TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Controlling possession throughout the entire game, No. 3 Florida State improved to 6-1-0 on the season with a 2-0 victory over Mercer (2-4-1) on Thursday night at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Florida State outshot Mercer, 25-0, for the game, marking the first time that the Noles have held a team without a shot since Pitt on October 14, 2014. Overall, the Seminoles have not allowed a shot in the last 117:57 of game time, dating back to Troy on September 11.
“We have to continue work on our quality around the penalty box,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “Again today, I thought that we let some chances get away from us. Mercer came in with a very good game plan and their players executed it very well. I thought their goalkeeper stood strong on a number of the chances we had. Overall, it was a solid performance from our group and now we turn all of our attention to conference play.”
The Seminoles put the pressure on from the opening whistle, earning six corners and five shots in the first 24 minutes, but unable to finish and put the ball in the back of the net.
FSU broke through at 24:57 on Kristen McFarland’s third goal of the year. The freshman forward had just subbed into the game three minutes prior and received the ball near the corner of the six yard box on the right side from Kaycie Tillman. She was able to take a controlling touch before finding a seam between the defender and goalkeeper to give FSU a 1-0 lead.
Mercer’s only quality offensive chance came in the 37th minute as the Bears were able to work the ball up the left side before earning their only corner of the match. FSU goalkeeper Cassie Miller caught the service to end the threat.
MU goalkeeper Cristina Mursuli made an outstanding save in the 41st minute coming off an FSU corner. Megan Connolly’s service into the box ricocheted off Taylor Hallmon and a Mercer defender going to the right and Holly Fritz was in position to put a solid header back toward the left. Mursuli was forced to dive back and secured possession to keep the score at 1-0.
The Noles nearly made it 2-0 before halftime as Briana Alston sent in a low cross from the right with five seconds left to the foot of Heidi Kollanen. MU’s Mursuli was able to get in position for the save just before time expired.
FSU came out of halftime and scored quickly on a goal by Hallmon in the 47th minute. Connolly’s service on FSU’s ninth corner of the match found its target as the freshman scored the first goal of her career to extend the lead to 2-0.
“I am really glad I was able to put the ball into the back of the net for my teammates tonight,” said Hallmon. “Meg Connolly had a great serve and with me and (Kirsten) Crowley, our job is to run in and put something on it and I was able to do that. I think it was really important that we got this win as we move into conference play.”
FSU also had a strong scoring chance in the 65th minute after a corner from Kollanen bounced to the feet of Deyna Castellanos, but her shot was blocked in the middle of the box. FSU maintained possession and Kollanen quickly followed with a shot of her own that was saved by Mursuli, one of her six saves for the match.
It is the sixth shutout of the season for the Seminoles, and FSU has only allowed one goal all year. The Noles entered Thursday’s game as one of just six schools in the country to allow one or fewer goals in the 2016 season.
The win also extends FSU’s home unbeaten streak to 27 matches, the second-longest streak in school history. Overall, FSU is 62-1-2 in its last 65 home matches, dating back to October 13, 2011.
FSU remains at home and will close out the weekend with a match against Miami (5-3-0) on Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ACC Network Extra and live stats will be available on Seminoles.com. Admission is free for all home regular season FSU Soccer matches.
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