No. 1 Florida State (17-0-1) defeated Morehead State (9-6-5) by a 5-0 score tonight at the Seminole Soccer Complex to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Morehead State normally is a possession team but the Eagles immediately abandoned their normal approach in this game. Morehead played in a low block for basically the entire game. This strategy frustrated the Seminoles a bit early but the Noles eventually figured it out.
In the 35th minute FSU cracked the scoreboard for the first time. Leah Pais played a beautiful ball to Sophia Nguyen on the right side. Nguyen tracked it down and one-timed a cross over to Olivia Garcia who was unmarked at the edge of the six. Garcia banged a header past goal keeper Erin Gibbs to put the Seminoles up 1-0.
In the 39th minute Florida State earned a free kick. Ran Iwai stepped up to take it. Iwai lofted a dangerous ball into the six. Peyton Nourse leapt up and knocked the ball into the back of the net to give FSU a 2-0 lead.
In the 52nd minute Florida State tacked on another. Jody Brown received the ball in the attacking third and immediately began to put moves on the Eagle defenders. She eventually laid it back for Iwai who blasted a shot from distance. It was blocked but Jordynn Dudley battled for the ball knocking it to Onyi Echegini who was trailing the play. Echegini got it over to an open Lauren Flynn who took a touch before firing a low hard drive into the left corner of the goal for the Seminoles third score of the game.
In the 76th minute FSU kept up the pressure. Maggie Taitano spotted Brown about to make a run in the box. Taitano delivered a gorgeous ball over the defense. Brown timed her run perfectly to get behind the last defender. Brown then chipped the ball over a charging Gibbs for the fourth goal.
FSU wasn’t done. In the 88th minute Iwai spotted Beata Olsson making a run in the box. Iwai chipped a perfect pass over the defense. Olsson settled the ball then made a turn before firing a right footed drive into the back of the net for the fifth and final goal of the night.
Florida State outshot Morehead State 31-2 (16-0 on goal).
FSU won the possession battle 74% to 26%.
The Eagles won the OVC and had only conceded one goal in their previous six games before today. However, Florida State is obviously on another level than the teams found in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Florida State came out and handled business in a professional way tonight. They avoided injury and are looking good for the second round. Other than that I’m not sure that there is a whole lot more to take from this match against a game but ultimately over matched opponent.
Florida State will play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, November 17th against the winner of the Texas A&M/Colorado game.