Florida State (3-0) defeated South Florida (2-3) by a 5-1 score this afternoon in Tallahassee.
Florida State wasted no time attacking the Bulls. In the second minute Beata Olsson received the ball on the flank from Sophia Nguyen. Olsson took a touch and then lofted a gorgeous ball into the box. Jordynn Dudley used her size and athleticism to get her head onto it. She rammed a header from the edge of the six that slammed into the post.
The Seminoles kept up the pressure in the sixth minute. Gentiana Fetaj and Onyi Echegini got tangled up fighting for the ball. Fetaj fell to the ground and knocked the ball back to keeper Leire Herraez Gallach who handled the ball. The referee judged that Fetaj’s pass was a backpass and it resulted in an indirect free kick inside the box from about 14 yards out. Taylor Huff and LeiLanni Nesbeth stood over the ball. Huff touched it for Nesbeth and LeiLanni blasted a shot that went right into the wall.
In the seventh minute the Bulls generated a chance. Lauren Flynn was called for a foul on USF forward Peyton Vincze. Vivianne Bessette took the free kick from distance. Bessette sent a dangerous ball straight for goal that forced Cristina Roque to knock the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
Less than a minute after that corner kick Jordynn Dudley intercepted a USF pass in midfield. The freshman used her impressive speed to race down the field in the counter attack. Signe Markvardsen tried to give away the foul by grabbing Dudley but it was to no avail as Dudley flew past her. Dudley raced down the field. Georgia Brown had an angle and tried to intercept her but Dudley’s speed and power were too much. After getting by Brown, Dudley was one v. one with the keeper and the freshman did not miss. Dudley slotted the ball into the left corner past Herraez Gallach. It was Dudley’s first collegiate goal and it was an impressive one.
In the 13th minute FSU earned another opportunity. Huff received the ball in midfield and took it into the attacking third. Huff spotted Jody Brown making a run down the right flank. Brown eventually laid it off for Echegini who blasted a shot that was blocked.
In the 18th minute FSU earned a corner. Huff took the corner and lofted a beautiful ball into the six. Lauren Flynn got up just outside the six and drove a header for goal. However, Herraez Gallach came up huge diving to her right to snag the ball for the save.
In the 49th minute Brown and Huff played give and go on the right flank. Huff got the ball back and sent a dangerous cross into the box. Echegini was there and she pounded a header for goal but again Herraez Gallach was there to make the impressive reflex save.
FSU increased the lead in the 54th minute. Dudley kept the ball in the attacking third after a Herraez Gallach clearance. Dudley immediately attacked the goal weaving through defenders. Dudley created enough space to send a rocket for goal from about 21 yards out. Herraez Gallach got a hand on it but the ball had so much pace on it that it still bounded over the line and into the goal to give FSU a 2-0 lead.
In the 59th minute the Seminoles added even more insurance. Florida State earned another corner. Huff sent a hard drive into the box. The ball was deflected by a defender but it caromed right to Echegini at the edge of the box. Echegini volleyed the ball into the back of the net with her left foot to give the Noles a 3-0 lead.
The Noles went for more in the 64th minute. Brown charged for goal and fired a right footed shot that was saved by Herraez Gallach. USF tried to clear but Echegini blocked the clearance. Echegini tried to toe poke the ball into the net but her shot was blocked by Georgia Brown. Herraez Gallach was there to grab the loose ball.
In the 66th minute Dudley was on the attack going for the hat trick. Dudley received the ball on the left flank. She drove past the defense simply undressing her primary defender. She then put a move on Georgia Brown who had come over as the secondary defender. Dudley then fired a left footed missile that clanged off the post.
In the 70th minute FSU earned a penalty kick. Olivia Garcia received the ball on the left flank. Garcia put a move on the defender driving the ball to the endline for the cross. However, Serita Thurton knocked Garcia down with a little shove in the back. The whistle sounded and the referee pointed to the spot. Garcia stepped up for the penalty kick and calmly sent the ball into the lower left corner for the goal.
In the 76th minute the Noles almost added another. Kaitlyn Zipay found Leah Pais making a run inside the box. Pais sent a threatening ball across the goal mouth for Garcia who was lurking right outside the goal. The ball from Pais had Herraez Gallach beat. All Garcia had to do was tap it into the open goal but she was got a bit rushed and she muffed the shot. She got the ball back and sent a pass back for Zipay who soared the ball over the goal.
In the 81st minute the Bulls got on the board. USF earned a corner. Bessette sent the ball into the box. Micahela Hill leapt up and got a header on it at the edge of the six yard box. The ball fell for Amaris Hamilton-Grein who knocked the ball into the back of the net with her left foot.
In the 82nd minute FSU got the goal back. Garcia spotted Pais making a run into the box. Pais tried to run onto the ball but she was tripped up from behind by Georgia Brown. The referee pointed to the spot awarding FSU another penalty kick. Pais took the PK and blasted the ball past Herraez Gallach for the 5-1 margin of victory.
Florida State had 26 shots 13 on goal. South Florida had two shots and they were both on goal.
FSU now leads the all-time series against USF 11-0-1.
It was Leire Herraez Gallach’s first start in goal for USF.
Olivia Garcia celebrated her birthday today and she sang the National Anthem before the game.
How much should we take from this game? On one hand it was FSU’s first game in about two weeks and the Noles looked sharp for the most part. Don’t be fooled by USF’s 2-3 record. The Bulls have a win against LSU in Baton Rouge. LSU has a win at top 10 Texas. USF could easily be an NCAA Tournament team and Florida State simply dismantled them today. On the other hand, the Bulls were playing their backup keeper so they weren’t at full strength. However, while she may have been the backup, Leire Herraez Gallach actually played pretty well delivering eight saves.
The bottom line is that FSU would have scored a lot of goals against any keeper today. The Noles proved yet again that they are a really good team that is fully deserving of the top 5 ranking.
Jordynn Dudley put on a show today. Of course she had the brace but she easily could have had a couple more hitting the post on two other shots. Dudley has only played three games in college so you may think that I am going too far here but when you know, you know. Dudley has a rare blend of size, speed, athleticism and technical skill. She is a budding star. If she continues to finish as well as she did today she will be a terror for anyone because she will generate scoring chances with her talent. Dudley is an All-American in the making.
The Seminoles sent a message today against a good team. This was the first time that the full squad (minus Claire Rain who is out for the season) has been on the pitch together. It was a great debut.
Florida State will travel to Jacksonville to face North Florida on Thursday. The game will kickoff at 6pm and will be broadcast on ESPN+.