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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Kristin Grubka goal in the 60th minute was all that was needed Sunday night as second-ranked Florida State (21-1-1) defeated No. 21 UCF (18-5-0) 1-0 in the third round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship inside the Seminole Soccer Complex.
“Everyone that was here tonight was treated to a great Round of 16 battle,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “UCF was very, very competitive; fought very hard against us.
“I am very proud of our group, our effort. Overall, I thought our defending was quite good. Attack, we had a couple good looks but when you get to this stage of the season there isn’t going to be a whole lot of chances, so when you get that chance you have to take advantage of the moment and put the ball in the net which we did. We are feeling fortunate to move on and look forward to our next opponent.”
The Seminoles took advantage of a UCF foul deep in their attacking third when Jamia Fields was taken down from behind by Tatiana Coleman to set up the only goal of the game. Michaela Hahn faked like she was going to send the free kick across the box to the far post but instead slid the ball to the end line to a streaking Isabella Schmid.
“We drew it (the play) up in practice,” said Hahn on taking the free kick. “Mark (Krikorian) chose me to fake the pass and he had faith in me. I just went up and did what he told me to do. Yeah, it was a play that we just made up.”
Schmid out raced everyone to the ball before sending a cross inside the six-yard box where Grubka one-timed the shot from close range right between Knights’ keeper Connie Organ and the near post for the goal. The score was Grubka’s third of the season and fourth career goal in the NCAA Tournament.
“Michaela gave me a perfect ball,” said Schmid. “I saw Grubka in the box and knew that when Grubka was in the box that she was going to throw her whole body at it. I had faith in her that she would make the goal. Honestly, it (the play) did not (work in practice). It worked now.”
“We worked on the play in practice,” said Grubka. “The players (tonight) executed it very well. I saw it go back behind me so I just turned to try and find a rebound and luckily it came to me. I just tried to hit it on frame and it went in.”
With the win, Florida State advances to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship for the 10th year in a row, continuing the longest active streak in the nation. The Noles will face South Carolina on Friday, November 28 at 2 pm in Tallahassee. The Gamecocks defeated North Carolina 1-0 earlier on Sunday in Chapel Hill.
“It’s definitely exciting,” added Grubka on FSU advancing to the Elite Eight. “First think I said is that we get to spend Thanksgiving together, I always like that.”
Sunday’s third round match in Tallahassee, which was originally scheduled to start at 1 pm, was delayed six hours due to weather. After the weather cleared, play finally got underway at 7 pm.
Neither team found the back of the net through the first 45 minutes of action but both schools came close taking one off the post.
The first shot of the game came from UCF as Ashley Spivey sent a shot from about 25 yards that clanked off the left post and out of bounds. Florida State’s chance came in the 43rd minute as Berglind Thorvaldsdottir blasted a shot from 16 yards out that hit off the left post. The Icelandic native was the first one to the rebound but her second shot was blocked by the UCF defense and cleared.
Organ came through with a tremendous save for the Knights in the eighth minute on a shot by Schmid. The Seminole midfielder sent a shot from about 30 yards out that was headed under the crossbar but Organ tipped the ball up and over the crossbar to keep the game deadlocked at zero.
Spivey was at it again in the 37th minute as her header from 12 yards out sailed just wide of the left post. The Noles had trouble clearing the ball on the play after the Knights did a nice job of maintaining possession and mounting pressure inside the 18-yard box.
Florida State went into the locker room with a 9-6 advantage in shots, while both teams recorded two corners. Both keepers registered two saves.
The Seminoles did a fantastic job of limiting UCF’s chances in the second half holding the Knights to just one shot en route to their third shutout in as many games in the NCAA Tournament.
UCF could not take advantage of a break away early in the second half as the Knights did a nice job of getting the ball behind the Seminole defense following a long throw by Megan Campbell. Coleman sent a pass down the field to a streaking Kayla Darden, who found herself one-on-one with Miller. With Darden dribbling toward the left post, Miller did a nice job of cutting off the angles in which to get a shot off forcing Darden to send a pass across the 18-yard box to no one.
“That was a transition moment and UCF has some very, very athletic kids,” Krikorian said. “They got behind us and Cass had to come out, took a good angle to minimize the goal and made it hard for their player to finish.”
The only UCF shot of the second half came in the second half as Spivey sent one high from long distance in the 86th minute. Spivey finished the game with a match-high five shots.
“We moved some players around but did not do anything significant,” added Krikorian on his team’s defensive adjustments in the second half. “UCF is a high energy team. They are very hard working, they are very athletic. We thought if we were able slow the game down; settle it with some more passing and keeping the ball a little bit that it would take some of their energy away. I’m not sure how good of a job we did, but certainly they didn’t have a number of looks on goal as they did in the first half.”
Schmid led the Seminoles on Sunday with three shots, while Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Grubka and Thorvaldsdottir all had two shots apiece.
With the win, Florida State extended its current unbeaten streak to a school-record 18 games (17-0-1) surpassing the previous mark of 17 set in 2013. The Seminoles also secured their 16th straight victory at home in NCAA Tournament play while improving to 34-1-0 all-time during the postseason inside the Seminole Soccer Complex.
Tickets for Friday’s quarterfinal match against South Carolina can be purchased over the phone at 888-FSU-NOLE, in person at the Seminole Ticket Office located in Building C of the University Center and online at Seminoles.com beginning Monday afternoon. Tickets will also go on-sale at the Seminole Soccer Complex beginning at 1:00 p.m., on Friday, November 28.
$7 – Adults
$3 – Children (3-18), Students & Senior citizens 50+
$1 – Children (2 and under)
Free – The 100 FSU students with a valid ID (Friday at 5 pm ONLY)