FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A goal by Tiffany McCarty in the 17th minute was the difference Sunday afternoon as top-ranked Florida State (6-0-0) remained undefeated on the year with a 1-0 victory over Arkansas (3-3-0) in front of a packed crowd of 1,036 inside Razorback Field.
It marked the second straight 1-0 victory for the Seminoles over the Razorbacks as FSU won the first meeting in the series by the same margin in 2010 when Tori Huster scored the golden goal just 19 seconds into the first overtime period.
“Our kids battled hard for 90 minutes,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “Again, we weren’t quite good in and around the goal. Our decision making in the final third has to be cleaner and a little smarter in the penalty box.
“It was a long trip and we had a hard game on Friday night. Arkansas was very well prepared and very well coached. Anytime you can go on the road and win, you have to take some positive feelings out of the trip.”
With the win, Florida State improved to 5-0-0 in one-goal games and 2-0-0 against the SEC this year.
“It was a hard fought game,” said McCarty. “It was back and forth especially in the second half as both teams had their chances, but we were able to finish ours to come away with the victory.”
McCarty was credited with the eventual game-winner early in the first half as she put forth a great effort in the six-yard box following a nice pass from Jamia Fields. McCarty grabbed the pass from Fields down near the end line on the right side of the pitch. After avoiding a Razorback defender, Arkansas keeper Kelly Roliard tried to slide in to break up the play but did not get enough of the ball with her feet as McCarty dribbled around her and scored into the empty net to give FSU the one-goal advantage.
“I kind of made a wide run, saw Jamia and made some eye contact,” added McCarty. “She played the ball into the seam. I saw the defender coming, so I decided to cut the ball back and was able to finish the play. It was a good pass by Jamia as she beat three people with the pass.”
The goal for the Laurel, Md., native was her third of the season and 10th career game-winner. The assist for Fields was her third in 2012.
The Seminoles put a lot of pressure on the Razorbacks for a majority of the contest finishing the match with 19 shots including six on goal. Fields led all players on Sunday with four shots including two on frame in 72 minutes of action.
The Florida State defense did a nice job of limiting Arkansas to a few offensive chances as the backline of Ines Jaurena, Kristin Grubka, Tiana Brockway and Carson Pickett, who made her first collegiate start on Sunday, held the Razorbacks to just two shots on goal.
Arkansas finished the match with eight shots but only two were on goal as both were saved by Kelsey Wys. Wys played all 90 minutes in goal to post her third shutout of the season and improve to 6-0-0 on the year.
“We didn’t give up a whole lot of chances today,” added Krikorian. “We had a feeling going into the game that one of their methods of scoring would come through counter attacks. We knew they had some kids up front that were pretty quick. It kind of played out as we expected with some balls behind the backline and then some opportunities on their part to use their pace to get behind, but Kelsey was once again in very good position and handled the things she needed to. I thought overall the backline did a nice job today.”
The victory against the Razorbacks was also significant for Krikorian as it marked the 300th of his college coaching career. Krikorian, who is in his 19th season as a college coach and eighth season at the helm of the Florida State program, sits with a career college record of 300-84-20.
“Certainly, this milestone speaks to the quality of the players that I have coached during my career and my longevity as well,” said Krikorian. “When you work hard at something you want to be successful, but I don’t think a lot of coaches are measuring their successes by the number of wins they have. Three hundred wins are a lot of wins and I am certainly thankful for having had the opportunity to coach a lot of good players and to work with a lot of good coaches on my staffs along the way.”
Florida State’s Isabella Schmid registered the first shot of the game in the fourth minute as she fired a shot just over the crossbar from about 22 yards outs. Dagny Brynjarsdottir followed with a shot just wide of the left post over a minute later.
Arkansas’ first good look of the first half came in the 25th minute off a long range shot from Teni Butler but Wys was there for the save on the left post. The shot came from about 35 yards out off a Seminole defensive clear following a Razorback throw-in.
Less than two minutes later, Arkansas’ Allie Chandler tried to bend a shot into the far post from the left side of the field. Wys made a nice diving stab on the ball and was able to maintain possession as she fell to the ground.
In the 29th minute, Jaurena made a great effort to get in on a direct free kick from Brockway. She ran in behind the wall and flicked a header shot on goal from four yards out that was saved by Roliard.
The Seminoles controlled the offensive flow for a majority of the first half and went into the locker room with a 9-3 advantage in shots, while both teams attempted one corner. Schmid led all players as she attempted three shots in the first 45 minutes of action.
A shaky start to open the second half for Florida State almost cost them the lead but Arkansas missed on two golden opportunities. The first came off a corner kick as Lindsey Mayo one-timed a header wide of the left post. The second came off a defensive miscue inside the penalty box but Wys came out to cut off the angle and break up the play forcing a shot by Chandler wide of the right post.
Arkansas’ Roliard made two nice saves to keep the deficit at one on shots by Jessica Price and Fields in a span of four minutes early in the second half.
The Seminoles drew a direct free kick from just outside the 18-yard box in the 67th minute, but the design play ended with Brockway slipping a shot just wide of the right post.
Arkansas answered right back 41 seconds later as Alex Starrett got in behind the Seminole defense and fired a shot wide of the far post and out of play.
Hikaru Murakami was denied her first career goal with seven minutes left in regulation as an Arkansas defender made a great save off the line. Price made a spectacular play down on the end line to keep the ball in play. After a few nice moves to avoid a defender, Price sent a low cross into the box that Murakami one-timed on goal but the shot was saved.
Florida State kept the Razorbacks at bay for a remainder of the game as the last two shots attempted by Arkansas were no harm on goal. The last threat for Arkansas came in the 89th minute when the Razorbacks won a corner and the header off the corner by Allie Tripp went well wide of the left post.
The top-ranked Seminoles will return to the field on Thursday, September 13 for the ACC opener at home against No. 4 Duke. Match time is set for 7:00 p.m. inside the Seminole Soccer Complex. The game will broadcast live on ESPN3, while live stats will be available via gametracker. Fans can always receive in-game updates on Twitter @FSU_Soccer. Also, do not forget to like the Seminole Soccer team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FSUSoccer.