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No. 1 Florida State soccer wins their fourth national championship!

FSU took down Stanford for the fourth star.

2023 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

No. 1 Florida State (22-0-1) defeated no. 2 Stanford (21-1-4) by a 5-1 score tonight at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC to capture the fourth national championship in program history.

Game Recap

Stanford earned the first dangerous chance of the game. In the fifth minute the Cardinal earned a corner kick. Allie Montoya played it short to Jasmine Aikey on the right flank. Aikey sent it over to Joelle Jung just outside the box. Jung passed it back to Montoya on the right edge of the box. Montoya dribbled into the box before finding Aikey who took a touch before launching a right footed drive that sailed inches over the crossbar.

The Seminoles generated their first good chance in the 20th minute. Mimi Van Zanten got the ball to Taylor Huff on a throw-in. Huff immediately knocked it over to Onyi Echegini deep on the left flank. Echegini took a couple of touches before crossing the ball across the field to an open Beata Olsson right outside the six. Olsson then hit a side volley shot that hit the right post.

In the 29th minute Florida State drew first blood. Olsson found Jordynn Dudley open in the box. Dudley tried to put a move on Mia Bhuta but Bhuta took her down in the box. The whistle sounded and the referee pointed to the spot. Dudley stepped up to take the penalty kick and this happened:

The Noles weren’t satisfied with just one goal. Just 26 seconds later Florida State extended the lead. Dudley posted up in the midfield to receive a long ball from Heather Gilchrist. Dudley chested the ball right into the path of Jody Brown who was making a run out of the midfield. Brown touched the ball over to Echegini who laid it back for Taylor Huff who was trailing the play. Huff one-timed a perfect ball over the top of the defense right into the path of Brown who had gotten a step on Kennedy Wesley. Brown took a touch then roofed a left footed shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar before bouncing into the goal.

However, Stanford refused to quit. In the 51st minute Aikey sealed Lauren Flynn from a loose ball. Gilchrist stepped to her but Aikey touched the ball by Gilchrist. Cristina Roque came off her line to cut off the angle but Aikey touched the ball to the side away from Roque. The ball went behind Andrea Kitahata but Kitahata hustled back to collect it. Kitahata managed to knock it back for Maya Doms who was just inside the box. Doms took a touch and then rifled a shot that slipped just inside the right post for a goal. Roque barely got a touch on it but she didn’t get enough of it to keep it out of the goal. Stanford was on the board only trailing 2-1.

FSU kept charging and earned another chance in the 56th minute. Dudley received the ball on the right flank. She put a move on Elise Evans and drove toward the six. Dudley laid the ball off and it went through a crowd of players to the other side of the six where Mimi Van Zanten was in perfect position to one time a strike for goal. However, Cardinal keeper Ryan Campbell did a great job to track the ball sliding over to be in perfect position for a huge save to deny Van Zanten.

Two minutes later the Noles widened the lead. Van Zanten cleared the ball out of FSU’s defensive third. Dudley received the ball and knocked it ahead. The race was on as Olsson and Wesley sprinted after the ball. Olsson got to it first (even though she was step and a half behind when Dudley delivered the ball). Olsson took a brilliant first touch to knock the ball ahead. She caught up to the ball right outside the six and drove it past Campbell into the lower right corner of the goal to put the Seminoles up 3-1.

In the 61st minute Florida State kept hunting for goals. Gilchrist passed the ball up to Olsson who then drove through the midfield. Olsson attacked the Cardinal backline before laying the ball off to a wide open Brown on the right side. Brown one-timed a blast past Campbell (who was wrong footed) for the fourth goal.

Stanford never went away. In the 73rd minute the Cardinal earned one last chance. Erica Grilione drove the ball down the left flank. Grilione crossed the ball into the box. Maryn Wolf received the ball and made an impressive turn before firing for goal but her shot sailed high.

Florida State loves goals more than the Cookie Monster loves chocolate chips. In the 84th minute the Noles got one more. Flynn came up from her center back position to knock the ball ahead. Olsson one-timed it forward. Nya Harrison tried to clear it but her clearance didn’t go far enough and Olsson knocked it to Dudley. Jordynn tried to get it back to Olsson but the ball was deflected by Wesley. Unfortunately for her the ball went up into the air where Echegini outbattled Evans and knocked the ball into the back of the net for the final 5-1 margin of victory.

Post Game

Florida State had 16 shots (8 on goal) while Stanford had five shots (one on goal).

This was the first time in the last 36 games that Stanford has conceded more than one goal.

September 11, 2005 is last time Stanford conceded four or more goals.

This was a really impressive display. We have said all along that Florida State was never going to be beaten if they play their A game. If this wasn’t their A game it was very close to it and the results speak for themselves.

This was an immensely talented team that was experienced, unselfish and cared about nothing but winning. The result was a miraculous season going undefeated while playing a top 5 schedule. This team was dominant all year long but they took it to an even greater level later in the year. On October 19th against Pitt, Florida State went to the locker room down 1-0. They rallied against the Panthers to go eventually win 3-2 and that was the last time all season that the Noles would trail in a game. After that game the Seminoles would play seven games against teams currently in Massey’s top 25. The Noles outscored those opponents 23-2.

I will publish another article soon with a bit more perspective about this year (and maybe a few words about next year) but all the players deserve so much credit. Coach Pensky and his staff deserve kudos as well.

There is really no doubt about how good this team is relative to the rest of the nation. Stanford is Massey’s number two team. The Cardinal are really good. However, for most of that game it seemed like they were just hanging on. It sometimes felt like FSU had 12 or 13 players on the pitch. Florida State basically dominated from pillar to post. At no time (not for a second) did it seem like Stanford would win this game.

With all due respect to Pensky and his staff (they did a wonderful job this year) but this game was about the players. Florida State has the best roster in soccer and it isn’t close.

Again, I will have more on this team and this season soon (I need to collect my thoughts a bit more) but I will leave you with a few words for now: