Nov. 2, 2008
RALEIGH, N.C. – Sixth-ranked Florida State (14-2-2, 8-1-1 ACC) closed out the regular season with a 5-2 victory over NC State (8-12-0, 0-10-0). After trailing by as many as two goals on Sunday afternoon, the Seminoles scored five unanswered goals in the second half to cap the come-from-behind victory and finish the regular season on a nine-game (8-0-1) unbeaten streak. Senior Sarah Wagenfuhr registered a career-high two goals, while freshman Tiffany McCarty tied a career-high with her third four-point game of the season to pace the Seminoles in the win.
“Overall, I thought we played okay,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “Even though we were down 1-0 at halftime, it felt like the goals might come if we just continued to be persistent. To give up an early goal in the second half was a little bit troubling, but to answer less than a minute later was the appropriate response from our group. But I think our depth and movement off the ball created some good chances for us as the game wore on.”
It seemed like déjà vu on Sunday as the Seminoles found themselves down two goals for the second straight game. After battling back on Thursday evening to earn a 2-2 tie against North Carolina, Florida State turned up the offensive intensity in the second half against NC State and scored five goals for the fourth time this season. It tied the largest come-from-behind victory in school history as the only other time the Seminoles erased a two-goal deficit to come back to win a game was 2001 when FSU defeated Duke 3-2 in overtime. This is the third time this season that Florida State has been down a pair of goals to only battle back and get a positive result. The first came against South Carolina as the Seminoles and Gamecocks battled to a 3-3 tie.
“We have a nice mentality,” explained Krikorian. “I feel our kids are committed to working hard for each other. Once we get down by two goals, we seem to take it to another level. I thought our pressure was quite good both on the attacking side and on the defending side.”
Sunday’s road victory was also significant as the Seminoles extended their road unbeaten streak to nine games (8-0-1), tying the school record for the longest such streak in school history. The previous school record was set over two seasons from 2004 to 2005 when FSU posted a record of 7-0-2.
The win was the Seminoles eighth in a row in the series as it extended their unbeaten steak over the Wolfpack to 10 games (8-0-2). Florida State improved to 5-8-1 in closing out the regular season.
Florida State had the game’s first scoring opportunity on a header by Jessica Price in the fifth minute. The shot came off the first corner of the game as the ball was served into the box by senior defender Sarah Wagenfuhr.
Making her fourth start of the season, Toni Pressley unloaded on a blast from just outside the box as Wolfpack keepr Kim Kern was there for the save along the left post.
For the third time in the last four games in the series, Florida State found itself trailing 1-0 to the Wolfpack in the first half as NC State struck first in the 25th minute on a goal by Lindsay Vera. The senior forward received a pass off a short corner from Katie Ruiz, turned and fired a blast across the pitch into the upper left corner of the net for her ninth goal of the season.
“We knew that NC State was going to pose some challenges for us,” added Krikorian. “We knew they had Lindsay Vera, who is a pretty special player for that team. She did a good job of getting around the penalty box and making a quality finish.”
The Seminoles got a great look on goal with less than six minutes remaining as Lauren Switzer sent a beautifully played ball into the box. Marissa Kazbour timed her run perfectly as she placed a header on goal but Kern was there for the point blank save.
Despite holding the advantage in both shots and corner kicks following the first 45 minutes, Florida State went in to the locker room trailing for just the fourth time this season.
It took all of three minutes and 18 seconds for the Wolfpack to add to their lead as Paige Dugal one-timed a shot passed a diving Kate Milstead to give NC State a two-goal advantage. Off a free kick following a Florida State foul, the ball floated into the Wolfpack’s offensive third. Katrin Schmidt got a head on it, but the ball caromed off the side of head and into the box where Dugal collected the rebound and found the back of the net for her fourth goal of the season.
Florida State answered with its first goal of the game just 29 seconds later to cut the Wolfpack lead in half. Schmidt received a through ball from McCarty and found her self one-on-one with Kern beating the Wolfpack keeper near post for her second goal on the year.
The Seminoles received the equalizer in the 61st minute on a penalty kick by Wagenfuhr. Sanna Talonen was grabbed from behind in the box by a Wolfpack defender following a break away opportunity. Wagenfuhr stepped up and hammered the pk into the left corner for her third goal of the season. She remained perfect on the season in penalty kick opportunities connecting on her third try in as many chances.
Talonen gave Florida State its first lead of the afternoon putting away a wide open header off a short cross on the end line from Lauren Switzer with just under seven minutes to play. McCarty also picked up an assist on the play as she found Switzer open on the left flank.
The goal was Talonen’s team leading 14th of the season as the Finnish native has now scored a goal in six straight games and in eight of her last nine. She finished the regular season with nine goals in ACC play, while nine of her 14 goals have come on the road in 2008.
The goal by Talonen would register as the eventual game-winner, her sixth of the season. In just two seasons at Florida State, she now holds the school record for career game-winning goals with 12.
The Seminoles tacked on their fourth goal of the afternoon following a Wolfpack foul deep in the Seminole offensive third. After Tori Huster was cut down from behind, Wagenfuhr took the direct free kick from about 23 yards and bent a beautiful ball into the upper left corner for her first multi-goal game of her career.
McCarty sealed the deal in the waning minutes scoring her 10th goal of the season with 43 seconds left in the game. The Laurel, Md., native came off the bench in Sunday’s victory and added a much needed spark to the Seminole offense as she had a hand in three of the five Seminole goals.
“I thought Tiff McCarty was absolutely magnificent today,” explained Krikorian. “I felt she came in and made a tremendous impact in the game, not just scoring a goal and adding an assist or two, but I thought her movements with and without the ball were fantastic.”
Switzer was credited with the assist on the play her third double assist game of the season and fourth multi-point performance on the year.
With Sunday’s victory, the Garnet and Gold wrapped up the regular season in second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It marks the eighth year in a row that the Seminoles have finished no lower than fourth place in the league. Florida State will remain in North Carolina as the Seminoles now turn their attention to the ACC Tournament which begins Wednesday, November 5 at WakeMed Park in Cary, N.C. The time and opponent for the Seminoles will be determined on Monday morning as announced by the league office.