TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A pair of first half goals were too much to overcome for second-ranked Florida State (4-1-0) as the Seminoles fell to eighth-ranked Florida (4-1-0) 2-1 Friday evening in front of a packed house of 3,569, the second largest crowd in school history, inside the Seminole Soccer Complex.
The loss for the Seminoles marked their first at home since October 13, 2011 when they fell to Maryland 3-0, snapping a 37-game home unbeaten streak (36-0-1). It also marked Florida State’s first loss in regulation since falling 4-2 to Virginia in the ACC Tournament – a streak covering 38 consecutive matches.
“Everyone who had a chance to come out and watch this game was treated to a very, very good match,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “They did a better job of finishing their chances then we did and at the end of the day this is what this game comes down to. Overall, there were some very good moments for us, but we have to be more clinical in the box.”
Florida also brought to a close FSU’s three-game winning streak in the series.
“The atmosphere could not have been better tonight, what a fantastic atmosphere to have a soccer match,” said Krikorian. “The Tallahassee community is fantastic. The first thing the coaches from Florida said to me after the game was over was how great the environment was here tonight. I’m just thrilled as can be with regards to tonight’s crowd and hope they continue to come out and support us for the remainder of the season.”
Florida State had a golden opportunity to score the game’s first goal in the 21st minute when Carson Pickett sent a beautiful cross from down on the end line. Cheyna Williams was on the receiving end of the pass one-timing her shot just over the crossbar.
Florida broke the scoreless tie in the 25th minute on a goal by Pamela Begic as she put away a cross from Tessa Andujar from about eight yards out. The goal, which was perfectly slotted into the upper right corner of the net, was her first of the season.
FSU had held the Gators without a goal for over 226 minutes before the goal by Begic.
The Seminoles came right back with a scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute following Florida State’s first corner kick of the match. The long corner kick from Pickett was tracked down by Kristin Grubka, who served the ball to Isabella Schmid back toward the top of the box. Schmid then looped a pass inside six-yards where a header from Dagny Brynjarsdottir was saved by Florida keeper Taylor Burke.
The Gators extended their lead to 2-0 just over three minutes later when Betsy Middleton and Begic played a little give-and-go combination from just outside the 18-yard box. Middleton had the finishing touch from about 20 yards slotting a lower liner inside the right post for her first goal of the season.
FSU looked to cut the deficit in half in the 38th minute when Pickett fought her way through two Gator defenders before flicking a shot over the head of an oncoming Burke but the ball caromed off the crossbar and was kicked out of harm’s way by a Gator defender.
The Seminoles finally drew within one of the lead with just under two minutes left in the half as Brynjarsdottir broke through with her fourth goal of the season. Following a Gator foul in FSU’s attacking third, Pickett’s free kick found the head of a diving Brynjarsdottir that flicked the ball inside the left post from about 16 yards out to cut the deficit to 2-1.
In the second half, Florida’s Jillian Graff got in behind the Seminole defense off a deflected 50/50 ball in the 70th minute. The senior forward one-timed a shot on goal but a charging Cassie Miller was there for the diving save.
Florida State would not go away quietly looking for the equalizer in the 80th minute when a header from Berglind Thorvaldsdottir off a cross from Jamia Fields was saved out of bounds by Burke. On the ensuing corner, a header by Grubka went just wide of the left post.
The Seminoles final scoring chance came in the 86th when a header by Marta Bakowska-Mathews was saved by Burke. Emma Koivisto sent a cross from the right flank inside of 8 yards where Bakowska-Mathews came out of nowhere with a diving header.
“Our kids fought hard until the final whistle,” added Krikorian. “There were a lot of chances in the last five minutes. We just have to be a little bit better in front of the goal.”
Florida State finished the match with the advantage in both shots (15-8) and corner kicks (6-5) but it wasn’t enough as the Gators came away with their first win in the series since downing the Seminoles 2-1 in overtime in Tallahassee back in 2010.
Both goalkeepers played all 90 minutes on Friday night. UF’s Burke finished the match with five saves, while Miller was credited with two.
The Seminoles return to action on Monday, September 8 as they host St. John’s at 7:00 p.m. The game will broadcast live on ESPN3. Seminole fans can always stay up-to-date with in-game progress through the official twitter page of the Seminole soccer team (@FSU_Soccer).