By: Scott Moriak – Assistant Sports Information Director
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A hard-fought battle between two top-10 teams needed all 90 minutes to decide a winner at the Seminole Soccer Complex on Sunday afternoon as No. 2 Florida State (13-1-0, 6-0-0 ACC) earned a 2-1 victory over No. 9 Virginia Tech (12-3-0, 3-3-0 ACC) on a header from Dagny Brynjarsdottir in the 87th minute.
“Heck of a battle,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “Two top-10 teams slugging it out in a good, hard, physical game. A lot of action and we are thrilled to come out with a victory. Certainly a hard-fought victory and well-earned as well.”
Senior Marta Bakowska-Mathews opened the scoring in the 82nd minute, putting away a nice drop pass from Brynjarsdottir at the top of the box curling the ball inside the right post to give FSU a 1-0 lead. The goal was her eighth of the season, matching her single-season career-high from 2013.
“I saw Dagny making a slashing run across the box and there was no one around me,” said Bakowska-Mathews. “Even though she wasn’t facing me, I was lucky that she heard me and passed me the ball back. Jamia was swinging out wide but I saw that I could bend it, so I was like, ‘I’ll bend it far post.’”
Virginia Tech answered right back 32 seconds later on a free kick from 19 yards by Kallie Peurifoy. The free kick came after a foul was called on Kristin Grubka which resulted in a yellow card just outside the 18-yard box.
The goal by the Hokies snapped FSU’s scoreless minute streak at 589 minutes – the third longest streak in school history. It also marked the first goal allowed by the Seminoles in ACC play this year.
Florida State took the lead for good off a throw-in from Megan Campbell in the 87th minute that found the head of Brynjarsdottir inside the six-yard box. The Iceland native put the ball away for her eighth goal of the season and the fourth in her last four games against the Hokies.
Despite playing 45 minutes of scoreless soccer, the Seminoles had some excellent chances in the first half while limiting VT’s possessions. Junior Cheyna Williams beat the Hokie keeper on a dribble in the fourth minute but her shot was blocked by a defender. Junior Isabella Schmid added a sliding shot from the top of the 18 in the ninth minute that needed a diving save from VT’s Caroline Kelly to keep the ball out of the back of the net.
Two great Florida State opportunities came in the 29th minute when junior Carson Pickett ripped a blast from 25 yards that ricocheted off the crossbar and then was cleared out past the sideline by a Virginia Tech defender. On the ensuing throw-in, Grubka flicked a ball on goal that deflected off Berglind Thorvaldsdottir and away from the net.
“I thought that we had some good looks,” added Krikorian. “We had a number of good opportunities and it seemed like we kept missing the target. But my thought is if you can continue to get quality chances, eventually it is going to happen for you. And fortunately enough for us, it did.”
The second half saw more action on both sides of the pitch, with 20 total shots, 12 total fouls and three yellow cards – VT’s Ashley Meier (53’) and FSU’s Jamia Fields (76’) and Grubka (82’).
Virginia Tech had two great scoring chances off defensive miscues in the second half. In the 52nd minute, forward Murielle Tiernan broke away down the middle of the field but her shot was stopped on a kick save from Cassie Miller. In the 61st minute, another FSU turnover resulted in the ball at Tiernan’s feet as she ripped a shot on goal that was caught by Miller. The redshirt freshman keeper finished with four saves on the afternoon.
“My biggest concern is that we gave them two very good looks at our goal,” added Krikorian. “We basically played them in on breakaways and fortunately Cassie Miller came up big for us. And those kinds of moments are ones we are going to be awful careful about. Virginia Tech is a tough team and a good team. They are resilient and they’re fighting and credit to them.”
The win was Florida State’s ninth in a row and ninth straight over Virginia Tech. FSU improved to 15-0-1 all-time against the Hokies.
Florida State is off to a 6-0-0 start in the ACC for just the second time and is tied atop the league standings with North Carolina.
The Seminoles next take to the pitch on Saturday, Oct. 18 as they travel to Pittsburgh to start a three-game road trip against conference foes. Kickoff against the Panthers will be at 12:00 p.m. ET.