GREENSBORO, N.C. – Second-ranked Florida State (17-1-1) ran its unbeaten streak to 14 straight games following a 3-1 victory over 10th-ranked Notre Dame (12-5-2) Friday night in the first semifinal of the 2014 ACC Women’s Soccer Championship inside the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
“I thought that our group played a very hard game,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “We started out with a great deal of intensity and came out with a lot of focus. The quality of our play was quite good. The defending was good, and for the first 35 minutes of the game we were very sharp.”
The Seminoles advance to the championship finals for the second straight year and for the third time in the last four years. Florida State, who won the league title last year, is looking to become the first repeat champion since North Carolina won five straight titles from 2005-2009.
“It’s great to be playing in the finals again,” said senior captain Dagny Brynjarsdottir. “We are an experienced team and most of us have been in this situation before so that will really help us for Sunday.”
FSU will play the winner of the second semifinal featuring North Carolina and Virginia on Sunday, November 9 at 1:00 p.m. The match will air live on ESPNU.
“We have a veteran team, an experienced team,” added Krikorian. “The group has done a good job from the start of the season to this point on being focused and having concentration. I am not surprised that we came out and played well from the start, given our experienced group.”
Megan Campbell paced the Seminoles with three points on a goal and an assist for her second multi-point performance in as many matches. Dagny Brynjarsdottir notched her team leading 14th goal and Jamia Fields wrapped up the scoring with her first goal of the season in the 84th minute.
Brynjarsdottir has now scored a goal in six straight matches, one shy of the school record, with seven goals during that span. The goal by Campbell resulted in the game-winner, her second of the season and second of her career.
Florida State out shot Notre Dame 18-5 for the match, while holding a 7-4 edge in corner kicks. The Fighting Irish’s Kaela Little made all seven saves in the match.
The Seminoles scored two first half goals five minutes and 41 seconds apart to take a 2-0 advantage as Notre Dame entered the match having allowed just one first half goal all season long. After giving up a goal in the 23rd minute to Illinois in the season opener, the Fighting Irish had gone over 808 minutes without giving up a first half goal until Brynjarsdottir found the back of the net.
The Icelandic native broke the scoreless tie in the 22nd minute putting away a header from six yards out on a nice cross from Campbell to give the Seminoles a 1-0 lead. A give-and-go from the right side of the pitch by Campbell and Carson Pickett led to the scoring chance as Campbell’s cross cleared the Irish defense right to the far post and to the head of Brynjarsdottir who found the back of the net for the goal.
“Carson (Pickett) had a great play to Megan, and then Megan made a great play to me into the box,” said Brynjarsdottir. “I only had to finish it. They made it easy for me.
“It was good to get that first goal pretty early so we could calm down and keep the ball more. It gave us more confidence.”
The Noles pushed their lead to 2-0 in the 27th minute when Isabella Schmid was brought down from behind inside the 18-yard box leading to a penalty kick opportunity for FSU. Campbell stepped in and converted the penalty kick chance for her second goal of the season and a two-goal Seminole advantage.
Notre Dame didn’t register a shot until the 22nd minute when Kaleigh Olmsted went wide of the right post from about 16 yards out. The Seminoles outshot the Irish 9-3 through the first 45 minutes.
Kirsten Crowley came within inches of giving the Noles a three-goal advantage in the 39th minute when her header off a corner kick from Marta Bakowska-Mathews caromed off the crossbar.
The second half was pretty much the same with the Seminoles keeping a majority of the possession while pushing the tempo.
Florida State had two great looks on goal about two minutes part. Fields sent a beautiful cross from the right side to the far post where Brynjarsdottir headed the ball on goal, but a nice diving save by Little denied the senior midfielder of her second goal of the evening.
Hikaru Murakami followed with a blast from 20 yards out that hit off the crossbar.
FSU took a 3-0 lead in the 84th minute courtesy of Fields’ first goal of the season. The senior from Alta Loma, Calif., took a pass from Cheyna Williams and then dribbled across the 18-yard box before hammering a shot that hit underneath the crossbar and over the goal line for the score.
Notre Dame avoided the shutout scoring with just three seconds left in regulation for the final margin. Karin Simonian sent a screamer inside the left post from the top of the box following a corner kick service from Olmsted for her third goal of the season.
Brynjarsdottir and Fields led all players with four shots apiece, while Williams added three shots. Brynjarsdottir, Fields and Williams all had three shots on goal.
With the win, Florida State improved to 16-15-6 all-time in the ACC Tournament including 11-10-6 in the state of North Carolina.