No. 3 Florida State (7-0-0, 2-0 ACC) defeated Syracuse (2-7-1, 0-2 ACC) 3-2 at Syracuse, NY.
Syracuse jumped ahead in the third minute. The Orange chipped the ball into FSU’s defensive third. Heather Gilchrist left the ball for Cristina Roque who had stepped up a couple of yards outside the box. Roque tried to knock it back to Gilchrist but Liesel Odden stepped in to intercept the pass. Odden then easily kicked the ball into the wide open goal to give the Orange a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth minute Huff attacked the defense in the Orange defensive third. She found Beata Olsson who timed her run perfectly in the box. Olsson sent a left footed shot for the right corner but SU keeper Shea Vanderbosch came off her line and knocked the ball away with her left foot for the save.
In the sixth minute Kaitlyn Zipay received a throw-in and spotted Olsson in the box. Olsson took a touch and then fired from the edge of the six. Shea Vanderbosch was there making herself big for the impressive save.
In the seventh minute the Noles got on the board. Jordynn Dudley worked against the defense right outside the box. She chipped it to Ran Iwai who was making a run into the box. Iwai barely beat the defender to the ball chipping it toward the six. Beata Olsson hustled over and made a gorgeous play to lift the ball over Vanderbosch into the back of the net.
In the 13th minute Olsson was posting up in the box to receive a throw-in. She deftly knocked it into the path of Leilanni Nesbeth who was charging into the box. Nesbeth one-timed a hard strike for goal but Shea Vanderbosch was there once again for the save.
In the 25th minute Dudley attacked the defense on the left flank. She quickly cut back and then fired a rocket for goal. Shea Vanderbosch (again) was there for the sparkling save leaping up and deflecting the ball with her right hand.
FSU kept the pressure on in the 26th minute. Iwai chipped a dangerous ball into the box. Onyi Echegini was there to one time a volley toward goal but Vanderbosch was there for yet another impressive save.
In the 40th minute the Noles generated another chance. Mimi Van Zanten controlled a loose ball. She one-timed it over to Lily Farkas who was open on the edge of the 18. Farkas took a couple of touches and then laced a left footed shot toward goal that clanged off the crossbar.
The Orange grabbed the lead in the 45th minute. Alyssa Abramson sent a searching ball into the box. Gilchrist tried to head the ball away but her header bounded backwards and the ball floated over a surprised Cristina Roque into the back of the net. It was an own goal but they all count and Syracuse had a 2-1 lead going into halftime.
Florida State evened things up in the 58th minute. The Seminoles earned another corner kick. Huff sent the ball into the box. Hannah Pilley was guarding the post for SU but the ball hit off her shin and bounced into the back of the net. The score was tied at 2-2 after the two teams exchanged own goals.
In the 65th minute FSU earned another chance. Olivia Garcia squared a pass over for Leah Pais in the middle of the field. Pais one-timed a beautiful ball for Nesbeth who had found space in the box. Nesbeth took a touch and blasted a shot for goal but once again Vanderbosch came up with an amazing save diving to her right to deny Nesbeth.
In the 66th minute Lauren Flynn spotted an open Garcia in the box. Flynn sent a gorgeous ball over the top that fell just right for Garcia to control it. Garcia took a touch and fired for goal as she slipped down. Vanderbosch dove to her left to block the ball over the endline denying Garcia.
In the 74th minute Nesbeth knocked the ball into Olsson’s path. Beata sent a left footed laser toward goal that caromed off the crossbar. Garcia ran in for the header off the rebound but she couldn’t get it down and it floated over the crossbar.
In the 82nd minute the Noles generated yet another chance. Olsson found Dudley on the right flank. Dudley attacked the defense and then fired a left footed drive for goal. However, (stop me if you have heard this before) Vanderbosch was there to get her right hand up to knock the ball away for another fantastic save.
I’m told that if you knock on the door enough times you will eventually break it down. That was true tonight for Florida State in the 84th minute. Flynn drove the ball through the midfield. She spotted Echegini on the left flank. Echegini dribbled to the edge of the 18 before uncorking a perfectly placed shot that (finally) beat Vanderbosch to land in right corner of the goal to give the Noles a 3-2 victory.
Florida State had 32 shots (19 on goal) while Syracuse had 2 shots (one on goal).
FSU had 15 corner kicks to zero for the Orange.
Shea Vanderbosch had 16 saves for Syracuse and many of them were of the spectacular variety.
Jody Brown (Jamaica) and Maria Alagoa (Portugal) missed the game due to international duty.
This was an unusual game. Florida State gifted Syracuse two goals (SU returned the favor giving FSU a free goal) but the Noles had enough fortitude to overcome the errors.
Florida State peppered the Orange with shots. The Noles could have easily scored six or seven goals but Vanderbosch was simply phenomenal for Syracuse. The defense in front of her was not great as her defenders gave the Noles too much space on too many occasions but Vanderbosch bailed them out time after time. Her 16 saves were the second most ever for an SU keeper. This game has to be on the (very) short list of best games ever played by an Orange netminder.
And yet...FSU again found a way. Florida State just would not be denied. The Noles kept up a continuous amount of pressure and they finally broke through.
The Seminoles head to Chapel Hill on Sunday for a top 3 showdown with the #1 North Carolina Tar Heels. The game will kickoff at noon and will be broadcast on ESPNU.