RALEIGH, N.C. – After 90 minutes of physical and defensive soccer, No. 9 Florida State (10-2-2, 4-1-2 ACC) was able to record its tenth shutout of the season, blanking NC State (9-5-1, 3-3-1 ACC) by a score of 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at the Dail Soccer and Track Complex.Megan Connolly’s goal in the 56th minute proved to be the game winner as the Noles won their fifth road game of the season.
“What a tough battle it was today,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “Very happy with our group, coming in and playing against a very competitive team from NC State and it was our fourth road game in a row. Our kids came in and battled hard and when the big moment was there, the big players came through for us to change the game.
“When you are playing in a game such as this, that is so competitive and such a battle, you know that it might just take one moment to earn the result for one team or the other. Fortunately for us, we were able to get that today.”
The first half was a defensive contest, as Florida State registered just four shots and held the Wolfpack without a shot in the opening 45 minutes.
The best offensive chance for the Noles came in the 29th minute as Connolly sent an entry pass up to Natalia Kuikka on the left side and the sophomore made a crisp pass through the box for Olivia Bergau. The sophomore midfielder took her shot from the left, but it went just wide of the net.
NC State came out of the intermission and put the pressure on Florida State, taking its first shot in the 46th minute and earning a pair of corner shots at 51:25 and 52:13. The Seminole defense withstood the onslaught and blocked shots from Paige Griffiths and Kia Rankin and the final shot of the threat by Griffiths went high.
Less than a minute later, the Noles broke the stalemate as Dallas Dorosy found Bergau down the right side of the pitch. She drove toward the end line and sent a low cross into the six-yard box for Connolly to redirect past NCSU goalkeeper Sydney Wootten for a 1-0 FSU lead.
Florida State continued to pressure the Wolfpack defense, as the next four shots in the game – all by FSU – were on frame by Malia Berkely (58’), Kaycie Tillman (64’), Kirsten Crowley (73’) and Taylor Hallmon (76’).
NC State had a quality chance in the 70th minute, as Ricarda Walkling crossed in a ball from the left to Gladys Loyas in the six-yard box, but she misplayed it off her foot for an FSU goal kick.
The Wolfpack battled to final whistle and FSU goalkeeper Cassie Miller came up with two spectacular saves in the final seven minutes of the match. A long and high ball bounced over the FSU defense in the 84th minute, enabling Rachel Cox to get on the end of it near the penalty spot. Her one-timed shot was blocked away by Miller as she came off the goal line to challenge the play.
In the 89th minute, NC State’s Tziarra King received the ball just outside the 18-yard box on the right, spun around her defender and drove a shot to the far post that was saved by Miller, giving the Wolfpack their fourth corner of the match.
As time in regulation ticked down, King took a corner that was headed out of danger by the FSU defense, but to the feet of Walkling. Berkely was able to challenge and win the ball, taking it into the corner and touching it off an NC State player for a throw-in, enabling the final seconds to run off the clock and closing out the victory.
“You sometimes only get one save a game, two saves a game and you have to react to that and mine came right there at the end,” said Miller. “Our team pushed through and did all of the little things in front of me and we came out with the win.”
The Seminoles return home to Tallahassee for their final two home games of the regular season on October 20 and 23. Thursday’s match against No. 4 Duke will be Florida State’s annual Paint it Pink game, with the game starting at 7:00 p.m. Prior to Sunday’s 1:00 p.m. game versus Louisville, we will honor Kirsten Crowley and Amanda Kopale for their careers with Senior Day recognitions.
Both matches will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra and live stats will be available on Seminoles.com. Admission is free for all home regular season games at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
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