No. 1 Florida State Seminoles soccer survived a slow-choke defensive struggle vs. Duke last week to advance to the College Cup semifinals, now just one game away from competition for another national title.
The Seminoles will, once again, face off against a familiar opponent after games (and wins) vs. NCAA Tournament nemesis Penn State and ACC foe Duke. They’ll be facing off against No. 13 Virginia, the only unseeded team to make the semifinals.
From our Prince Akeem Joeffer after the win vs. the Blue Devils:
Florida State had 14 shots (8 on goal) while Duke had two shots and neither were on goal. FSU had nine corner kicks while Duke had one.
Survive and Advance. This was not a masterpiece by Florida State. The Noles didn’t generate enough chances and the finishing was poor. However, the Seminoles did what they needed to do in the penalty kick round to advance.
Duke was just trying to hang on and get to the penalty kick round. They tantalized us for the first 25 or so minutes into thinking that they would challenge FSU and play a real game but that was just a mirage. The rest of the game was played with Duke falling into the low block defense and trying to absorb FSU’s pressure while hoping for a good counter attack chance. If that didn’t materialize the Blue Devils seemed content to take the game to penalty kicks.
Cristina Roque saved Florida State’s bacon with the sparkling save to open the penalty kick round but it shouldn’t come to that in these games. FSU has to find a way to finish these opportunities better. Also, the corner kicks were not great today. Florida State must capitalize better on these opportunities.
In any event the Noles got the win (it is officially a tie) and will advance to the College Cup.
One of these days (maybe) we will see a team brave enough to play honestly with FSU for a whole game. That would be fun.
UVA will likely challenge FSU more than they have seen in the tourney so far. However, UVA will still be playing mostly in a defensive posture. Expect FSU to have most of the possession and the Cavs will try to get counters with Alexa Spaanstra and especially Rebecca Jarrett attacking from the flanks.
If UVA gets a lead at any time they will probably retreat into a bunker defense.
Set-pieces will be key. UVA isn’t that good defending them (especially corners) and FSU hasn’t had to defend them at all in this Tourney. The team that can generate these types of chances will give themselves a great advantage in the game.
FSU is the better team but UVA is absolutely good enough to win the game especially if they get some breaks and GK Laurel Ivory has a great game.
How to Watch
Some game notes and team stats from FSU and UVA Sports Info:
- FSU has reached the NCAA Women’s College Cup for the 11th time in school history and the Seminoles have been among the final four teams to play for a national championship 10 times in the 16 seasons under head coach Mark Krikorian. The 11 semifinal appearances is tied with UCLA and Santa Clara for third-most in NCAA history, trailing North Carolina (29) and Notre Dame (12).
- Virginia is led on the attack up top by forwards Rebecca Jarrett, Diana Ordoñez and Alexa Spaanstra — Diana Ordoñez holds a team-leading 29 points with 12 goals and five assists this season, while Spaanstra has added 10 goals and a pair of assists this season for 22 points on the year. ACC Freshman of the Year Lia Godfrey is third on the team with 17 off a team-leading nine assists and four goals.
- Thursday’s match will be the 35th time that the Seminoles have played at WakeMed, including the 2003, 2006, 2013, 2015 and 2018 College Cups. Overall, FSU has a record of 18-11-6 in Cary, N.C. Florida State is 2-4 in NCAA Semifinal matches at WakeMed Soccer Park.
- Freshmen goalkeeper Cristina Roque has had an incredible freshman season in goal. She has held FSU’s opponents to just seven goals in 14 games this season and she has saved 75 percent of shots that have come her way. Roque shined in the brightest of moments in the NCAA Quarterfinal, saving the first Duke attempt in PKs, leading the Seminoles to their 11th College Cup.
- Virginia and Florida State meet for the second time this season after FSU won the regular-season meeting 4-3
- It is the third meeting in an NCAA Tournament match with FSU holding a 2-0-0 record in those contests
- FSU won the first meeting in 2011 at home in the quarterfinals and won the 2014 championship game matchup
- Virginia leads the all-time series with the Seminoles 21-9-6
- Florida State did not get its first win over Virginia until the 2011 ACC Tournament when the Noles secured a 2-1 victory in the semifinals on their way to FSU’s first ACC Championship. Since that victory, Florida State is 9-5-2 against Virginia, including earning the 2014 ACC Championship and National Championship and the 2015 ACC Championship 7-6 in penalty kicks after ending the game with a 2-2 draw.