BOCA RATON, Fla. – For the second year in a row and third time in school history Florida State will play in the final game of the season. On Friday night, the second-ranked Seminoles (23-1-1) took one step closer to claiming the program’s first national championship after blanking third-ranked Stanford (20-2-3) 2-0 in the second semifinal of the 2014 Women’s College Cup inside FAU Stadium.
Cheyna Williams continued her torrid play in the postseason as she scored both Seminole goals on Friday night for her second straight multi-goal game and third of the season. The Hampton, Ga., native broke a scoreless tie with her first goal of the evening in the 16th minute before sealing the win with her second goal in the 87th minute.
The Seminole defense posted their fifth shutout in as many games this postseason while extending their streak of not allowing a goal to 540 consecutive minutes. The streak is the fourth longest without giving up a goal in school history and the second longest streak posted this year. FSU went over 589 minutes without allowing a goal from mid-September to mid-October.
The shutout was held intact thanks to a brilliant save by Kirsten Crowley in the 51st minute. With Stanford looking for the equalizer, an early second half miscue by the Seminoles almost provided the Cardinal with that opportunity.
Stanford won possession of a ball played down the middle of the pitch by goalkeeper Cassie Miller. The Cardinal quickly played the ball out to the left to the speedy Chioma Ubogagu. The senior forward got around the Seminole backline before sending a low shot that was headed inside the right post and just beyond the reach of a diving Miller. But Crowley came out of nowhere to make a tremendous save to keep FSU’s one-goal lead intact.
Miller played all 90 minutes between the posts for the Seminoles finishing the game with two saves.
Florida State struck first in the 16th minute on a pretty finish by Williams from just inside 18 yards. The scoring play started when Carson Pickett hit a shot off the crossbar from the left side. Stanford tried to clear the ball but Michaela Hahn kept possession for Florida State inside its attacking third. Hahn quickly played out to the right to Emma Koivisto, who sent a pass right to the feet of Williams. The junior forward dribbled to her left before changing direction and blasting a shot into the upper left corner for her 13th goal of the season.
The goal against Stanford marked the first for the Seminoles against the Cardinal in over 195 minutes.
The Seminoles first scoring opportunity came in the sixth minute off FSU’s second corner kick of the match. Pickett sent the kick to the far post where Dagny Brynjarsdottir one-timed a shot on frame from about 12 yards out, but a Cardinal player was there on the line for the team save to keep the game deadlocked at zero.
Late in the second half with the Seminoles clinging to a one-goal lead, Florida State was called for a questionable foul deep in Stanford’s attacking third leading to a Cardinal free kick from about 20 yards out. Lo’eau LaBonta took the free kick sending a bender from the left side to the far post, but Miller was there with the diving save.
Just over four minutes later, Williams closed the door on any chance of a Stanford comeback as the junior forward ran in on a long pass from Jamia Fields into open space. With Cardinal keeper Jane Campbell the only person to beat, Williams made a nice move to evade the diving keeper before finishing the play off with an open net goal for her second score of the evening and 14th goal of the season.
Williams now has a team-best six goals in the NCAA Tournament and has registered four goals in her last two games.
With the win, Florida State extended its school-record unbeaten streak to 20 games (19-0-1), while improving to 10-0-1 away from Tallahassee. The Seminoles outshot the Cardinal 11-7 for the match and held the advantage in corners at 7-4.
On the Sunday, the NCAA will crown a new Division I women’s soccer champion as the Seminoles will face ACC-rival Virginia, who defeated Texas A&M 3-1, in the first semifinal on Friday. It will mark the third meeting between the Seminoles and Cavaliers this year with FSU winning the previous two matches by identical 1-0 scores.
Sunday’s championship game is set for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff on ESPNU.