Nov. 7, 2014
GREENSBORO, N.C. – One of the most dynamic offenses in the nation was on full display during the semifinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Soccer Championship on Friday night. Florida State rode two goals over a five-minute span in the first half on its way to a 3-1 victory over the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
No. 10/8 Notre Dame (12-5-2) fell in its first neutral site contest of 2014, snapping a six-match unbeaten streak that dated back to a 2-0 win at Pittsburgh on Oct. 9. No. 2 Florida State (17-1-1) advanced into the ACC Championship match for the second straight season and will attempt to defend its conference crown on Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU. The Seminoles secured their third straight win over Notre Dame to take a slim 4-3 series lead.
Florida State outshot the Fighting Irish 18-5 during the match, including 10-1 in shots on goal. The Seminoles also added a 7-4 edge in corner kicks, with fouls narrowly 7-5 to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish received the match’s only yellow card.
“It was a tough one for us,” Notre Dame head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “I thought in the second half we played better, but in the first half we came out a little flat. Florida State is too good of a team for us to not show up and compete for everything, and I think they exposed us in a lot of ways in the first half.”
The Seminoles broke through in the 22nd minute, as pinpoint passing from Pickett to Megan Campbell pushed the attack into the left corner. Campbell laced a perfect cross to Brynjarsdottir, who deposited her 14th goal of the season into the net to put Florida State in front 1-0 at 21:42.
“At the end of the day, we’re a possession team,” Romagnolo said. “Our strengths are getting a hold of the ball, and I don’t think that’s something we did particularly well today under their pressure. The pressure they had when on the ball, in terms of their ability to go at us and put balls over the top, I think showed their speed and ability to get in behind. For me, I felt in our 1V1 matchups we didn’t really assert ourselves and do a good job of shutting them down.”
Notre Dame picked up its first shot of the match after 22 minutes of game play, as sophomore forward Kaleigh Olmsted (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) got loose in the Florida State zone. Olmsted’s shot drifted wide to the right and into the side goal netting.
The Seminoles added their second goal after a foul in the box on Campbell gave Florida State a penalty kick attempt. Campbell converted the try from the spot past a diving Kaela Little (Tulsa, Oklahoma/Bishop Kelley) at 26:43 to vault the Seminoles in front 2-0.
“Overall, (Florida State) is very athletic,” Romagnolo said. “They are a very physical team. I felt on the day we were a bit undisciplined in our defending, so I thought they had a lot of time on the ball to make decisions. A lot of those decisions resulted in players who were given very good opportunities to go to goal.”
The Fighting Irish built through the attack in the 37th minute, with the ball ultimately getting to junior midfielder Glory Williams (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) at the top right of the 18-yard box. A left-footed try from Williams carried wide of the net and out of play.
Notre Dame built up its best chance of the half in the 43rd minute after Olmsted made a terrific run down the right sideline past the Florida State defense. A nice right-footed service out front found junior midfielder/tri-captain Cari Roccaro (East Islip, New York/East Islip), who settled and blasted high from 15 yards out to stymie the Fighting Irish surge.
A nice run by Olmsted early in the second half earned Notre Dame a corner from the right flag in the 56th minute. Junior defender Brittany Von Rueden (Mequon, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angeles) struck a looping corner service sailed right into the grasp of Florida State goalkeeper Cassie Miller for the third time on the night, slowing the Fighting Irish attack once more.
Little stepped up to make a great save on Florida State’s Cheyna Williams after Williams slipped through the Notre Dame defense on a great pass by the Seminole front line in the 59th minute. Williams knocked a try from 16 yards right into the grasp of the Fighting Irish keeper for the first Florida State shot on goal of the second frame.
Brynjarsdottir looked to add her second goal of the match in the 68th minute, sneaking behind the Notre Dame back line to receive a cross from the right wing. Little dove to her right to make a great sprawling save and deflect the ball out of play.
A shot nearly two minutes later from Florida State’s Hikaru Murakami rang off the Notre Dame crossbar, denying another Seminole chance.
Jamia Fields notched her first goal of the season in the 84th minute, ripping a destructive right-footed shot off the underside of the crossbar from Williams and into the net to put Florida State up 3-0.
Senior forward Karin Simonian (Westbury, New York/W.T. Clarke) broke through for the Fighting Irish at 89:57, scoring the second-latest regulation goal in program history off a corner kick from Olmsted to thwart the shutout and close the scoring at 3-1.
“For us, these games are great because we get to measure ourselves and see where we are at,” Romagnolo said. “Over the course of the season, we’ve had a couple of these games, but not a lot. I think that with each of these experiences, we learn and try to get better. On the whole, we’ve had a very good season, and we want to continue to learn from this experience, and take that into the NCAA tournament and move on from there.”
Little made seven saves in the Notre Dame goal, including four during the second half, Florida State’s Miller went without a save in the win.
Notre Dame will learn its NCAA Championship fate on Monday at 4:30 p.m. (ET) during the NCAA Championship Selection Show, which will stream live on NCAA.com.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDSoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
#2 Florida State 3, #10/8 Notre Dame 1
ACC Women’s Soccer Championship – Semifinal
Nov. 7, 2014
Greensboro, N.C. (UNCG Soccer Stadium)
Notre Dame 0 1 – 1
Florida State 2 1 – 3
Total Shots: ND 5 (3-2), FSU 18 (9-9)
Shots on Goal: ND 1 (0-1), FSU 10 (5-5)
Saves: ND 7 (Kaela Little 7 in 90:00), FSU 0 (Cassie Miller 0 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 4 (1-3), FSU 7 (5-2)
Fouls: ND 8 (5-3), FSU 4 (3-1)
Yellow Card: Cari Roccaro (ND, 66:58)
Offsides: ND 1, FSU 0
Records: ND 12-5-2; FSU 17-1-1
Next for ND: NCAA Championship, dates and opponents TBA.