Florida State (3-0) defeated Virginia Tech (0-5) by a 4-0 score tonight in Blacksburg, VA.
Florida State had the great majority of the possession early in the game but it was the Hokies who generated the first good chance of the game. In the 12th minute Grace Sklopan found Emma Steigerwald streaking down the left flank. FSU was pushing forward in the attack so Steigerwald had acres of space in front of her. Steigerwald drove the ball down into FSU’s defensive third before sending a dangerous left footed cross into the Seminole box. The ball went over a leaping Emily Madril’s head into the box. Malia Berkely and Calista Heister were battling for position in the box and the ball glanced off Heister toward the goal but Cristina Roque was there for the save. Berkely went down clutching her ankle. The all-American was forced to temporarily leave the game but she would return.
In the 14th minute FSU earned a corner kick. Leilanni Nesbeth took the kick for the Noles. Nesbeth floated in an extremely dangerous kick that hit off the crossbar. Gabby Carle would eventually come up with the ball. She drove to the endline and delivered a left footed cross into the Tech six yard box. The ball trickled to Jaelin Howell who was poaching about eight yards from goal. However, Howell couldn’t control the ball and Makenzie Graham was able to take the ball and clear it away.
In the 37th minute Emmalee McCarter intercepted throw-in taken by FSU deep in Seminole territory. McCarter flicked the ball toward goal. Emily Gray ran onto the ball. Howell then took Gray down about 19 yards from goal. Howell was whistled for the foul and VT had a free kick in a very dangerous spot. Gray took the kick but it was blocked by Ran Iwai who was in FSU’s wall and it was cleared away.
In the 42nd minute Jenna Nighswonger was taken down by Holly Rose Weber. Berkely took the resulting free kick from about 40 yards out. Berkely lofted a beautiful ball over the Hokie wall and Emily Madril managed to get her head on it. Unfortunately for FSU there wasn’t much power on the shot and Hokie keeper S.A. Phillips had a routine save.
In the 44th minute the Seminoles dented the scoreboard. Madril earned a free kick in the midfield. Berkely took the kick and passed it to Madril who drove the ball to the edge of the box. She forced the VT defenders to step up and she then laid the ball off for Nighswonger on the right flank. Nighswonger fired a right footed cross into the six. The ball went past Jody Brown who was being marked by Sydney Ash. The ball bounced off of Ash’s leg into the right corner of the goal to give FSU a 1-0 lead from the own goal.
In the 50th minute Howell drove the ball into the Hokie defensive third. She found Nesbeth who turned and spotted Kristina Lynch on the left flank. Lynch sent a cross for Kristen McFarland who was wide open in the box. McFarland took a touch but she couldn’t get off a shot as she was defended by Ash who had hustled back. McFarland passed the ball back to Clara Robbins who took a touch and fired for goal. Her shot was blocked by Ash.
In the 51st minute Kirsten Pavlisko found Kaitlyn Zipay on the right flank. Zipay battled with Steigerwald for position. Steigerwald poked the ball away from Zipay but in doing so she fell down injured. Zipay retrieved the ball and after circling back she drove the ball into the box and fired a left-footed shot that sailed inches over the crossbar.
In the 67th minute Jenna Nighswonger intercepted a poor VT clearance. She took a couple of touches and fired from about 25 yards out. Her shot was blocked by Ash. The ball ricocheted into the air and fell into the path of a charging Kristina Lynch. Lynch tried to head the ball but couldn’t get enough on it and Phillips had an easy save.
In the 69th minute FSU earned a corner. Lauren Flynn chased down a pass from Yujie Zhao on the right flank. Flynn crossed the ball into the box and Grace Sklopan knocked it out of bounds for a corner. Nighswonger stepped up to take the corner. She delivered a near perfect ball into the six and Howell rose up and slammed a header that hit the bottom of the crossbar and landed over the goal line.
The Noles weren’t finished. In the 75th minute Florida State earned another corner when Gabby Carle tried to turn on Graham and Graham knocked the ball over the line for the corner. Zhao delivered the corner kick into the six. Flynn leapt up over Caroline Cipolla and her header clanged off the right post. The ball caromed right to Ran Iwai who chested the ball down and the volleyed a right footed strike past Phillips for the third goal.
In the 78th minute Iwai was taken down by Graham on the left flank. Zhao stepped up to take the free kick. She lofted a dangerous ball into the six but Phillips alertly punched it out for the save. The rebound came out to Nighswonger at the edge of the 18 yard box. Nighswonger one-timed a right footed shot that went just over the goal.
In the 83rd minute FSU got even more insurance. Berkely found Nighswonger with a long pass through the midfield. Nighswonger picked out Jody Brown who was crossing through Tech’s defensive third. The ball was intercepted by Cipolla who passed the ball back to Phillips in goal. Phillips cleared the ball out but Nighswonger kept it in the VT defensive third. Nighswonger took a couple of touches and fired a left footed shot from about 28 feet out. Her shot was deflected but it went straight to Brown. Brown took a touch and then calmly slotted a right footed shot past Phillips into the lower left corner of the goal for the final 4-0 margin.
Florida State had 17 shots with five on goal. The Seminoles held Virginia Tech to only one shot for the game and it wasn’t on goal. For the season FSU has 61 shots while their opponents only have five.
FSU had those 17 shots but they had only two in the first half. In the second half the Noles really seemed to wear VT down. The Seminoles played 17 players at least 13 minutes. This team has a ton of depth. FSU has 10 goals on the season and seven of them have come in the second half. It’s a small sample size at only three games but this team is showing signs of being like a Leonard Hamilton team that comes at you in waves and wears you down.
Mark Krikorian calls this team one of the most mature he has had. This shows up on the field. This team is very patient and confident. They don’t panic believing that goals will eventually come. This team has only played three games so far and none of the teams the Noles have played thus far are really on their level talent-wise but this maturity is a good trait to have going forward.
Florida State will travel to Winston-Salem, NC to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-2-1) on Sunday. Wake beat Miami 1-0 tonight. The game will kick off at 1pm and will be broadcast on the ACCNetwork Extra.