are two of the elite teams - and programs - in this sport. These teams are evenly matched. The Seminoles didn’t play especially poorly in this game. However, the Noles did not have their best game either. The passes generally weren’t crisp enough and there were too many heavy touches and miscommunications in the offensive third.

To be sure the Heels deserve some credit. UNC was very organized defensively and they are one of the few teams with enough talent to be able to stand up to FSU in one on one situations. While the Seminoles did have a good bit of possession they weren’t able to get the ball to their playmakers in advantageous positions. The Seminoles also didn’t get enough set pieces tonight and that was a factor in the disappointing offensive numbers.

When you play against an elite team there simply won’t be many opportunities to score. UNC did a better job with the few chances they had compared to FSU and that is why they earned the win tonight.

Next Game

On Thursday, Sept 20th Florida State will welcome Virginia Tech to the Seminole Soccer Complex. The game will kick off at 7pm and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.