TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Posting another clean sheet, No. 3 Florida State (7-0-1) continued its unbeaten start to the 2018 season with a 2-0 victory over South Alabama (2-5-0) on Sunday night at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Yujie Zhao and Olivia Bergau each scored second-half goals for FSU in the win.
The eight-match unbeaten streak is the third-longest in school history to start a season and is tied for the ninth-longest overall by the Seminoles.
FSU controlled the game throughout and outshot the Jaguars, 31-4, and held a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks.
“Looking at our schedule before the season, we felt like this may be a hard game for us, coming off of USC, UCLA and Florida with a short turnaround time,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “We expected this to be a tough game for us and knew that if we were to be fortunate to score an earlier goal, the game may have come a little easier. But the longer it stayed 0-0, the harder it became. Overall, our defending was quite good again and limited their opportunities at the goal. Certainly created enough of our own chances to score more than two, but at the end of the day, we’ll walk away satisfied we scored two goals, had a clean sheet and move on to get ready for conference play.”
The Noles tallied 12 shots in the first half and nearly opened the scoring in the third minute as Gabby Carle sent a cross in behind the USA backline for Alexa Orrante, but the timing wasn’t there to get a clean shot from near the penalty spot. Anna Patten found Kristina Lynch just a few minutes later, but her shot was wide of the net.
South Alabama earned a corner in the 15th minute and the ball bounced out to Olivia Wilkes, but her shot went well wide of the goal.
The Noles continued to pressure and had a total of five shots in four minutes during the middle of the first half, with two that were blocked, as well as a header by Jaelin Howell that was saved by USA GK Justice Stanford and also a shot from Dallas Dorosy in the 37th minute that went off the crossbar.
Florida State closed the first half with two outstanding chances, but were unable to break through as Zhao slid a pass through the penalty box for Megan Connolly in the 42nd minute, but a diving save by Stanford kept the game scoreless. Gloriana Villalobos helped set up another chance less than a minute later with a long cross to Connolly on the endline and the senior passed it into Dorosy, but her final touch went just wide of the net.
Coming out of halftime, Malia Berkely chipped a pass for Zhao behind the USA line, but was just too strong for the freshman to get a foot on it in the 46th minute.
The Seminoles continued with a flurry of offense, recording 11 shots and two corner kicks from the 48th to 62nd minute, with two on goal and three blocked by the USA defensive players.
Florida State finally broke through at 62:49 as Carle’s cross from the left into the six-yard box found Zhao, whose header slipped between the keeper and the right post for her fourth goal of the season.
Lynch and Dorosy nearly combined for the second goal of the game as Lynch sent a long ball down the left side for a streaking Dorosy, the senior collected the ball worked into the penalty area and dropped the ball back to Lynch who lined a shot that went off the left post and was cleared in the 80th minute.
A pair of seniors helped seal the victory in the 81st minute as Kaycie Tillman worked her way around USA defenders on the endline and slipped the ball into the six-yard box for Bergau to easily finish for her second goal of the season and post the 2-0 final score.
The Seminoles continue their seven-match homestand and will start ACC play on Friday, September 14 as No. 2 North Carolina comes to Tallahassee for a match at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra and links for the match and live stats will be available on the soccer schedule page of Seminoles.com. Admission is free for all home regular season soccer games.
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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