TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Second-ranked Florida State (19-1-1) broke open a one-goal halftime lead scoring four second half goals en route to a 5-0 victory over South Alabama (19-3-1) in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship Friday evening inside the Seminole Soccer Complex.
Dagny Brynjarsdottir registered her team leading fifth multi-point performance with a goal and an assist, while Megan Campbell and Emma Koivisto each tallied three assists to tie a school record.
The Seminoles came out of the locker room after halftime and broke the match open scoring four goals from four different players as Cheyna Williams, Carson Pickett, Berglind Thorvaldsdottir and Nickolette Driesse all found the back of the net in the second half.
“The University of South Alabama gave us an awful hard time today in the game,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “It took us 44 minutes to crack the code and finally score the goal. I thought our group was pretty resilient in continuing to fight but I thought it was important that we scored that goal before the first half ended to ease the challenge.”
With the win, the Seminoles extended their current unbeaten streak to 16 games (15-0-1) and have now advanced out of the first round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship for the 10th year in a row and 14th time overall.
“Our group worked extremely hard through the course of the game limiting chances at our goal although they did have a couple,” said Krikorian. “We were able to come out and score a couple of goals to make it a little easier for us.”
After holding an 11-1 shot advantage through the first 44 minutes of action, Florida State cracked the scoreboard on its 12th shot coming just 38 seconds left in the first half. The ball was played back out toward the sideline by South Alabama following a Seminole throw-in. Campbell outraced a Jaguar player to the loose ball dribbling toward the end line before sending a cross to the far post. Brynjarsdottir was on the receiving end with a header that deflected off USA keeper Sarah Hay and into the back of the net as Florida State took a 1-0 lead into the break.
“It was a big moment swing,” added Krikorian. “If they go into the halftime and its 0-0 then their belief is even greater. By us scoring so late it takes a little bit of the air out of their sails and makes it a little harder and that hill harder to climb. But like I said, credit to them, they came out and battled hard. South Alabama came in with as good of a game plan as they could have and executed it very well.”
“It’s always nice to get the first goal especially just before halftime,” said Brynjarsdottir. “It helped to calm everyone down and to keep the ball more. We grew calmer as the game went on with chances in front of the net.”
Williams opened the scoring in the second half putting away a header from 10 yards out off a double passing combination from Koivisto and Campbell as the Noles took a 2-0 lead in the 53rd minute. After a South Alabama foul, Campbell played the free kick down the sideline to Koivisto, who sent a beautiful cross to Williams. The goal was Williams’ ninth of the season.
The Seminoles extended their lead to 3-0 over 10 minutes later on Pickett’s second goal in as many games. Once again another passing combination led to the goal, this time from Brynjarsdottir and Koivisto, with Pickett finishing the play off as her one-timed shot from 14 yards out on the left side found the lower right corner for the goal.
Campbell and Koivisto teamed up once again for another double assist, this time in the 73rd minute, on a goal by Thorvaldsdottir. The Icelandic native timed her run beautifully beating Hay to the ball as she redirected a header inside the six-yard by Koivisto into the back of the net for her 11th goal of the season.
Driesse rounded out the scoring in the 79th minute as the sophomore midfielder recorded her first career goal off an assist from Michaela Hahn. Driesse fired a shot from about 20 yards out that went just under the crossbar and beyond the reach of Hay to give the Seminoles a commanding five-goal advantage.
Campbell and Koivisto become the first two Seminoles in school history to record three assists in the same game. It marked the second time this year that a Florida State player notched three assists in a game as Pickett tallied three in a 3-2 road victory at UConn on September 18.
The three assists by Campbell on Friday night also made her FSU’s all-time assist leader in NCAA Tournament games with nine.
Florida State outshot South Alabama 23-2 in the match, while holding an 11-0 advantage in corners. The Seminoles did a nice job of containing USA’s leading scorer Charde Hannah, who entered Friday night’s match with 47 points. Hannah had just one shot on the night which came early in the first half.
“We knew coming in that she (Charde Hannah) was a target for them and we had to do our best to contain her,” added Campbell. “I thought (Kristin) Grubka, (Kirsten) Crowley and Cassie (Miller) behind her did quite well to contain her while we were in the attack. Our defense starts from the top; if we don’t defend properly from the top then we can’t defend properly in the back.”
Cassie Miller played all 90 minutes in net for the Seminoles as the redshirt freshman goalkeeper finished with one save. USA’s Hay recorded four saves in 90 minutes.
The Seminoles will now face the winner of the Boston University and Northeastern match which will be played on Saturday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. A date and time for next week’s second round match has yet to be determined. Stay tuned to Seminoles.com for further updates on Florida State and 2014 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.