Seminoles Find A Way, Advance to @ACCWSoccer Final
Friday November 8, 2013
Florida State parlays two UNC own goals into 2-1 win
CARY, N.C. – Florida State has made a habit of winning close matches against North Carolina, and the Seminoles made history by claiming another in bizarre fashion on Friday night.
Head coach Mark Krikorian’s second-seeded team used a pair of UNC own goals – including one 2:43 into overtime— to slip past the third-seeded Tar Heels, 2-1, on Friday night and move into the title game of the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Soccer Championship.
Florida State (17-1-3) became the first-ever opponent to defeat UNC four straight times and will face fourth-seeded Virginia Tech (16-3-2) in Sunday’s 4 p.m. championship match at WakeMed Soccer Park. The second-seeded Seminoles, will be seeking their second ACC championship after claiming their first title here two years ago.
“I’m not sure from an aesthetic point of view that any of the purists are walking away thinking that we saw a great technical game, but we saw two very strong heavyweight teams go out there and battle,” Krikorian said. “Sometimes it is a matter of going out and competing, fighting and giving yourself a chance.”
The hard-luck loss left third-seeded UNC with a 17-4 record but still hopeful of a No. 1 regional seed when NCAA Tournament pairings are announced on Monday night.
A crowd of 5,192 viewed Friday night’s match, which was the 14th of the last 18 between the teams to be decided by one goal or less. Seven of the last 15 FSU-UNC meetings have gone into overtime. The Seminoles had defeated the Tar Heels three straight times by 1-0 scores prior to prevailing by a one-goal margin once again on Friday night’s bizarre finish.
“They do smart things and in the overtime in a crowded box they shot one across and it sort of pinged around a bit and ended up in the back of our net,” UNC coach Anson Dorrance said. “I certainly credit Mark and his staff and team. They’re tough to play against and they showed tonight again why.”
The teams battled to a scoreless draw in the first 45 minutes while combining for five shots. Two of third-seeded UNC’s three attempts were on goal, but FSU keeper Kelsey Wys – who had nine saves in the regular-season meeting between the teams – made the stop on both attempts.
The action picked up 1:13 into the second half, as Meg Morris slammed home a shot from 15 yards out on the right side off passes from Amber Munerlyn and Keailia Ohai to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead. The goal was Morris’ first of the season and UNC’s first goal against Florida State since Courtney Jones’ first-half score on Sept. 29, 2011.
Florida State just missed tying the score with 7:46 remaining in regulation as Marta Bakowska-Mathews lined a shot that caromed off the bottom cross bar and was ruled not to have penetrated the goal. The Seminoles missed on two more chances in the rebounding frenzy that followed, but ultimately weren’t to be denied.
Kristin Grubka headed a shot toward the goal from 10 yards out that was deflected by Tar Heel defenders into the goal to knot the score at 1-1 and set up overtime. It was the 14th time in 21 matches this season that the Seminoles had scored a goal after the 80th minute. Twelve of those scores were game-tying or game-winning goals.
“It is awesome, the fight that we have and what it does most of me is it gives me confidence that we will never doubt for a second that we can’t come back and win the game,” said FSU senior Kassey Kallman, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. “Being confident with four minutes, three minutes, two minutes left that your team is still going to score a goal and tie it up is very special and a very nice quality to have. Hopefully we can figure out how to score earlier.”
The Tar Heels played without ACC Offensive Player of the Year Crystal Dunn, who was sidelined due to a leg injury she suffered in practice on Tuesday. The 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy winner ranks third in the ACC in goals and fifth in points scored, despite missing two regular-season games due to U.S. National Team matches.
Friday night’s game was the only the second of Dunn’s college career that she has missed due to injury. Ironically, the first also came during the ACC Championship semifinal round during Dunn’s freshman year of 2010 (against Wake Forest). The Tar Heels are hopeful that Dunn can return to action in two weeks, meaning she might be available for the second round of the NCAA Tournament should UNC advance that far in postseason.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the result, but I wasn’t entirely disappointed with our play,” UNC’s Dorrance said. “I thought we did some really good things.”
FSU’s winning score in overtime came after the Seminoles’ Jamia Fields attempted a cross pass that was deflected off two Tar Heels players and into the net.
“Overall, I thought once again our group was resilient and was both physically and mental strong through the course of the game,” Krikorian said “From a defending side, I thought it was pretty good. We limited their chances and opportunities at our goal. We didn’t create enough, but I guess in the end we did create enough.”
Florida State will be seeking its seventh straight win over Virginia Tech when the teams meet on Sunday. The Seminoles scored a 2-1 win in the regular-season meeting between the teams at Blacksburg, Va., on Oct. 24. Virginia Tech reached the finals with a 4-2 upset of top-ranked and previously unbeaten Virginia on Friday night.