No. 1 Florida State (19-0-1) defeated Texas (17-5-2) by a 5-0 score tonight at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
It didn’t take long for Florida State to make an impression in this game. In the sixth minute Jordynn Dudley was attacking the defense on the edge of the box. The ball was knocked away by Abby Allen. Fortunately for FSU it ricocheted directly to Jody Brown right outside the box. Brown immediately sent it over to Onyi Echegini who was unmarked on the left side. Echegini fired for goal but her shot was saved nicely by former Seminole Mia Justus. The ball rebounded of Justus’ foot right into the path of a charging Beata Olsson who headed the ball into the open net to give the Noles a 1-0 lead.
It was a great start but the Noles weren’t satisfied. In the 10th minute Taylor Huff received the ball in midfield and knocked it perfectly into the path of Echegini who was sprinting up the field. Echegini took a couple of touches as Allen retreated trying to defend her. Echegini took a final touch to separate from Allen before uncorking a perfectly placed shot that gave Justus no chance as it found the right corner of the goal.
In the 21st minute Florida State tacked on another. Dudley was tripped up in the box. The whistle sounded and the referee pointed to the spot. Dudley stepped up and sent a perfect penalty kick past a diving Justus to put the Noles up 3-0.
Goal number four came in the 50th minute. Olsson received the ball in the attacking third. She laid it off for Ran Iwai who was making an overlapping run on the right side. Iwai sent a great cross in for Dudley at the edge of the six. Dudley left the ball for Huff who was trailing the play. Huff wound up and one-timed an absolute rocket that zoomed past a diving Justus into the upper corner of the goal to give the Seminoles a 4-0 advantage.
In the 64th minute Florida State found the net for the last time (at least tonight). Heather Gilchrist sent the ball forward for Jody Brown. Lauren Lapomarda came up to tackle Brown but Jody knocked the ball ahead right before Lapomarda could get there. Olivia Garcia tracked the ball down on the right flank. Carly Montgomery came over to defend but Garcia cut the ball back to get by Montgomery. She then took another touch before firing a left footed shot for goal that hit the inside of the left post before rebounding into the back of the net to give FSU the final 5-0 margin of victory.
Florida State had 14 shots (nine on goal) while Texas had 12 shots (three on goal).
This was always going to be a tough game for Texas. The Longhorns don’t have a deep bench. They played 10 players 90 minutes tonight and the player that was subbed out (Abby Allen) left the game due to injury. Florida State wears teams down that can’t substitute liberally.
However, that really wasn’t UT’s main problem tonight. The Noles scored two goals in the first 10 minutes. FSU scoring early is death for opponents because the Seminoles are such good front runners. In the press conference Brian Pensky proudly pointed out that since the UNC game (the last 12 games) FSU has only conceded one goal in the run of play. It’s hard to come back against a defense like that especially when that defense is paired with such an explosive offense.
The Noles played very well defensively. Case in point was Ran Iwai. Iwai has really improved defensively from last year. She made several really impressive defensive plays tonight to get the ball back for her team. This entire defense is really coming together and a big reason why is that there are no longer any weak links. Therefore, it is really hard to know where to attack this team.
It shouldn’t get lost that Texas is a really good team. The Longhorns won the Big 12 and Massey rates them as the #11 team in the nation. Lexi Missimo leads the nation in assists, and is tied for the lead in goals scored. Missimo also leads the nation in points per game. Forward Trinity Byers is third nationally in points per game, fourth in total goals and tied for third in assists. Florida State completely shut down a team with very dangerous weapons. It wasn’t just the offensive explosion that lead to the dominant victory.
This game was not really about UT. This game was about how good the Seminoles are when they have their “A Game”. If this team plays like they did tonight (or even close) three more times they will have a fourth star on their jerseys next year. It is just that simple.
Florida State will face the Pitt Panthers (for the third time) in the Elite Eight on 5:30pm Friday at the Seminole Soccer Complex.