MOBILE, Ala. – Adding to its four-game road trip to open a season, No. 1 Florida State (3-1-0) is shutout on the road, falling to South Alabama (3-2-1) by a score of 1-0 on Monday night. It is the highest amount of road games to start a season in school history. South Alabama, who received votes in the 2016 preseason polls, scored the only goal of the match in the 25th minute and held on for the 1-0 victory.
The Seminoles are 14-3-3 in their last 20 true road games, dating back to the start of the 2014 season, with the only other defeats coming in one goal matches in 2015 at Florida (3-2) and Virginia (1-0).
“All the credit goes to South Alabama,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “They came out with a great game plan, executed it and made us have to make decisions throughout the course of the game. Unfortunately, we made too many bad decisions. It is a young group we have and hopefully we can learn from it and be better for the next game. We know it is a quick turnaround as we get ready to play on Thursday night against Connecticut, who is another good team.
“Again, credit to South Alabama. (Head Coach) Graham (Winkworth) and his staff do a great job. The kids executed the game plan very well and today the team that executed better won.”
The Noles controlled most off the possession in the first half, but struggled to find the final pass or take a shot from within 15 yards. Megan Connolly led all players with four shots in the opening 45 minutes, with three blocked and one wide of the net.
Malia Berkely had a quality chance in the seventh minute, as her shot from 20 yards was saved and punched away USA goalkeeper Justice Stanford. Stanford made another save in the 24th minute, diving to stop a rebound shot by Elin Jensen after a blocked shot from Connolly.
South Alabama quickly countered and found a seam in the FSU defense to score the only goal of the match 30 seconds later. Danielle Henley slipped a through ball down the right side to Charde Hannah 25 yards from the goal and her first touch allowed her to beat FSU goalkeeper Cassie Miller and gather the ball to tap into the net for her second goal of the season.
The Jaguar goal was the first goal allowed by the Seminoles in 2016 as Florida State posted shutout victories in its first three matches of the season. It snapped a scoreless streak of 294:23, marking the third longest scoreless streak to start a season, trailing the 2009 (349:18) and 2010 (343:23) teams.
In the second half, South Alabama played a very defensive shape, dropping all 11 players within 25 yards of their own goal for the majority of the final 45 minutes. The Noles continued to work to find shots, outshooting the Jaguars 18-1 in the second half, but all six that were on frame were stopped by Stanford.
Deyna Castellanos nearly had the equalizer in the 61st minute from the right side, but her narrow angle shot was stopped on a diving save. Heidi Kollanen was able to head a cross from Emma Koivisto in the 71st minute, but it went directly to Stanford for a save.
Overall, the Noles held a 28-5 advantage in shots, 8-3 with shots on goal and 9-4 in corners, but trailed 1-0 in goals for their first loss of the season.
Florida State returns to Tallahassee for their home opener on Thurs., September 8, in a 7:00 p.m. match against No. 18 UConn (weather permitting). Last week’s scheduled home opener against Florida was cancelled due to the effects of Hurricane Hermine. Live stats will be available on Seminoles.com for the match between the Noles and Huskies.
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