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No. 3 FSU soccer draws with No. 1 Virginia

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Florida State will be the second seeded team in the ACC Tournament while UVA will be the top seed.

Soccer: Women’s College Cup Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Florida State (14-1-2) tied No. 1 Virginia (15-1-2) by a 1-1 score tonight at the Seminole Soccer Complex.

Game Recap

Virginia got off to a hot start in this game. In the fifth minute the Cavaliers served the ball into the box. Diana Ordonez battled with Jaelin Howell and Lauren Flynn for the ball. The ball spurted back where a charging Lia Godfrey uncorked a blast from about 19 yards away. Cristina Roque dove to her left to make a sparkling save knocking the ball away.

In the eighth minute the Noles earned a chance. Clara Robbins drove the ball down the right side battling Talia Staude the entire way. Robbins sent a dangerous cross into the box. Claire Constant was there marking Beata Olsson. Robbins’ cross got past Constant but Olsson mistimed her strike and the ball was cleared away.

In the 25th minute FSU earned another chance. Kirsten Pavlisko drove the ball into the UVA defensive third. Pavlisko laid the ball off for Jenna Nighswonger who was open in the middle of the field. Nighswonger took a couple of touches and launched a shot from about 25 yards out. The shot was deflected by Constant but the ball ricocheted off of her leg to the corner of the goal. UVA keeper Laurel Ivory dove to her left to get the save.

In the 32nd minute the Hoos earned another chance. Godfrey took the ball to the Nole defensive third. Godfrey drew the defense to her before slipping a pass to Ordonez on the left side. Ordonez took a couple of touches in the box before firing for goal but her shot was blocked by Emily Madril. However, the Seminoles couldn’t clear it and Samar Guidry kept it in the box. Guidry drove the ball into the six before passing back to Ordonez who was trailing the play. Ordonez one-timed a left footed shot toward goal. Jody Brown was in the right place standing on the goal line and she brilliantly headed the ball up and it hit the crossbar. It bounced back onto the field and the Noles were able to clear it. Brown has been fantastic defensively this season but this may have been her best play yet.

The Seminoles started the second half on their front foot. In the 46th minute Madril played a long ball out of her defensive third. The ball went all the way to UVA’s defensive third before bouncing past Constant. Olsson ran onto the ball and flicked it up over the head of a charging Ivory but her shot went wide left of the open goal.

In the 63rd minute the Hoos broke the scoring ice. Taryn Torres found Haley Hopkins on the left side. Guidry was making an overlapping run. Amelia Horton knocked the ball away from Torres but it went right into Guidry’s path. Guidry took the ball to the endline as Pavlisko was defending her. Guidry sent a wicked left footed cross into the box. Ordonez was there being marked by Lauren Flynn but Ordonez beat Flynn to the ball and she smashed a left footed shot past Roque to give the Cavs a 1-0 lead.

However, it would not take the Noles long to answer. In the 68th minute Flynn found Robbins in the middle of the field. Robbins immediately laid the ball off for Yujie Zhao who was wide open. Zhao took a touch and then launched a right-footed cracker from about 25 yards out. The ball was perfectly placed into the upper right corner of the goal and it beat a diving Ivory to level the game at 1-1. This goal was an absolute thunderbolt and the Noles really needed it to get back into the game. It was the fourth goal of the season for Zhao.

In the 80th minute the Cavaliers generated another chance. Sydney Zandi received the ball on the right flank. Zandi played the ball back for Hopkins who was trailing the play. Hopkins played it back for Godfrey who unleashed a shot that just went wide left. It did look like Roque had it covered though.

In the 84th minute the Noles earned another chance. Madril won the ball at midfield and drove to UVA’s defensive third. She found Robbins who had her back to the goal. Robbins one-timed a pretty flick to Emma Bissell who was streaking down the right flank. Bissell sent in a dangerous cross into the box. Olsson ran onto it and just missed getting her boot on it by a whisker before it was caught by Ivory.

In the 87th minute UVA had another chance. Godfrey found Hopkins open on the right side. Hopkins drove the ball into the box eventually sending a cross to the center of the box. Madril was there but she mistimed her clearance. However Pavlisko was there to clear it away before Ordonez could pounce on it.

In the 89th minute the Noles had a chance. Robbins played the ball up the field out of the midfield. The ball was headed away by Staude but Olsson kept it in for FSU. Zhao beat Torres to the ball knocking it forward. Olsson raced after it but Staude just barely beat her to the ball sliding forward to knock the ball out of bounds. Ivory had come off her line and the three players all ended up in a heap on the ground.

In the 90th minute there was a scary play. Roque punted the ball downfield. It was headed back by Torres. Robbins and Brianna Jablonowski both went for the header and there was a clash of heads. Both players remained on the ground for a few minutes but they were both able to leave the field under their own power. Robbins was assessed a yellow card (for some reason) on the play. It really looked like both players were just going for the ball.

In the 92nd minute Virginia had another chance. The Hoos had a second consecutive corner kick when their first kick went out of bounds. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the ball had gone off Pavlisko or Constant but the ref ruled that it went off Pavlisko so UVA had a second corner. Torres took the corner and sent a very dangerous ball into the box. Ordonez got up and snapped off a crisp header but Roque was perfectly placed and she smothered the shot for the save.

In the 98th minute the Cavs earned another chance. Alexa Spaanstra found Zandi on the right flank. Zandi sent a cross into the box. Hopkins ran onto it and cracked a shot from 13 yards away. However, Roque was again up to the task for the save.

In the 99th minute FSU earned another chance. Madril was in the UVA defensive third. She passed the ball back to Jaelin Howell to reset. Howell sent it forward for Nighswonger right outside the box. Nighswonger executed a lovely flick to release Madril down the left flank. Madril sent it back over to Nighswonger in the box. Nighswonger was challenged by Sydney Zandi and Laney Rouse. Zandi gave Nighswonger a bump and Nighswonger went down in the box. Nighswonger went down but the referee wasn’t interested and the whistle didn’t blow.

In the 105th minute the Noles earned another chance. Bissell tracked down a loose ball on right flank. Hopkins slid to tackle her but Bissell got by Hopkins and sent a dangerous cross into the box. Olsson was there for the header but the ball sailed just past her head.

In the 109th minute the Seminoles nearly had the game winner. Bissell received the ball on the right side. She sent a beautiful pass into Howell’s path. Howell executed a lovely back heel for Clara Robbins who was lurking behind the play. Robbins one-timed a left footed shot to goal that beat the UVA defense but it clanged off the post.

From there neither team could score and the game ended up tied at 1-1.

Post Game

Virginia outshot Florida State 12-10 with the Hoos having five shots on goal to FSU’s three.

FSU had the slight edge in possession 53%-47%.

With the draw Virginia clinched the top seed in the ACC Tournament and FSU claimed the second seed.

It rained off and on throughout the match. The pitch was a bit slippery and it did cause a few players to fall during the game.

Gabby Carle, Gianna Robbins and Jaelin Howell were honored before the game on Senior Night. Those three players will not be back next year but the rest of the roster will return barring transfers.

Gabby Carle (Canada), Heather Payne (Ireland) and Maria Alagoa (Portugal) all returned from international duty. Both Carle and Payne played a full 90 minutes for their national teams on Tuesday. Therefore, Payne didn’t play tonight and Carle only played a ceremonial minute and a half as she got the start on Senior Night. Alagoa only played four minutes.

This was a game between a pair of heavyweights and it could easily turn out that this was the first game of a trilogy between these two teams as we head to the postseason.

UVA started the game off fast and basically took it to FSU in the first half. However, the Noles found their sea legs and started to grow into the game in the second half. In the second overtime it seemed that UVA was just trying to hang on for the draw since that was all they needed for the top seed.

The most important thing to come out of the result tonight for the Seminoles is that FSU earned a bye in the ACC Tournament with the draw. That will give the Noles time to rest and extra time to train. Head coach Mark Krikorian spoke after the game about the importance of the bye and getting the international players back, “We need to get all of our group back together and have some consistent training. It’s been two and a half, three weeks since we have had them all here and all together so by earning this bye it’s going to give us some time to really focus on ourselves and get all the right pieces in the right places and prepare for what that semi-final game will be.”

Florida State looked much better in this game from a competitive standpoint than they did in their last outing against Duke. The last three games have been really challenging for the Seminoles and it didn’t help that they had to play the games a bit shorthanded.

North Carolina, Duke and Virginia are all very good teams. They are all elite or at worst near elite this season so they all deserve respect. However, the next time FSU faces any of them the Noles will be at full strength.

When Carle returns to the starting lineup FSU will be able to “(G)et all the right pieces in the right places”. When Carle returns FSU will not only benefit from her ability but other players will be able to return to the right places where they will be more dangerous. For example, in Carle’s absence Jody Brown had to play as a holding midfielder rather than either at striker or attacking midfielder. She will now be able to return to her normal position where she will be more comfortable and likely more effective.

Cristina Roque deserves mention for her play in this game. She had an outstanding save in the opening minutes and was rock steady for FSU the rest of the way. Florida State is in good hands in goal with Roque and Mia Justus.

Finally, a hat tip to the crowd. FSU announced that 2,388 fans showed up tonight. It was a rowdy crowd that stayed in the game all the way. This is the kind of atmosphere Florida State would love to have for the NCAA Tournament in a couple of weeks.

Next Game

Florida State will await the winner of the Duke/Wake Forest quarterfinal game. The Noles will meet the winner of that game in the Semifinals in Cary, NC on Friday, November 5th. The game will kickoff at 8pm.