TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A pair of second-half goals carried the Seminoles to the third round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship as No. 5 Florida State (17-4-2) defeated No. 20 USF (15-4-0) by a score of 3-1 on Friday afternoon in front of a crowd of 1,368 at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
The victory sets up a Top 10 matchup on Sunday for a spot in the NCAA quarterfinals between the No. 5 Noles and No. 6 USC (17-2-2), which shutout LSU, 2-0, earlier in the day. The match on November 18 will begin at 1:00 p.m.
“I thought overall it was a high-level game,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “Two very intense, hardworking teams and we feel very fortunate that we are able to continue and advance in the tournament after playing a very good opponent. They brought everything that we could handle, and at the end of the day I thought our kids competed very favorably.”
It was a quiet start to the match in regards to shots and offensive chances, but it was a physical battle with 11 combined fouls, as well as a yellow card issued to USF’s Evelyne Viens, along with numerous tackles and collisions throughout the first 35 minutes.
USF opened the scoring with a goal at 34:14 by Aubrey Megrath. Sabrina Wagner and Katie Kitching worked the ball from the right along the top of the box out to Megrath on the left and the junior took a shot that began toward the right post, but was deflected by an FSU defender and headed inside the left post. FSU goalkeeper Caroline Jeffers was unable to change direction in time as the ball rolled into the net for a 1-0 USF lead.
It marked the first time in the last 14 NCAA Tournament matches at home that the Seminoles had allowed a goal, a span of 1,224:16 of game time, dating back to a match against Ole Miss in 2013. Overall, Florida State improves to 43-1-0 all-time at home in the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State competed hard after allowing the goal and nearly tied the match in the 39th minute as a low shot from Malia Berkely was blocked up into the air by the USF defense and Anna Patten rushed in and placed a good header on the ball, but it was saved by USF GK Sydney Martinez.
The Noles did find the equalizer before halftime as Dallas Dorosy tallied her fifth goal of the year in the 41st minute. Gabby Carle made a run down the right side and worked to the endline before sending a pass to Dorosy as she made a run to the first post. The ball was a little bit behind her, but she cleverly used the inside of her foot to redirect the ball around behind her, between two USF defenders and into the goal to tie the match at 1-1.
Out of intermission, the Seminoles continued to put pressure on as Deyna Castellanos took a pair of shots in the 46th and 47th minutes that were blocked and saved.
USF had a quality chance in the 60th minute as Megrath sent a long ball through the midfield to Viens, but her second touch near the top of the box was too strong and Jeffers was able to easily secure the ball to end the threat. Viens entered the match with an NCAA-leading 20 goals, 91 shots and 51 shots on goal for the season, but the Seminole defense held her without a shot for the entire 90 minutes.
Florida State went in front in the 63rd minute as Kaycie Tillman found Castellanos near the top of the box and the junior slipped the ball through to Yujie Zhao near the penalty spot. The freshman took a quick shot that was saved on a dive by USF’s Martinez, but the rebound bounced up and Zhao chested it across the line to make it 2-1 Seminoles.
Zhao was key to FSU’s final goal of the match in the 87th minute as she collected a throw-in from Kirsten Pavlisko on the left, worked to the endline and brought a perfect centering pass back to Gloriana Villalobos to easily score her first goal of the season for the 3-1 final score.
The goal by Villalobos marks the 14th different Seminole to score a goal this season, which is tied for the second-most individual goal-scorers in program history, trailing only the 16 scorers from the 2012 squad.
Overall, FSU outshot the Bulls 17-4, with 8-1 advantage in shots on goal and a 7-2 lead in corner kicks, while USF recorded 19 fouls on the night to FSU’s 6.
Tickets are on sale for Sunday’s NCAA Third Round match at the FSU Ticket Office and are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors (50+) and $3 for youth (3-12), while children 2 and under will be free. Tickets can be purchased online at Seminoles.com or by phone at 888-FSU-NOLE (378-6653) throughout the week, or in person at the Seminole Soccer Complex at the Spirit Way Gate on Sunday. The first 100 Florida State students will get in free.
“I think it’s going to be a great matchup,” said Krikorian about Sunday’s match against USC. “I don’t think anybody in the soccer community is not a little bit surprised that Southern California was not a higher seed than a four. I think they’re a really good team, they have a lot of good players and their coaching is outstanding. Anybody coming here as a fan is going to be treated to a very high level, good game of soccer that could have easily been a Final Four game. My perspective is that I have a great deal of respect for what that program is doing and for the way they play and the quality that they bring.”
Sunday’s match will be streamed on ESPN3, and broadcast links, along with live stats, will be available on the soccer schedule page on Seminoles.com.
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.
Follow Florida State soccer on Twitter (@FSUSoccer), Instagram (@nolesoccer) and like our Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUSoccer) to keep up to date with everything about Seminole soccer.