Nov. 16, 2008
AUBURN, Ala. – Behind a goal by Jessica Price, Florida State (16-2-3) advanced to the third round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 victory over Auburn (12-9-2) on a cold, brisk afternoon in Auburn, Ala. Price was responsible for the only goal on Sunday as the red-shirt freshman found the back of the net in the 39th minute to extend the Seminoles unbeaten streak to 12 games (10-0-2).
The win over Auburn was the eighth straight victory in the series for the Seminoles while it marked the fourth time that Florida State has eliminated the Tigers from the NCAA Tournament in nine postseason appearances. Three of those four victories have all come in the second round.
Florida State advances to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year and for the seventh time since 2000.
“I thought that we were really sharp in the first half and controlled the game really well,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “We had some good chances, obviously finishing one off with Jess Price. There were a number of chances in the first half and in the second as well. The quality of some of the finishing wasn’t quite good enough. Maybe some of the passes weren’t good enough as well. We were consistent through the game in eliminating their chances and that’s always the goal. Auburn threatened a couple of times, but it wasn’t anything too severe.”
“I’m proud of our kids,” added Krikorian. “They did what they had to do. We came on the road and advanced in the tournament. We thought that we had earned the right to play at home to start the tournament. It just shows how strong our kids’ character is to come to Auburn twice in one season and come out with two wins.”
Both teams alternated shots in the third minute of action as Amanda DaCosta sent the first Seminole shot wide of the left post. Auburn came right back with its first shot seconds later as Rebecca Howell sent a shot on goal but it was easily handled by FSU keeper Kate Milstead for her first save of the game.
With 14:15 left in the first half, the Seminoles put their first shot on goal on a header by freshman Tori Huster. Following an Auburn foul in FSU’s offensive third, Sarah Wagenfuhr sent a free kick into the box where Huster won the ball flicking a shot on goal. AU goalkeeper Allison Whitworth kept the game scoreless with one of her 12 saves on the day.
The Tigers had a dangerous scoring opportunity in the 33rd minute as a shot by Gabi Rivera ricocheted off the Seminole defense and on goal, but Milstead was there once again for the save to keep the game knotted at zero.
The Seminoles broke the scoreless tie in the 39th minute on goal by red-shirt freshman Jessica Price. Price received a pass from Amanda DaCosta just beyond the midfield stripe and ran a good 40 yards down the right side of the pitch with an Auburn defender marking her stride for stride. Price did a fantastic job of keeping the defender to her left as she went one on one with Tiger keeper Allison Whitworth. With Price closing in on the goal, the Libertyville, Ill., native sent a low lining cross clearing the outstretched arms of a diving Whitworth and inside the left post to give FSU an early 1-0 advantage.
“I laid a ball off to Amanda and she played it back to me,” explained Price. I got inside the back line and was able to get the ball into the back of the net.
Price’s goal was her third of the season and first since finding the back of the net against Florida Gulf Coast back on September 21. The assist for DaCosta was her second of the postseason. It also marked her second game-winning assist in as many games.
“It’s been awhile,” added Price on registering her first goal in almost two months. “I’m just thankful that it happened.”
Florida State went into the locker room with the advantage in both shots (9-4) and corners (3-1).
The Seminoles opened the second half with a barrage of shots, unleashing seven in the first 15 minutes. Price had another great opportunity as she send a bending ball on goal from down on the end line which Whitworth made a diving save.
In the 63rd minute, Auburn’s Katy Frierson sent blast wide from just outside the box for the first solid scoring opportunity of the second half for the Tigers.
Casey Short and Lauren Switzer made a couple long runs in the 66th minute. Short dribbled down the right side of the pitch before making a sharp cut inside between two Auburn defenders forcing Whitworth into a save situation. Switzer then countered with a long dribble right down the middle of the pitch unleashing on a blast from 25 yards out that caromed off the right post and out of bounds.
DaCosta got a great look on goal in the 72nd minute blasting a shot from the top of the box after receiving a pass from freshman forward Tiffany McCarty.
Auburn registered its first scoring threat in the 79th minute following a Florida State foul just outside the box. On the ensuing free kick, Frierson sailed a shot high over the crossbar and out of play.
The Tigers kept the pressure on in the closing minutes with Frierson once again leading the charge. The freshman midfielder sent a dangerous cross into the Seminole’s defensive third just out of the reach of Rivera who came sliding in from the left post.
With just under four minutes remaining, Auburn’s Caitlin King sent the final Tiger shot on goal from about 22 yards but Milstead was there for her sixth save of the day.
Florida State finished the game out shooting Auburn 26-10, while the Tigers held the edge in corners at 5-3. Milstead picked up her ninth shutout of the season as she made six saves in 90 minutes of action.
“I think that our team did a really good job today,” explained Price. “Everybody fought hard, both teams did, and we pulled out the victory. I think our midfield really dominated on the ground. We do a really good job of holding the ball and switching it.”
The Seminoles advance to the Round of 16 where they will host the Boston College Eagles. The Eagles defeated Northeastern earlier today by the score of 4-0. The date and time for the third round match is yet to be determined. Stay tuned to www.seminoles.com for further updates.