TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A goal by the Tar Heels in the 29th minute was the difference on Friday night as No. 6 North Carolina (6-2-1, 1-0-0 ACC) earned a 1-0 win over No. 2 Florida State (7-1-1, 0-1-0 ACC) in front of 3,146 at the Seminole Soccer Complex. The crowd was the fourth-largest home attendance in program history.
“I thought that Carolina had an outstanding game plan and their kids executed it,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “It was fairly clear that we weren’t dangerous enough and didn’t create enough situations around the goal. So we’ll go back and reevaluate and get better.
“The fans were great tonight. We’ve had huge crowds for a number of the games, and obviously they came to support us with the intent of winning, but hopefully they feel as though they were treated to a high-level game between two very good teams. Today it just didn’t go our way and Carolina was better than us and they won the game.”
Florida State started strong, pressuring early and taking the first shot of the game as Yujie Zhao lined one wide from 25 yards in the fourth minute. The Seminoles earned a corner in the sixth minute and the service from Deyna Castellanos found Anna Patten in the six-yard box, but her header was high.
Possession lived in the midfield for most of the next 15 minutes until North Carolina took its first shot at 18:04. The Tar Heels had a free kick from their defensive third and UNC GK Samantha Leshnak sent a long ball up and it was headed behind the FSU line by Brianna Pinto for Alessia Russo on the left side. She sent a cross into the box for Bridgette Andrzejewski, but her touch went wide of the goal.
The Tar Heels scored the only goal of the match in the 29th minute as Taylor Otto passed to Russo in the midfield, who turned and worked up near the penalty box before sending it to the left for Rachel Jones. The freshman’s shot bounced off the inside of the right post and bounced into the net to give North Carolina a 1-0 lead. It marked the first time in 768:24 of the season that the Seminoles had trailed.
A nifty play by Gabby Carle in the 33rd minute nearly tied the game, as the sophomore collected a pass from Gloriana Villalobos with a back heel kick and slid a pass up for Dallas Dorosy on the left. The senior’s shot from 15 yards went just over the crossbar.
In the second half, the Tar Heels tightened their defense, holding the Seminoles without a shot from the 47th minute to the 75th minute. Florida State was often able to hold possession on UNC’s side of the field, but it was a challenge to create opportunities in the penalty box as numerous crosses were sent in over that span, but each were unable to find a teammate.
The Noles earned a corner in the 80th minute and Villalobos chipped in a pass for Kaycie Tillman near the six-yard box in the 85th minute, but both chances were ended by UNC’s Leshnak as she jumped to catch the ball each time.
North Carolina outshot Florida State, 12-8, but the Noles held a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
The Seminoles close out their seven-match homestand next Thursday, September 20 with a match against Virginia Tech (4-1-3, 0-0-0 ACC) that begins at 7:00 p.m. The match will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra and live stats will be available through StatBroadcast. Links for both will be available on the soccer schedule page on Seminoles.com. Admission is free for all regular season home games at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
Throughout 2018-19, the Seminoles will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of women’s intercollegiate athletics at Florida State and there are many events and reunions planned for all women’s sports. Head to www.seminoles.com/50th/ for more information that will be updated throughout the year.
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