TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the 32nd time in a row, No. 9 Florida State (12-2-2, 6-1-2 ACC) comes away from a home match without a loss, earning a 1-0 victory over Louisville (7-6-4, 2-4-3 ACC) on Sunday afternoon at the Seminole Soccer Complex as sophomore Megan Connolly’s header in the 81st minute proved to be the difference.
The 32-match unbeaten streak is the second-longest in FSU history, trailing a 37-match span from 2011 to 2014.
Those two streaks are separated by a 2-1 defeat to Florida on September 5, 2014, and in their last 70 games at home, the Seminoles are a combined 66-1-3.
It also marked the 12th shutout of the season for Florida State, which is tied for eighth all-time in school history. The five goals allowed so far this season is tied with Northwestern for the fewest in the country, and also marks the fewest goals allowed in the first 16 games of a season in program history.
“We knew that this was going to be a tough game for us,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “Louisville is a good team. They are much better than their conference record shows. You add that into the emotional stress from the game the other night against Duke, and it could be a trap game for us. It is a good feeling to know that we can win a game when we are not at our finest. I think today wasn’t our best day, but we still, in the end, found a way to score the goal and win the game.”
The Noles were very methodical in their attack in the first half, trying to breakdown the Louisville defense, but were only able to record one shot in the first 45 minutes. A nice combination play near the top of the box by Dallas Dorosy and Natalia Kuikka ended up with a slip pass through to Kristen McFarland outside the six-yard box. The freshman forward turned and was able to get a shot off, but it went right into the hands of Louisville goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin.
Louisville outshot the Noles 6-1 in the opening 45 minutes, but most of the attempts were from outside the box and well off-frame. The best scoring chance for the Cardinals in the first half came in the 35th minute as Sarah Feola’s cross from the right went into Kaela Dickerman at the top of the six-yard box. She made a collecting touch and turned for a strong shot toward the right post, but FSU’s GK Cassie Miller was there for a save.
The Cardinals came out and put on some early pressure to open the second half, but for all of their possession in the offensive third, they were unable to record a shot as the FSU defensive backline intercepted multiple entry crosses.
Dorosy took the first shot of the second half for the Noles from the top of the penalty box in the 48th minute, but it was saved by UofL’s Bucklin. After a long possession by FSU, Dorosy lined up another shot at 54:40 that went over the crossbar.
The Noles managed a trio of corners in the 66th and 67th minutes, but neither set piece was able to turn into a shot as the match remained tied at 0-0.
The next 14 minutes of the match was a defensive battle for both teams as neither team recorded a shot, but Florida State committed three fouls and Louisville committed five of their own, including a foul near the center circle that prompted a discussion between the UofL coaching staff and the referee.
Florida State scored the game winner in the 81st minute as McFarland received a ball along the right side of the penalty box and dropped off a pass for Olivia Bergau. The sophomore midfielder, much like on her game-winning assist on Thursday night against Duke, sent a cross to the far post, finding Connolly to head it home to give FSU a 1-0 lead.
The FSU defense stymied the Louisville attack, holding them without a shot for the final 55:33 of the match and allowed the final nine minutes to tick off without much fanfare. Dorosy’s header that was saved in the 83rd minute was the only shot taken down the stretch by either team.
Louisville outshot FSU 6-5 for the game, but the Noles held a 4-0 advantage in corners and a 4-3 lead in shots on goal.
The Seminoles will close out the regular season on Thursday, October 27 on the road at North Carolina. The match will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Fetzer Field and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra. Live stats will also be available on Seminoles.com. Tickets for Thursday’s match are available on goheels.com.
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