TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Extending its home unbeaten streak to 35 matches, No. 15/4 Florida State (2-0-0) not only battled a tough South Alabama team but also a heat index that was well above 100 degrees for most of the match, earning a 2-1 victory over the Jaguars (0-2-0) on Sunday afternoon at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
Junior midfielder Megan Connolly scored both Seminole goals on the afternoon for the second multi-goal match of her career, matching her output against UCF on September 10, 2015.
The South Alabama goal in the second half snapped an opponent’s streak of 516:52 minutes without scoring at the Seminole Soccer Complex, dating back to a goal by Virginia’s Veronica Latsko on September 26, 2016.
“Sometimes you have to go out and just grind it out, and I think that’s what we ended up doing today,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “I thought we were fairly comfortable in a lot of different parts of the game, but we weren’t dangerous enough. Credit to South Alabama, they had a good, organized game plan and were able to slow the tempo down in our play. In the end, we scored a couple of goals and were able to get the result.”
Florida State had the majority of possession in the early going, and junior Kaycie Tillman put the first FSU shot on goal in the 13th minute that was saved by USA’s Justice Stanford.
Connolly opened the scoring about two minutes later as freshman Bella Dorosy crossed a ball from the left into the box for Tillman, who played it back for Connolly to blast under the crossbar for a quick 1-0 lead.
Freshman Adrienne Richardson had a solid shot in the 20th minute of a free kick from Connolly that bounced around the penalty box, but the ball sailed just wide of the goal.
Senior Emma Koivisto started the second scoring chance for the Noles in the 39th minute playing a ball down the right side for Emily Madril. The freshman brought the ball back into the box before it crossed the end line toward sophomore Deyna Castellanos. The forward allowed the ball to slide by her for a wide-open Connolly to finish in the back of the net for a 2-0 Seminole lead.
Redshirt freshman Clara Robbins nearly made it 3-0 FSU before intermission as Madril sent the ball into the penalty box and Robbins collected it with her first touch before her shot required a diving save to keep it out of the net, as it was deflected away for a corner.
In the second half, South Alabama earned its first scoring chance in the 52nd minute as a foul just outside the penalty box set up a free kick for Chelsea Followwell. She bent the ball around the Seminole wall, but it was saved by FSU goalkeeper Cassie Miller.
The Jaguars kept up the pressure, earning three shots and a corner over the next three minutes before cutting the FSU lead to 2-1 at 59:35 as Followwell picked off a loose ball near midfield, dribbled in and scored on a shot from 20 yards.
The Noles continued to look for goal number three and had a great chance by Dorosy in the 63rd minute as freshman Gabby Carle crossed a ball into the box that was blocked out by the USA defense, but the ball went right to Dorosy for a blast that was directly to the keeper.
A pair of FSU freshman almost scored in the 72nd minute as Madril drove the ball down the left side before finding Madisyn Pezzino near the penalty spot. The midfielder’s shot got past the keeper but bounced off the near post.
The final 10 minutes of the match were very physical, with South Alabama’s Hanna Godfrey earning a yellow card at 84:10 on a foul just outside the penalty box. Castellanos took the free kick for FSU, but her shot was wide of the goal. The Jaguar bench received another yellow as the ball was being put back into play.
A red card was shown to USA’s Charde Hannah at 87:49 as she elbowed FSU’s Koivisto as the two worked for position on a goal kick and was ejected from the match.
The Noles held possession for the final three minutes to hold on for the win. Overall, FSU outshot USA 21-7 and held a 5-1 advantage in corners.
The Seminoles head out for their first road trip of the season this week, taking on Samford on Thursday, August 24 at 8:00 p.m ET and heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a match with Alabama on Sunday, August 27 at 1:00 p.m ET. Both matches will be broadcast, with the game at Samford streamed on the SoCon Digital Network and the Alabama matched airing on TV on the SEC Network.
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