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No. 5 FSU soccer advances to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament with a win over No. 22 Clemson

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Curve it like Castellanos.

No. 5 Florida State (15-4, 9-2 ACC, 4th RPI) defeated No. 22 Clemson (11-6-1, 5-6 ACC, 29th RPI) by a 2-1 score in Tallahassee to advance to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.

Game Recap

Florida State dominated possession in the early going but it was Clemson who enjoyed the first good chance. In the first minute Gabby Carle was called for a foul on Tiger midfielder Caroline Conti. Renee Guion stepped up to take the free kick. Guion sent a dangerous left footed ball into the box and 5’10 Mackenzie Smith got up and flicked a nasty header to the goal. Nole keeper Caroline Jeffers was forced into a tough diving save to her right but she was up to the task of denying Smith.

In the 15th minute FSU earned a free kick after Yujie Zhao was taken down. Deyna Castellanos took the free kick for the Seminoles. She served a curling ball into the box and Jaelin Howell got a foot on it but her one-timer sailed over the goal.

In the 18th minute Florida State earned a corner kick. Castellanos stepped up and produced a bit of Venezuelan magic. The Seminole star ripped a curling shot that went over Clemson keeper Sandy MacIver’s out-stretched arm and ended up in the back of the net. The goal was the 11th of the year for Castellanos and her 47th for her career putting her second all-time in goals and points for FSU.

In the 60th minute Clemson earned a corner. Guion stepped up to take it for the Tigers. Guion attempted to curve the ball toward goal and she ended up sending a dangerous ball to the near post but Jeffers came up with a clutch save to knock the ball away. Smith was there for the rebound but her right-footed volley went wide.

In the 63rd minute FSU earned another corner. This time Castellanos played it short to Gabby Carle. Carle passed it back to Deyna who sent a nice ball into the box. Howell was there for the header but her shot went wide of the near post.

In the 64th minute Clemson found the equalizer. The Tigers sent a searching ball into FSU’s box. Smith did a great job to flick it forward with her head into the path of Lauren Bruns. After taking a touch, Bruns lifted a right-footed shot over Jeffers into the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1.

In the 78th minute the Noles took the lead. Castellanos served a gorgeous ball into the box over the Tiger defense. Howell slipped in behind to get a head on it and pounded it down inside the near post for the goal. The goal was Howell’s fourth of the season. FSU had grabbed a 2-1 lead.

In the 84th minute Carle found Makala Thomas making a run down the right flank. Thomas used her speed to beat a couple of defenders and drove into the box. Thomas crossed the ball for Abbey Newton in the box. Jackson Moehler came up and tackled the ball away for Clemson. It was a risky move as the tackle sent Newton down in the box but it did appear that it was a tough but fair tackle. In any case, the referee did not point to the spot and no foul was called.

From there the Seminoles held on to preserve the 2-1 win and earned a berth into the ACC semifinals.

Highlights

Post Game

Florida State dominated possession as usual capturing 69% of the possession to 31% for Clemson. FSU also won the shots battle (9-4) and had more shots on goal (5-2).

Deyna Castellanos is on a serious tear. She has scored two stupendous goals in the last two games and her assist on Jaelin Howell’s goal was a perfect ball. If she keeps up this level of play FSU’s tournament chances (as well as Castellanos’ draft stock) will skyrocket.

Clemson had three corner kicks today and for the most part the Noles did a good job defending them. As we know, corners (and set-pieces in general) have been an issue for FSU this season. If the Seminoles can continue to play better in this area they will be much better positioned for a long postseason run.

Florida State is currently ranked fourth in the RPI. If the Noles can get to the ACC Tournament final (especially if they beat Virginia on the way) they will be well positioned for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and the home games that come with that lofty ranking.

Next Game

Florida State will head to Cary, NC for the semifinals of the ACC Tournament which will be played on Friday. The opponent will be either Virginia or Duke and the game will be broadcast on the ACC Network.