No. 1 seed Florida State () will face off against the second-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels today in the semifinals of the 2022 College Cup, the fifth postseason meeting between the schools since 2018.
The Seminoles sailed through the initial rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but last week embodied the “survive and advance mentality” to take down the Arkansas Razorbacks 1-0 off an own goal.
From our Prince Akeem Joeffer:
Florida State was obviously lucky to get the own goal but in sports (as in life) you often make your own luck. FSU did that in this game as they were able to pressure Arkansas putting the Hogs in a position to make a mistake. Also, the Noles avoided the big turnover in the back when they were facing serious pressure from Arkansas. That was a big key to this game.
Another key was Florida State’s versatility. Coach Hale commented on that, “The thing with FSU is that they can play both. They can possess but they can also beat you with the counter. And they have some wingers (Jody Brown and Onyi Echegini) that are rapid fast.” We saw that versatility on full display tonight. In the first half Florida State was forced to absorb the Arkansas pressure and look for offense on the counter. In the second half the Noles had much more possession and were able to play their normal game breaking down the Razorback low block.
The final key was that Arkansas really struggled to finish the opportunities that they were able to generate. Especially in the first half the Hogs were almost living in FSU’s box but they just couldn’t get dangerous shots on goal. The Florida State backline (Ran Iwai, Lauren Flynn, Heather Gilchrist and Heather Payne) really stood tall tonight. Cristina Roque is the cheat code. She is almost always great and tonight was no exception.
Florida State will now prepare to face a familiar foe in the national semifinal game.
FSU have frequently met in the postseason over the course of the last few years — the Seminoles took down the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship game this season, as well as in 2020 and 2018, and beat UNC in the national championship game in 2018 as well.
North Carolina, however, won this year’s regular season matchup 2-1 — FSU hasn’t beaten the Tar Heels in the regular season since 2015.
From UNC Sports Info:
The Tar Heels earned a spot in the College Cup after they went to South Bend, Ind. this past Saturday and eliminated quadrant No. 1 seed Notre Dame, 2-0. Ally Sentnor and Talia Dellaperuta each scored a goal and North Carolina posted its second clean sheet win of the tournament which began with a 5-0 shutout of Sun Belt Conference winner Old Dominion.
UNC followed its victory over ODU with a 3-1 win over No. 7 seed Georgia and a 3-2 triumph over No. 6 seed BYU.
North Carolina is 7-2 in College Cup games played at Wake Med Soccer Park including a 4-1 record in national semifinal games. UNC won the national championship at the venue in 2003, 2006 and 2008.
Some additional notes, via FSU Sports Info:
Florida State is 5-6-1 all-time in the semifinals
• Jenna Nighswonger is second in the country with 16 assists. She has three goals and six assists off set pieces and corners.
• FSU is in the College Cup for the 13th time and third time in the last four seasons.
• This is the 11th time in school history the Seminoles have been named a No. 1 seed and the fifth straight season. It is also the 18th straight season and 19th time overall that Florida State received a national seed in the NCAA Tournament.
• Florida State has advanced to the Elite 8 in 16 of the last 18 season, dating back to 2005.
• Head coach Brian Pensky won his 200th career game after the Seminoles defeated LSU 4-1.
• Brian Pensky became the first head coach to win the ACC in their first season as head coach and becomes just the sixth ever coach to win an ACC Title. No other coach has won an ACC and SEC Title.
• Sunday’s game will be graduate Midfielder, Clara Robbins, 110th career game at Florida State. 110 games is the most games played in FSU soccer history and the second most in NCAA soccer history.
• Florida State is on an incredible streak since September 3, 2010 the Seminoles have not lost a game they have lead at halftime. The Seminoles are 274-11-10 all-time when leading at the half and 208-3-7 when leading at the half since 2005. FSU is 148-0-3 when leading at the half since 2010.
The Noles are a combined 10-6-3 in the last 19 matches of the series between Florida State and North Carolina, dating back to 2011. Florida State has won four of the last seven meetings, including a 3-2 in the 2018 ACC Championship game and 1-0 in the 2018 National Championships game. FSU once again defeated UNC in the ACC Championship game 3-2 in 2020 and 2-1 in the 2022
FSU vs. UNC is set to kick off at 6 p.m. in Cary, North Carolina — the game is set to be broadcast on ESPNU.
Florida State vs. UNC how to watch, TV info
Friday, December 2