(4) Florida State 5-0-1 defeats (2) UCLA 2-1-1 by a 4-1 score Sunday evening in Tallahassee.
Due to dangerous weather the game started about an hour after the scheduled 5pm start. The players were on the field ready to kick off but the officials pulled them off for safety reasons.
FSU got off to a strong start. In the 10th minute Yujie Zhao forced Bruin keeper Teagan Micah into a save. Deyna Castellanos followed up with another shot on goal in the 11th minute forcing Micah into another save that resulted in an FSU corner kick. Castellanos took the kick short passing to Yujie. Yujie made an excellent turn and lofted a great ball into the six yard box. Anna Patten was able to get her head on it to send it into the goal for her first goal of the season to give FSU a 1-0 lead. This is the first time all year that the Bruins have trailed in a game.
UCLA came back quickly with a shot from Jacey Pederson in the 14th minute that was blocked. In the 30th minute Ashley Sanchez made a nice move to get free and launched a shot at goal but Brooke Bollinger had no trouble with it.
In the 31st minute Yujie put a shot on goal from distance but Micah was there for the save. In the 32nd minute Dallas Dorosy beat the UCLA defense on a counter attack and sent a shot to the lower left hand corner of the goal but Micah made a nice save to keep the ball out of the net.
In the 33rd minute UCLA earned a corner. Julia Hernandez was able to get a head on it but the ball sailed way high over the goal.
In the 35th minute FSU earned a corner that was taken by Malia Berkely. The ball pinged around in the box but Olivia Bergau was able to get a shot that was waved off due to a foul called on the Noles.
In the 36th minute freshman Kirsten Pavlisko came up from her position on defense and made one of the best runs you will ever see. She beat four Bruin defenders plus the goal keeper to put the ball in the back of the net to give Florida State a 2-0 lead.
However, UCLA didn’t quit. In the 38th minute Maricarmen Reyes answered for the Bruins with a beautiful half-volley strike of her own that sailed over Bollinger’s head into the goal.
Florida State wasted no time extending the lead in the second half. In the 50th minute Kristen McFarland scored her first goal of the season with an assist from Yujie Zhao and Malia Berkely to put the Seminoles up 3-1. McFarland received the pass from Yujie with her back to the goal but she made an impressive turn and rifled a shot over Micah into the back of the net.
In the 55th minute Deyna Castellanos tested Micah from distance but the shot went just wide. Micah looked like she had it covered anyway.
In the 61st minute UCLA earned back to back corners but the threat was ended when the Bruins were called for being offside.
In the 67th minute Castellanos tested Micah again from distance but the UCLA keeper was up to the task and caught the strike.
In the 81st minute UCLA earned another corner kick. Viviana Villacorta had the ball bounce to her and she sent a left footed shot on goal but Bollinger made an excellent save to keep the ball out of the net.
In the 82nd minute the Bruins earned another corner this time ending in a shot from Kaiya McCullough. However Bollinger was up to the task again as she deflected it over the touch line. On the ensuing corner kick UCLA was called offside.
In the 88th minute Ashley Sanchez got off a shot from distance for UCLA that was saved easily by Bollinger.
In the 89th minute Yujie Zhao struck again. She received a ball in the middle of the field from Macayla Edwards and unleashed strike from about 25 yards that beat Micah to give FSU the final 4-1 margin of victory.
Florida State had 11 shots (10 on goal) and Bollinger made four saves for the Noles. UCLA had seven shots (five on goal) and Micah made six saves for the Bruins.
FSU runs their home field record to a gaudy 77-3-4 since 2011.
The Seminoles had a lot of players step up in this game but Yujie Zhao was really impressive. The freshman from China had a goal and two assists but it wasn’t just about the numbers for her. She seemed always to be in dangerous areas of the field making things happen. This was a breakout game for her.
It must be noted that there were players missing from this game. UCLA was missing perhaps their two best players in Jessie Fleming (called up by the Canadian national team) and Hailie Mace (called up by the US national team). Florida State was missing Natalia Kuikka (called up by the Finnish national team). Both teams were also playing on short rest as they both played 110 minutes on Friday night.
However, none of that should detract from the impressive effort the Noles displayed this weekend. Against USC they dominated possession and had the better chances but just couldn’t put them away. Against UCLA the Seminoles didn’t dominate possession (it was about even) but they had the better chances and were much better at finishing them than they were against the Trojans.
The bottom line is that two of the very best teams in college soccer met tonight in Tallahassee. Nothing that happened tonight changes that fact. These two teams could very well meet again in the College Cup.
Florida State will welcome the (22) Florida Gators to Tallahassee on Friday, September 7th at 7pm (ACC Network Extra). The Gators lost 3-0 to USC tonight in Gainesville.