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No. 1 FSU soccer defeats No. 19 Pepperdine to advance to the Elite Eight

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Death. Taxes. Elite 8.

Soccer: Women’s College Cup Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Florida State (19-1-2) defeated No. 19 Pepperdine (17-4-1) by a 1-0 score today at the Seminole Soccer Complex.

Game Recap

Pepperdine decided to utilize high pressure on Florida State early in the game in an effort to force a costly mistake. One of the downsides of using high pressure is that it leaves space in the defensive third (and sometimes in midfield) so it can leave the high pressing team open to counter attacks. FSU exploited this downside to great effect to secure the goal.

In the fifth minute Clara Robbins tracked down a loose ball. She kept her head up and spotted Jody Brown about to make a run. Robbins one timed a perfect chip over the defense into Brown’s path. Brown used her impressive speed to race past the defense. She then took a touch to pull the ball back to her left foot and then quickly delivered a low, hard strike to the far post. The shot slipped past Wave keeper Zoe Clevely and bounced off the post and into the goal. The Noles don’t often counter attack but it worked like a charm here. The goal put FSU up 1-0.

Both teams like to have possession. Pepperdine is used to having the ball more than their opponents but that wasn’t the case today. This was not unexpected as Pepperdine coach Tim Ward remarked after the game. He said that they expected that they would only have about three or four chances and they needed to bury them.

Unfortunately for the Waves they weren’t able to bury their chances. In fairness, there weren’t a lot of chances in this game for either side. Florida State created a few more chances and finished one of them and that was the difference in the game.

This was a worthy Sweet 16 matchup. Both teams have quality talent. FSU has so much experience in these situations. When the experience is combined with the home field advantage it was simply too much for the Waves to overcome.

Post Game

Florida State outshot Pepperdine 9-4. FSU had four shots on goal while Pepperdine had none.

FSU had 65% of the possession to 35% for the Waves.

Florida State advances to the Elite 8 for the 16th time in program history. The Seminoles have made the Elite 8 in 15 of the last 17 years and now have a current streak of four straight Elite Eights.

FSU was outstanding today defensively. Pepperdine has a number of really dangerous offensive threats led by striker Joelle Anderson but the Seminole defense kept them from getting on track.

The Noles proved today that they can play many different styles. The goal came as a result of an opportunity created by going over the top of the Pepperdine pressure. FSU doesn’t normally score this way as they get most of their offense from their possession tactics. However, they were able to adjust today and that versatility was crucial in a game like this where the opponent has so many talented players.

Next Game

Florida State will host No. 9 Michigan in the Elite Eight on November 26th at 2pm at the Seminole Soccer Complex. The Wolverines were impressive today beating Tennessee 3-0 to advance. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.