No. 1 Florida State (14-2-3) defeated Florida Gulf Coast (12-6-2) by a 3-0 score tonight at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, FL. The Seminoles will now advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Florida Gulf Coast came out early with high pressure against Florida State. The Seminoles reacted well to the pressure. The backline was able to avoid mistakes and the Eagles were not able to force a deep turnover.
Florida State had several chances in the first half to break the scoring ice. However, FGCU was able to deny the Noles every time in the first half due to stout defense and at times a bit of luck.
However, FSU would eventually break through. In the 52nd minute the Seminoles were applying pressure. LeiLanni Nesbeth squared a ball over to Lauren Flynn who had advanced forward from her position on the backline. Flynn wove her way through the Eagle defense before firing a right footed shot that wrong footed FGCU keeper Katie Sullivan and ended up in the lower left corner of the goal. It was Flynn’s first goal of the year and it gave the Seminoles a 1-0 lead.
The Noles didn’t stop there. In the 62nd minute Clara Robbins spotted Jody Brown open on the right flank. Brown took a couple of touches before laying the ball off for Nesbeth who was charging into open space. Nesbeth one-timed a blistering shot that gave Sullivan no chance as it whizzed by her. FSU had opened up a 2-0 lead. We haven’t seen Nesbeth unleash her cannon that much this year because she has been playing more of a defensive holding midfield position but this shot shows that she still has it.
Florida State was looking for insurance in the 76th minute. The Noles earned a corner kick. Jenna Nighswonger stepped up to take it. Nighswonger sent a dangerous ball into the six. Kaitlyn Zipay got her head on it and sent it toward the goal. Grace Paradis managed to get her foot on it but she couldn’t keep it out of the net as the Zipay delivered the third goal of the evening for Florida State.
From there the Noles held off the Eagles to advance to the second round with the 3-0 victory.
Florida State outshot Florida Gulf Coast 26-4 (12-2 on goal).
FSU dominated possession 74% to 26%.
Maria Alagoa was unavailable for this game as she is on international duty with Portugal’s U23 team. Alagoa is expected to return on Tuesday so she should be ready to play in FSU’s second round game.
FGCU came out with a high press early in the game. The Eagles were able to generate some chances early with the pressure but it didn’t last. FSU really dominated the game after the first 10 minutes.
This was a business like win for the Seminoles. They did what an elite team should do in a first round game. The score line really doesn’t tell the tale of how dominant the Noles were in this game. They could have easily scored two or three goals in the first half. The Eagles deserve some credit for keeping FSU off the scoreboard in the first half. FGCU played good defense and keeper Katie Sullivan made a couple of impressive saves. However, the pressure that Florida State applied eventually was too much.
Florida State will welcome (8) LSU to the Seminole Soccer Complex on Friday. The Tigers beat Lamar 3-1 today in the first round. The kickoff time for the second round game will be 5:30pm.