Florida State Rallies Past Virginia, 2-1, to Advance to ACC Championship

Nov. 4, 2011

By Rob Daniels for theACC.com

CARY, N.C. – It started like basketball and became a soccer purist’s – and a Seminole’s – dream sequence.

Florida State forward Janice Cayman, establishing soccer’s rough equivalent of post position on a defender, took a pass 30 yards from the goal, turned and fired an astonishing shot past Virginia’s leaping goalkeeper with 15 minutes left to lift the Seminoles to a 2-1 win over Virginia on Friday and into the championship game of the ACC Tournament.

The goal was the second play of considerable skill in a seven-minute span that turned around a game the Cavaliers led 1-0 at halftime. It put FSU into its sixth title game and the first in which it will not face North Carolina. Defending champion Wake Forest awaits after a 2-1 win over top-seeded Duke earlier in the evening.

“Sixth time?” joked Seminoles coach Mark Krikorian. “Geez. We must be good, huh?” For Florida State, it was a watershed evening on a rainy night. The Noles had never beaten UVa in 20 previous meetings (0-16-4).

“We all agreed we should write history tonight,” Cayman said. “And I think we did.”

They did it with two compelling plays with a 20-mph wind at their backs. Cayman, her back to the net, couldn’t have been thinking about a rapid-fire shot, could she? There was virtually nothing anybody in orange and blue could do about this. Chantel Jones, the Cavs’ 5-foot-11 keeper, jumped and had reason to believe she’d tip the ball. Players try these shots on a lark all the time, but they almost invariably fly over the crossbar.

Not this time.

“I surprised myself, too, a little bit,” Cayman said. “I heard people shouting, ‘Shoot it. Shoot it.’ So I took my shot.”

Only a few minutes earlier, the Cavs were seemingly in control, having taken a 1-0 lead with an 11-2 edge in shots into and past halftime.

The Noles drew even in the 54th minute with on a tremendous goal that displayed the anticipation and speed of Tiffany McCarty, who entered the night tied for the conference’s points lead with 32. McCarty chased down a header flicked on by Dagny Brynjarsdottir from near midfield, and she found herself one-on-one with Jones, whom she beat with a 15-yard shot.

The Cavaliers scored in the 28th minute when Lauren Alwine headed home a perfect cross from Molly Menchel, and they pressed forward in search of a second tally while the wind was to their advantage. When they couldn’t get it, they were ultimately vulnerable to a skilled Seminole team.

The Cavs nearly tied it in the final five minutes when Caroline Miller delivered a cross and the wet ball slipped through the hands of goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. Defender Ines Jaurena cleared it off the line and preserved the lead for FSU.

“Not the first time that happened,” Wys said. “But my team always has my back. We’ve played two tough (tournament) games and showed a lot of character.”