No. 1 Florida State (13-0-1, 8-0-1 ACC) defeated Duke (6-6-3, 2-4-3 ACC) by a 4-0 score today in Durham, NC.
In the 16th minute Duke generated a chance. Grace Watkins stole the ball in the midfield. She slid a beautiful ball for Kat Rader on the left flank. Rader chased the ball down in the box but her shot sailed high over the goal.
In the 21st minute Florida State earned a good chance. Onyi Echegini received the ball in the midfield. She spotted Jordynn Dudley posting up just outside the box. Dudley laid the ball off to Jody Brown who was charging toward goal. Brown took a shot from just outside the box that was deflected barely wide by Katie Groff.
In the 25th minute the Blue Devils had another chance. Devin Lynch intercepted a pass from Lauren Flynn. Lynch drove into the box and sent a dangerous cross over to Watkins who was unmarked in the six. Watkins knocked the ball toward goal but her shot went just wide left.
A minute later the Devils had a golden opportunity. Mia Minestrella sent a ball into the box. Rader chested it down. Lynch tried to control it but she went down barely outside the box. The whistle sounded for a foul and Duke was awarded a free kick from about 19 yards out. The foul was called on LeiLanni Nesbeth but the replay showed that Lynch went down untouched. The referee got this one wrong. Nevertheless, Rader took the free kick but the shot went high over the goal.
In the 30th minute Florida State broke the ice. Jordynn Dudley stripped the ball from Cameron Roller in the midfield. Dudley used her speed and power to accelerate away from Roller. Baleigh Bruster came up to challenge Dudley but she was left in the dust by a deft touch from the superstar freshman. Groff came over to close out Dudley but Jordynn slid the ball over to a wide open Kaitlyn Zipay who made no mistake blasting a shot past Leah Freeman for the first goal of the game.
In the 35th minute FSU generated another chance. Maria Alagoa passed the ball over to Dudley in the attacking third. Dudley slipped a dangerous ball for Leah Pais who was making a run through the box. Pais reached the ball and fired but Freeman came off her line and smothered the shot for the impressive save.
Duke had yet another chance before the half ended. In the 41st minute Groff took the ball down the left flank. She crossed the ball into the box. Flynn was there to intercept the ball but she over ran it. Flynn tried to come back to clear it but she slipped down. Rader was there to clean up the mess but her shot sailed high.
Duke generated plenty of chances in the first half but they just weren’t clinical enough to finish them. Then the second half Noles showed up and the game changed.
In the 54th minute FSU scored a second goal. Ran Iwai drove the ball into the attacking third. She spotted Taylor Huff who immediately played the ball out wide for Beata Olsson on the left flank. Olsson one-timed a perfect ball for Echegini who was lurking just outside the six. Echegini pounded a perfectly placed header past Freeman into the upper corner of the goal. This was a sparkling display of teamwork from Florida State. This goal was almost impossible to defend.
The Noles kept attacking. Right after the goal in the 55th minute Iwai sent a ball into the box for Dudley to run onto. Dudley chased it down but Freeman came way off her line to break up the play. Dudley and Freeman reached the ball at the same time. Dudley went flying but Freeman did get the ball so I don’t have a problem with the referee not giving a foul in that instance. Huff hustled over to collect the rebound. Freeman went for the ball again but didn’t get it this time and Huff went down in the box. The ball trickled over to Echegini who one-timed a right footed blast for goal. Her shot was blocked by Roller who made a great heads up play to get to the goal line as Freeman was on the ground unable to get back to her line in time.
There was a lot that happened on this play so let’s take a minute to break it down. Freeman made a great play to come off her line to challenge Dudley. As I said, I don’t think that this was a foul since Freeman did get the ball but it was close. On the follow up chance Huff was taken down. I do believe that this was a foul. It is possible however that the ref played the advantage since the ball went straight to Echegini. Roller should be commended for her defense because Echegini’s shot would have certainly been a goal if not for her heads up play.
Unfortunately, as a result of Freeman’s challenge Dudley went down for several minutes requiring medical attention from the trainer. Dudley was eventually helped off the field with what seemed like a lower left leg injury. She would not return to the game.
FSU kept up the pressure. In the 59th minute Huff controlled a loose ball in the midfield. She immediately spotted Echegini making a move into the attacking third. Echegini received Huff’s pass as she was marked by Roller. Echegini then took a small touch before uncorking a wonder strike from distance that ended up in the upper right corner of the goal giving Freeman no chance. Echegini’s brace gave the Seminoles a 3-0 lead.
However, Duke kept pressing. In the 65th minute the Devils generated another chance. Duke earned a corner kick. The ball was sent dangerously into the box. Mia Minestrella got up and flicked a header toward goal. Sophia Nguyen was guarding the post for the Seminoles and she used her body to block the ball away saving the goal to protect Cristina Roque’s clean sheet.
In the 66th minute the Noles earned even more insurance. Brown drove the ball down the left flank. She sent it over for LeiLanni Nesbeth who immediately found Nguyen on the right side. Nguyen sent the ball over to Huff on the right flank. Huff put a move on Kati Druzina before finding space in the box. Huff then sent a left footed shot toward the corner of the goal that wrong footed Freeman before finding the back of the net.
Florida State had 21 shots (12 on goal) while Duke had 14 shots (4 on goal).
FSU is now outscoring opponents 33-4 in the second half this year.
Florida State is really impressive. Duke is not a cupcake. Massey rates them as the 17th best team and he rates their defense as sixth best nationally. Before today Duke had not conceded three goals in any game all year except for a 4-0 loss at Stanford. FSU just scored three goals against that defense in the second half alone.
The concern now has to be for Jordynn Dudley. Hopefully her injury will prove to be minor and she can return to the pitch soon.
Onyi Echegini now leads the team in scoring with 11 goals. She once again proved her class today. Both of her goals were exquisitely taken.
This is probably the most clinical FSU team that I have seen certainly since I have been covering the team and perhaps ever.
FSU has now clinched at least a share of the ACC regular season title. The Noles will win the title outright with a win or tie against NC State or a loss or tie by Clemson when the Tigers play at Notre Dame.
Florida Stata will welcome North Carolina State to the Seminole Soccer Complex on Thursday. The game will kickoff at 7pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.