Florida State Claims 2014 ACC Women's Soccer Championship

 

Seminoles make it two in a row as first-half goal stands up for 1-0 win over Virginia

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Florida State broke out a familiar script to capture its second straight Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Soccer Championship.

Junior defender Carson Pickett’s goal early in the first half proved to be enough as the top-seeded Seminoles blanked third-seeded Virginia, 1-0, before 928 fans Sunday afternoon at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.

The match was similar to the regular-season meeting between the top-five nationally ranked teams, which saw FSU score nine minutes into the first half en route to a 1-0 victory.  It also sparked comparisons to last season’s ACC Championship finale, which saw the Seminoles score early and then turn the match over to their defense in a 1-0 shutout of Virginia Tech.

“We know that it isn’t easy to win this championship,” FSU coach Mark Krikorian said. “All of the teams that play in this tournament are top 10 teams in the country. We know that when we come in that it is going to be a really challenging event. It is always our hope that we will come out of this tournament with a couple of wins and no injuries. It looks like we were able to do both of those this weekend.”

 With the victory, the Seminoles (18-1-1) captured their third overall ACC Championship under Krikorian’s watch and are hopeful of a No. 1 seed when NCAA Tournament pairings are announced on Monday at 4:30 p.m. (NCAA.com).

“Winning our third title in four years has been great,” said FSU senior forward Dagny Brynjarsdottir, the 2014 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and the MVP of this year’s Championship. “The team spirit has been great, and we defended really well as a team. It is great to go out as an ACC Champion. Now, we will look ahead to the NCAAs.”

The Cavaliers (18-2) hope to be seeded as high as No. 2 in the NCAA field.

“I don’t think we started very well today,” Virginia coach Steve Swanson said. “We didn’t defend very well, and that let us down. That is normally one of our strengths.”

Florida State broke through in the 17th minute on Sunday when Pickett, who also played a part in the Seminoles’ opening goal in Friday night’s 3-1 semifinal win over Notre Dame, headed in a shot from close range off a cross from Cheyna Williams. The goal was Pickett’s first of the season and the seventh of her career.

“They capitalized on a cross,” Swanson said.  “In games like this, the first goal is really important, and we found ourselves chasing the game. Playing against a team like this with so many weapons, you do not want to be chasing the game.”

FSU just missed making it 2-0 with just less than 20 minutes remaining in the opening half. Brynjarsdottir’s driving shot from near the end line deflected off a defender toward the net but was saved by diving Cavalier keeper Morgan Stearns.

Florida State held a 6-4 edge in total shots – including four on goal – in the first 45 minutes, but Stearns registered three saves.

Stearns – who ended up with seven saves in the match – continued her solid work in goal in the second half. But Virginia was unable to counter defensively against the Seminoles, who posted their 13th shutout of the season and have allowed just three goals in 12 matches against ACC opposition this season.

“The quality of our defending was good,” said Krikorian. “Virginia had more looks at the goal than Notre Dame did on Friday, but you can’t play against top teams and expect to hold them to no looks.”

Florida State wound up with a 12-8 edge in total shots, and led 7-3 on corner kicks.  Seminole keeper Cassie Miller made two saves.

“The better team won today, and we congratulate Florida State on winning the ACC Championship,” Swanson said.