STORRS, Conn. – Fifth-ranked Florida State (7-1-0) fought back from two goals down to claim a 3-2 victory at Connecticut (6-2-1) Thursday evening inside Joseph J. Morrone Stadium.
Berglind Thorvaldsdottir scored two goals for the second straight game and Kristin Grubka came through with the game-winner in the 71st minute on a spectacular diving header down near the goal line to give the Seminoles their third straight victory over UConn and first in Storrs.
Carson Pickett assisted on all three goals Thursday night to establish a career-high and tie a school record. The Jacksonville, Fla., native became the fifth Seminole to register three assists in a game and the first since Marta Bakowska-Mathews collected three assists against Jackson State on September 21, 2012.
“It really is just people being in the right spots,” added Pickett on assisting on all three goals Thursday night. “The credit goes to the entire team just having everyone in the right spots to finish the plays. It was really a team effort tonight.”
After falling behind by two goals after the 33rd minute, the Seminoles scored three unanswered goals to cap their largest come-from-behind victory since falling behind by two goals in a 4-3 victory over Boston College at home on October 3, 2013. It also marked FSU’s largest come-from-behind victory on the road since erasing a two-goal deficit at Minnesota on August 17, 2012.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the start we were hoping for but the good news is that our kids have shown an ability and the mental strength to fight back when we are down,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “We had to grind it out today. Connecticut is a very good team and an even better team at home.
“But to come in here short-handed and to find a way to win the game is a credit to our kids and their mentality. Overall, we have to walk away from this game satisfied with the result but know we have to play smarter in the future to be successful.”
“We got down early but I thought our team responded well,” said Pickett. “In the second half, we had more time on the ball and weren’t trying to press to score a goal; we just played our game.”
Thorvaldsdottir started the rally scoring the first of her two goals 48 seconds after UConn took a commanding 2-0 lead in the first half. Pickett made a nice run down the middle of the pitch before finding Thorvaldsdottir cutting across the left side. The Icelandic native retrieved the ball one-timing a low lining shot just inside the right post for the goal.
Thorvaldsdottir’s second goal came in the 65th minute to even the match at two goals apiece. Once again Pickett started the scoring chance sending a long cross from the left side to Jamia Fields, who touched the ball forward before sending a pass across the 18-yard box. Hikaru Murakami drew a UConn defender out as she lunged toward the ball before letting it slide to a wide open Thorvaldsdottir who put the ball into the back of the net with an aggressive finish from eight yards outs.
Grubka capped off the scoring in the 71st minute giving the Noles their first lead of the night. Following a Connecticut foul just outside the 18-yard box, Pickett slotted a low lining pass on frame. Grubka beat UConn keeper Emily Armstrong to the ball with a sliding effort. Realizing that the ball didn’t have enough momentum to get across the line, Grubka quickly got to her feet and flung herself at the ball using her head to push the ball over the goal line for what ended up being the game-winner.
“Grubka is a special talent,” said Krikorian. “She has a fantastic drive and determination. If anyone is going to score a goal like that it is going to be Grubka. She is a fighter and a winner and will do whatever it takes to help her team succeed. It is not a surprise to me that when we needed her the most she was there and came through for us in a big way.”
“Carson gave a great service,” said Grubka. “There was no one on the front post. I just made my way in there and got my foot on it. The goalkeeper got a hand on it and slowed it down. There was a moment of panic when I didn’t think the ball was going in so I army crawled to the ball and headed it in; I was just making sure the ball went in no matter what. I have never scored a goal like that; never in my life.”
The Huskies ran out to an early lead on Thursday night thanks to a pair of first half goals by Rachel Hill. Brianna Butler found Hill for the first goal in the ninth minute lofting a pass over the Seminole backline as Hill timed her run perfectly, receiving the ball before flicking it over the head of a charging Cassie Miller. The ball bounced twice before going into the back of the net to give UConn an early 1-0 lead.
UConn pushed its lead to 2-0 in the 33rd minute as Hill once again got behind the backline on a long chip from Samantha McGuire. With the Seminole defense charging in to break up the run, Hill slotted a low lining shot past a diving Miller and just inside the right post for her second goal of the half.
“We didn’t have very good positioning on the two goals that Connecticut scored,” added Krikorian. “They took advantage of our inability to read the service. Rachel Hill made very good runs and the quality of the service from their players was quite good. But we need to read that and drop back quicker.”
Florida State remains on the road to open ACC play on Sunday, September 21 at Boston College in match slated to start at 1:00 p.m. Seminole fans can always stay up-to-date with in-game progress through the official twitter page of the Seminole soccer team (@FSU_Soccer).