TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Second-ranked Florida State (22-1-1) is headed back to the College Cup after defeating No. 18 South Carolina (14-6-5) 5-0 on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship inside the Seminole Soccer Complex.
Berglind Thorvaldsdottir broke a scoreless match in the 32nd minute, while Jamia Fields and Cheyna Williams added two goals apiece as the five-goal margin on Friday marked the largest margin of victory for the Seminoles in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in school history.
The Seminole defense once again rose up to the challenge in posting their fourth consecutive postseason shutout and 17th shutout of the season to tie a school record. Florida State has now allowed just one goal in the last eight games, a span covering 720 minutes.
A crowd of 1,758 was on hand Friday afternoon to watch Florida State advance to the College Cup for the fourth year in a row and eighth time in school history. With Friday’s victory, the Seminoles are tied for the fifth most College Cup appearances nationally and become just the seventh school in NCAA history to reach the national semifinals at least four years in a row.
The five goals scored by the Seminoles on Friday night were the most allowed by South Carolina since giving up five goals in back-to-back games in 2004. The Gamecocks entered Friday’s quarterfinal match not allowing a goal in their first three postseason games and had allowed more than one goal in a game just twice in 2014.
Florida State pushed the offensive tempo right from the start applying pressure on the Gamecocks early and often. The Seminoles were finally rewarded for their efforts in the 32nd minute when a barrage of shots from inside the 18-yard box culminated with Thorvaldsdottir sneaking a shot past a diving Abbey Crider and inside the right post for the goal.
Dagny Brynjarsdottir began the scoring sequence firing the first shot but it was blocked by a host of Gamecock players. Kristin Grubka then fought for the rebound and fired a shot that was blocked as well. The rebound came right out to Thorvaldsdottir, who one-timed the shot into the back of the net from six yards out for her 12th goal of the season.
The Seminoles added to their lead right before the half on a great shot by Fields. The build-up came following a Florida State goal kick. Michaela Hahn won possession on a header at midfield. Hahn’s pass went to Isabella Schmid, who flicked the ball into FSU’s attacking third. Thorvaldsdottir then redirected the pass behind her and to her right where Fields beat a South Carolina defender to the ball before firing a shot across her body and inside the left netting for her first goal of the afternoon and a two-goal Florida State lead.
Florida State put the game away in the second half scoring three times in a span six minutes and 17 seconds.
Fields added her second goal of the game on an outstanding blast from distance in the 55th minute. The Alta Loma, Calif., native took a pass from Carson Pickett, dribbled two steps to her left before firing a shot into the upper left corner for just her second multi-goal game of her career and first since scoring twice against Virginia Tech in last year’s national semifinal.
Williams then added her two goals one minute and 33 seconds apart for her second multi-goal game as a Seminole. The junior forward hammered away a close range shot after a nice double passing combination from Emma Koivisto and Dagny Brynjarsdottir. Koivisto slipped a great pass between two South Carolina defenders to find Brynjarsdottir. The Seminole senior captain took the ball to the end line before sending a cross into the box that Williams finished off for her first goal of the match.
In the 61st minute, Williams was at it again this time heading away another double passing combination from close range to give the Seminoles a commanding 5-0 lead. Following a South Carolina foul, Pickett took the free kick sending the ball to the far post. Brynjarsdottir fought for possession and headed the ball across the plane of the goal where Williams finished the play off with a header of her own.
Pickett finished the match with two assists good for her third multi-assist game of the season and fourth of her career. Brynjarsdottir tied a career-high with two assists, her second of the season and fourth of her career. Thorvaldsdottir notched her fifth multi-point effort of the season with a goal and an assist on Friday.
Cassie Miller played all 90 minutes between the posts for FSU as she made two saves en route to her 17th shutout of the season.
Florida State outshot South Carolina 17-8 for the match, while holding an 11-1 advantage in corner kicks. Ten of those corners for the Seminoles came in the first half setting a school record for corner kicks taken in the first 45 minutes.
Daija Griffin had two shots in 26 minutes of action to pace South Carolina.
Florida State will now head to Boca Raton, Fla., where they will face the winner of Stanford/Florida in one of the national semifinals on Friday, December 5. Game time has yet to be determined as the match will air live on ESPNU. The Cardinal and Gators are squaring off on Friday at 10 pm EST in Palo Alto.