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No. 2 FSU soccer advances to the ACC Tournament final with an overtime win over No. 25 Wake Forest

The Noles start slow but finish fast.

Andy Mead/ACC

No. 2 Florida State (15-1-2, 7-1-2 ACC) defeated No. 25 Wake Forest (15-5-0, 6-4-0 ACC) by a 2-1 score tonight at WakeMed Park in Cary, NC.

Game Recap

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons came out fast. In the third minute Nikayla Small got a step on Jaelin Howell as she streaked down the right flank. Small received the ball and took a touch driving into the box as she was being harassed by Howell. Seminole goal keeper Cristina Roque came a couple of steps off her line to cut down on Small’s angle. Small delivered a right footed shot toward goal but Roque got down and was able to block the shot with her leg.

In the 17th minute Howell found Kirsten Pavlisko open on the right side. Pavlisko drove the ball into the WF defensive third before executing a very nifty give and go with Jody Brown. Pavlisko got the ball back splitting a pair of Wake defenders in the box but her touch was just a bit heavy and Wake keeper Kaitlyn Parks was able to race off her line and scoop the ball up before Pavlisko could get off a shot.

In the 27th minute the Deacons earned a free kick. Sofia Rossi received the ball on a corner kick. Jenna Nighswonger went out to challenge her. As Rossi was trying to get the ball past Nighswonger the ball hit Jenna in the arm and the referee blew his whistle awarding the free kick to Wake from about 24 yards away. Rossi took the free kick and went for goal but Roque was perfectly placed and she caught the ball with no rebound.

In the 31st minute the Deacons broke the scoring ice. Jenna Menta hustled onto a loose ball knocking it into FSU’s box. Menta battled with a pair of Nole defenders to possess the ball. She then laid it back for Rossi who was trailing the play. Rossi took a touch and then blasted a left-footed strike past Roque and into the back of the net for a 1-0 Wake Forest lead. Rossi’s blast was special but Menta deserves most of the credit for her hustle and grit to get the ball.

However, the Florida State Seminoles would respond. In the 42nd minute the Seminoles earned a corner kick. Yujie Zhao stepped up to take the corner for FSU. Zhao sent an extremely dangerous curling ball into the Wake six yard box. The ball went barely over the out stretched arms of a leaping Parks. Lauren Flynn used her athleticism to jump up over Sophie Faircloth to bang a header into the back of the open goal. It was the second goal of the season for Flynn.

Unfortunately, when Flynn came down she landed on Parks’ head forcing it forward. Parks stayed on the ground for several minutes before leaving the field. She would not return to the game. Mia Raben replaced Parks in goal. After the game Wake Forest head coach Tony da Luz said that Parks had sustained a back bruise. There was no timetable given for her recovery.

In the 54th minute the Deacons generated another chance. Gabby Carle sent a backpass back to Roque in goal. However the distance was too long and Shayla Smart was able to race over to intercept the pass. Emily Madril and Kirsten Pavlisko immediately went over to defend Smart who had driven into the box. Smart laid the ball back for Rossi who took a touch and then fired a left footed shot toward goal. Roque got down and blocked the ball that had bounced in the box. Howell came over to clear it away.

Wake kept up the pressure. In the 55th minute Menta drove the ball down the right flank on the counter attack. Flynn was chasing behind her. Menta delivered a cross into the Seminole six yard box. Smart was there to run onto the ball but Pavlisko came in from behind and seemed to hit Smart in the back as the ball went out of bounds off of Smart’s foot. FSU was really lucky not to be called for the foul which would have resulted in a penalty kick.

Neither team could scratch out another goal so the game went into overtime.

In the 97th minute the Seminoles earned the game winner. Clara Robbins took the ball away at midfield eventually passing it back for Pavlisko who was charging into the Wake defensive third. Pavlisko took the ball to the edge of the box before finding Jody Brown on the right side. Brown one-timed a cross over to Maria Alagoa who was lurking at the top of the box. Alagoa took a touch and then uncorked a howitzer that ended up beating Raben and landing in the upper left corner of the net. It actually looked like Raben managed to get a fingertip on the ball to push it upward but the ball hit the bottom of the crossbar and went into the goal to give the Seminoles the 2-1 victory on the Golden Goal.

Post Game

Florida State outshot Wake Forest 10-6. However, Wake had four shots on goal to FSU’s three.

FSU midfielder Yujie Zhao was unable to finish the game as she was kicked in the face by a high boot from Hulda Arnarsdottir in the 69th minute. Arnarsdottir was assessed a yellow card on the play. There has been no update yet on Zhao’s condition but she appeared to be bleeding from the face as she left the field.

FSU got off to a bit of a slow start in this game and Wake took advantage. The Deacons were on their front foot early. However, the Noles were able to eventually crank up the possession game. In the second half and overtime FSU applied the majority of the pressure even though Wake Forest did have some counter attacking opportunities.

Although the Seminoles were able to create enough offensive opportunities to get the important victory, this was not FSU’s best performance. Wake only played three substitutes more than 10 minutes while Florida State played five substitutes more than 25 minutes. The depth of FSU’s roster seemed to wear the Deacons down.

Next Game

No. 2 FSU will now face the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers. Virginia beat the Clemson Tigers 1-0 in the first semi-final.

The championship game will be at 1 pm Sunday on ESPNU.

Neither the Cavaliers nor the Seminoles had their A-game tonight. It will be a challenge for both teams to return to the pitch on less than 48 hours rest. However FSU would seem to have an advantage because the Noles have the deeper roster. Virginia only used four substitutes in the Clemson game and one of them only played five minutes. FSU used five subs and they all played at least 20 minutes. However, both teams had five field players who played the entire game. Therefore, the edge may be muted a bit on Sunday.

In any case it will be a heck of a game between two heavyweights. The good news for both teams is that they both should be assured of a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament regardless of the result on Sunday.