TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After the start of the game delayed by 65 minutes due to a lightning warning, once play got underway, No. 4 Florida State (5-0-1) took it to No. 2 UCLA (2-1-1) with a dominant 4-1 victory on Sunday night at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Yujie Zhao led the Seminoles with four points on a goal and two assists, while all four goals and three of the assists were recorded by freshmen or sophomores.
It marked the first time that UCLA had allowed four goals since a 4-3 loss to Florida on August 28, 2016, and it was the largest margin of victory of any school over the Bruins since a 7-0 loss by UCLA at Cal on October 29, 2015.
UCLA’s lone goal in the 38th minute snapped Florida State’s scoreless streak at 519:03 which dated back to the 2017 season. The streak sits as the fourth-longest streak in program history.
“I thought our collective defending throughout the night was pretty good,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “That was a really good we played tonight. They have a lot of top, top level players and are a well-coached team. So for us to come out on top makes it a good weekend for us. If someone would have told me before the weekend we’d get a win and a draw, I’d think that would be a good weekend for us. To win and score some nice goals was quite pleasing as well.”
Florida State started strong as Kristen McFarland picked off a ball in the midfield in the fifth minute and drove to the endline, but her cross was secured by UCLA goalkeeper Teagan Micah.
Zhao nearly opened the scoring in the 10th minute, as Kristina Lynch slid a pass to the top of the box, but the freshman’s shot was saved.
Shortly after, Zhao helped create the game’s first goal as she slipped a pass through to Deyna Castellanos and her shot was slapped away for a Seminole corner. The service went to Zhao and she collected the ball and sent a long cross to the far post for Anna Patten to head into the net at 11:05.
UCLA had their share of possession throughout the first half, but sent several lonely crosses into an empty penalty box that were easily cleared away. The Bruins did have a quality chance in the 25th minute as Ashley Sanchez passed the ball to Anika Rodriguez behind the Seminole backline, and the UCLA forward touched the ball past FSU GK Brooke Bollinger, but it was too strong as by the time she caught back up to it, she didn’t have an angle from near the endline on the open goal and there were no teammates around for her pass attempt.
FSU defender Malia Berkely had a nice tackle on a UCLA counterattack in the 28th minute to eliminate a threat, and the Bruins managed a shot at 29:33 by Sanchez from 20 yards that was saved by Bollinger.
The Seminoles extended their lead to 2-0 in the 36th minute as Kirsten Pavlisko brought the ball up from the backline and the UCLA defenders did a great job of cutting off her passing lanes, however they did a poor job of stopping the ball as the freshman cut through the middle of the field unabated and ripped a shot from just inside the penalty box for her first goal of the season.
The Bruins narrowed the Seminole lead in the 38th minute as a throw-in deep in their attacking third bounced off some players and out toward Maricarmen Reyes who volleyed a shot inside the near post and made it 2-1 FSU.
McFarland recorded her first goal of the season at 49:00 after Berkely worked through the midfield and passed to Zhao for a perfect touch to McFarland to finish from the top of the box to put the Seminoles up 3-1.
The competition was fierce throughout the middle of the second half, but there were only two shots takes from the 50th to 80th minute on a pair of long-range shots by Castellanos where one was wide and one was saved.
An outstanding stop by Bollinger kept the score at 3-1 in the 81st minute as a corner kick from the right was headed by Olivia Athens back to Viviana Villacorta on the left side in the six-yard box, and her shot skipped under the FSU defense and a diving save kept the ball out of the net.
UCLA’s Sanchez again worked into a dangerous position in the 85th minute, but quality defense by Patten and Pavlisko took the ball the away and ended the chance.
The final goal of the night was a laser from Zhao from 25 yards as Macayla Edwards collected a ball near the midfield circle and sent a pass to Zhao, who turned and blasted her third goal of the season into the upper corner for the 4-1 final score.
The Seminoles outshot the Bruins, 11-7, including 10-5 in shots on goal. UCLA held a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Florida State will welcome its intrastate rival No. 22 Florida (2-3-1) to the Seminole Soccer Complex on Friday, September 7 for the Fresh From Florida Sunshine Showdown, with kickoff starting at 7:00 p.m. The match will be streamed on ACC Network Extra, with links for the broadcast and live stats available on the soccer schedule page of Seminoles.com. Admission is free for all home regular season games for Florida State Soccer.
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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