NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Posting a shutout for the second-straight game to open the 2016 season, No. 1 Florida State improved to 2-0-0 with a 3-0 victory at Vanderbilt (1-2-0) on Thursday night. The Noles scored three goals in the first half on their way the non-conference win on the road. “I thought it was a good, solid performance,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “I know Darren Ambrose, the coach of Vanderbilt, very well, and he is an outstanding coach and as he builds his program, they are going to get better and better.
“His kids fought hard and gave us all we could handle, but fortunately we were opportunistic enough to score a few goals and earn ourselves a shutout today. It was a good win on the road.”
There was not much action in the opening 20 minutes as Vanderbilt played in a very defensive posture and it was difficult for the Noles to find an opening as both teams often traded possessions with no quality looks at the goal.
FSU finally broke through and got on the scoreboard in the 23rd minute after Heidi Kollanen threaded a ball through four defenders to Deyna Castellanos near the top of the penalty box. The freshman forward took a touch to create space and, for the second consecutive game, scored the first goal of the match for Florida State.
Redshirt senior Kirsten Crowley nearly headed in the second goal of the game for the Noles in the 39th minute off an FSU corner, but was only chested away on the goal line by VU’s Kacy Scarpa.
Florida State did make it 2-0 less than a minute later when Macayla Edwards slipped the ball to Kaycie Tillman on the right and her shot beat Vanderbilt goalkeeper Kaitlyn Fahrner, but went off the right post. The ball ricocheted back toward the penalty spot and Megan Connolly made a sliding follow-up for her first goal of the season.
Haylie Grant entered the match in the 42nd minute and didn’t waste her time getting involved in the action. The Seminoles earned a corner in the 44th minute after Natalia Kuikka sent a long ball to Dallas Dorosy on the left that she played off a defender. Taylor Hallmon sent in the corner to Crowley and her header went to the feet of Edwards inside the six-yard box. Edwards tapped it away from the defenders and into space to allow Grant to score the first goal of her career.
“I’m excited that I was able to go in and help the team and contribute to our win tonight,” said Grant. “It is always good to get a shutout on the road and I thought we played well as a whole group.”
In the second half, no goals ended up the back of either net, but there were several quality chances for both sides. The best scoring opportunity for Vandy came in the 59th minute as Jacqueline Welch took the ball away from the FSU backline and took a shot from 20 yards that was deflected away for a corner.
Connolly and Crowley nearly connected in the 79th minute on a free kick from about 30 yards, but Crowley’s header was saved by Fahrner. The VU goalkeeper made a great diving save in the 81st minute on a redirection from Dorosy to keep the match at 3-0. Elin Jensen started the chance and took a shot from outside that was blocked, but Dorosy was able get a side of her foot on the ball and send it toward the top right corner of the goal before it was punched away for a corner.
The Seminoles took eight corners throughout the match and outshot Vanderbilt 19-3 overall. The Commodores made seven saves on the 10 FSU shots on goal, while VU did not register a shot on goal in the game.
The youth of Florida State had opportunity to play on Thursday as four freshmen started and 15 total underclassmen played in the game. In all, 19 FSU players saw action in Thursday’s match at Vanderbilt, with 15 Noles playing at least 25 minutes on the pitch.
“We know through the course of the season that it is going to take the full team to get the most out of our group that we can,” added Krikorian. “I thought that the young kids that went in did a very good job and have earned themselves an opportunity to get more playing time now.”
The Seminoles will stay in Tennessee for the weekend and will end the road trip in Murfreesboro on Sunday with a match at Middle Tennessee. The game will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET at the Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium and will air live on CUSA.tv. Live stats will be available through Sidearm Sports.
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