(3) Florida State 6-0-1 defeats Florida 2-4-1 by a 1-0 score in Tallahassee on Friday night.
Florida State welcomed downstate rival Florida to Tallahassee for the first time since 2014 as previous matchups were cancelled due to hurricanes. This rivalry is always big and tonight was no exception as an announced crowd of 3,379 attended the game.
FSU got off to a fast start earning a corner kick in the second minute. Deyna Castellanos served a ball into the box but Jaelin Howell’s header went wide. After a Florida State foul in the 10th minute UF sent a free kick to the near post but FSU keeper Brooke Bollinger had no trouble with it.
In the 13th minute Malia Berkely took a corner for the Noles. Castellanos ended up with a shot that went wide. In the 15th minute Castellanos tested UF keeper Kaylan Marckese but Marckese made the save.
In the 19th minute Berkely took another corner but FSU was called for a foul in the box.
In the 27th minute Florida’s Briana Solis took the only corner for the Gators. FSU’s Kaycie Tillman was able to clear the ball from the box. In the 29th minute Castellanos took a shot from distance but Marckese made an easy save. In the 33rd minute Gabby Carle fought her way into the box but the UF defense was able to block her shot.
In the 36th minute the Seminoles had their best chance of the night to that point when Anna Patten streaked down the right flank and found Carle for a header just outside the six yard box. Carle headed it down like she was supposed to and the ball took a wicked bounce but Marckese managed to make an outstanding save to keep the game scoreless. Marckese was able to snag the ensuing corner from Berkely.
UF was called for a foul in the 40th minute but Berkely’s cross was headed wide by Patten.
The game was delayed by 47 minutes in the 52nd minute due to a lightning delay. Right after the restart Kaycie Tillman sent a beautiful ball to Castellanos who was just inside the 18 yard box. Castellanos settled it and sent a half volley toward goal. Unfortunately the ball hit UF’s Julia Lester right in the face. It went over the line for an FSU corner. The corner kick pinged around in the box a bit but the Gators were eventually able to clear.
In the 54th minute Carle got free just outside the 18 yard box for a shot but Marckese made another nice save. In the 55th minute Kristen McFarland’s shot was blocked by Florida’s defense.
In the 57th minute Gloriana Villalobos had a shot go wide. In the 58th minute Castellanos forced Marckese into two more saves.
In the 60th minute Malia Berkely took the ball at midfield, wove through the Gator defense and launched a rocket from about 21 feet that had the keeper beat but hit the crossbar.
In the 64th minute Lais Araujo streaked down the middle of the field beating the FSU defense with her pace and fielded a beautiful ball from Mayra Pelayo. Araujo then laced a shot on goal that FSU keeper Brooke Bollinger was able to deflect away. Seconds later Araujo was assessed a yellow card for a spikes up challenge on Villalobos.
In the 67th minute Sarah Troccoli forced Bollinger into another save to keep the game scoreless.
In the 68th minute Araujo fouled Villalobos again and was assessed a second yellow and was therefore sent off by the referee. The foul itself wasn’t that bad so the yellow had to be for either persistent infringement or perhaps dissent as she did speak to the referee after the foul was called. Whatever the reason Florida was forced to play the rest of the game with only 10 players.
In the 69th minute FSU earned another corner and Berkely sent a cross into the box. Anna Patten got her head onto it but the shot went wide.
In the 85th minute the Noles took another corner. Castellanos’ cross was headed wide by Jaelin Howell.
In the 88th minute Castellanos took a shot from distance. Marckese was there for the save but she blocked the ball back into play. Kristen McFarland was following the ball and she managed to knock the rebound past Marckese for the game winning goal.
The Seminoles outshot the Gators 23-3. FSU had nine shots on goal while Florida had three. Marckese had eight saves for UF while Bollinger had three for FSU. The Noles had eight corner kicks while Florida only had one.
Florida’s gameplan was clear for this game. The Gators played a bunker defense. They didn’t even challenge the Noles in the midfield for most of the game preferring to keep nine or ten players behind the ball at all times. This strategy did frustrate the Seminoles at times but FSU kept the pressure on and were finally rewarded with a goal. It is very difficult to resist the type of pressure that FSU is able to bring with all of their strikers. Eventually even the toughest defenses will crack and the Gators finally did in the 88th minute.
However, this was probably the best strategy for UF to pursue because FSU simply has significantly more talent. If the Gators had seriously tried to contest the Noles in the midfield they would have likely opened themselves up in the back which could have led to more goals.
Florida State will face South Alabama on Sunday at 6pm in Tallahassee. The Jaguars are FSU’s last non-conference opponent. On Friday September 14th Florida State opens the ACC schedule when #2 North Carolina visits the Seminole Soccer Complex at 7pm.