By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
@Tim_Linafelt on Twitter
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – She’s pretty sure he’ll deny it later, but Jamia Fields is certain that she saw coach Mark Krikorian get a little misty-eyed on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m a witness,” said Fields, a senior forward whose 83rd-minute goal lifted the Florida State women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Virginia in the national championship game.
It was the first national title in the program’s 20-year history and first for Krikorian since he took the helm in 2005.
“It was so special,” Fields said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him cry, but I think he cried today. He did.”
Krikorian and the Seminoles were all smiles a few hours later when they arrived in Tallahassee.
A crowd of nearly 100 people had gathered, armed with homemade signs, pom-poms and cameras ready to welcome home FSU’s latest national champion.
Krikorian’s bunch provided the school’s second title of 2014 and its first in a women’s sport since 1985.
“It’s fantastic, right?” he said. “Wonderful to come back to such a fantastic reception and all these kind people coming out here and supporting our program and showing their support. It makes all of us feel pretty good.”
The title capped a tremendous run for FSU’s seniors, who won three ACC titles and went to the College Cup – soccer’s version of the Final Four – in each of their four seasons.
The previous three trips ended in disappointment. Fields ensured that this one did not.
FSU and UVA matched blow for blow and overtime loomed before Fields tucked in a low, left-footed shot from about 20 yards out.
“When it left my foot and I saw it rolling, I kind of knew,” Fields said. “I was still surprised, because I didn’t know I would get that shot off.”
Former FSU football star Corey Simon and his young son, C.J., were among the crowd at the airport Sunday night.
Simon said he’d stepped away from his T.V. for a minute, but he heard C.J. scream to celebrate the goal and ran back in time to catch the replay.
“It’s just an exciting time to be a Nole,” Simon said. “I know Coach ‘K’ has done a tremendous job with this program and to finally get over the hump was just a joy to watch.”
Fields said that being a part of Krikorian’s first title team made the day extra sweet.
“Mark, he’s such a good coach,” she said. “And I’m honored to be able to play for him.”
After most of the welcome committee had cleared, Krikorian stayed behind and shared hugs and posed for pictures with supporters.
He even obliged a pair of airport employees wanting a picture with his shiny new championship trophy.
“I think it will take a little time to sink in,” Krikorian said. “All of us, the players and staff, all of us have worked pretty hard to get to this stage.
“It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of details, but it feels pretty good.”