No. 1 FSU Soccer Knock Down No. 25 SMU to apply to Sweet 16 Florida State Seminoles Southern Methodist Mustangs

No. 1 FSU Soccer Knock Down No.  25 SMU to apply to Sweet 16 Florida State Seminoles Southern Methodist Mustangs

Florida State #1 (18-1-2) defeated #25 Southern Methodist University (12-5-2) 5-1 tonight at Seminole Football Complex.

Game Summary

Florida was born in the 17th minute first good chance. The Seminoles had the ball in the defensive third of the Mustang. Clara Robbins finds Jodi Brown on the right side. Brown immediately hit the ball to Peta Olsson who was running into the penalty area. Olson right footed shot hit the goal once. SMU protector Samantha Estrada rolled to her right and released the ball away for a great save.

In the 21st minute Noel had another chance. Brown and Winnie were sent off in the midfield. The ball went straight to Jenna Nighswonger who turned around and sped forward. Brown also took off using her speed to bypass the Mustang’s defense. Nighsonger played a nice ball for Brown who touched it before spotting Olson in the middle of the field. Olsson made a one-touch shot and a low shot into goal but Estrada was up to the task once again by kicking the ball wide with her right foot. Courtney Sebazko tried to clear her but Nighswonger came to turn the ball in the air. Gabe Carle and Jasmine Fellgren went for the ball but Fellgren gave Karl a hip check while Karl was in the air and Fellgren was called up for the foul. FSU had a free kick from about 22 yards. SMU put four players into the wall. Nighsonger and Yujie Zhao stood over the ball for the Seminoles. Both players got close to the ball but Zhao actually took the kick. Zhao sent a right-footed ball to the near post which veered off the post and ended up curling in the net on the right side to net FSU’s first goal of the game. Zhao hit the ball almost perfectly but to be fair it must be noted that the wall didn’t do its job. In such free kicks, it is impossible for the goalkeeper to cover the entire goal, so she relies on the wall to protect the part of the goal she cannot reach, which did not happen in this play. The ball is honked over the players’ heads into the wall. They should have jumped and headed the ball away. I know it’s easy for me to say when I’m just sitting here writing this article, but if you’re not willing to sacrifice your body a little bit, you shouldn’t be in the wall. In this case, the ball moves slightly over my heads #15 (Abby Dermot) and #22 (Katina Tsapos) before it ends up at the back of the net. These two players actually fall back while the ball crosses them. Estrada put in a great effort but didn’t really have a chance to save a well-kicked ball.

In the 28th minute Knowles got another result. This time it was Brown who was once again wreaking havoc on the Mustang’s backline. Howell started it with a tricky tackle to get the ball off SMU. The Nighswonger immediately pounced on the ball to touch Brown, who was starting to run down the right side. SMU had pressed forward in attack so there was an acre of Nighswonger ball space. Brown used her blistering speed to get to the ball before the defenders. When Brown touched the ball, she was playing a 1v1 role with the goalkeeper and brilliantly touched it to get past Estrada and then passed the ball with her left foot into the goal.

In the 50th minute FSU widened the lead even more. SMU had possession in midfield. Fellgren sent a pass back but Olsson went forward and intercepted the ball. Olson was 1 against 1 with the goalkeeper. Tatum Sutherland (SMU’s new goalkeeper) came to cut Olson’s corner. However, Olsson quietly made a move to get it and then sent a right-footed shot towards the open goal to give Noles a 3-0 lead.

To their credit, the Mustang continued to play. In the 54th minute they got their first good chance of the match. Lindsey Whitmore led the ball on the left side. Kirsten Pavlescu was defending the Federal Football Association. Emily Madrill came to help but Whitmore crossed the ball into the six. FSU guard Christina Roque jumped forward to try to catch the cross but Elizabeth Tse and Gabe Carle (who was observing Tse) interfered and crashed straight into Rocky when she was airborne. Fortunately for the Noles players, the ball went out of the bounds wide to the left. The three players were fine.

In the 72nd minute, Noel continued to press. Madryl drove the ball across the midfield before letting it go to Carl who was running late. Karl took a few touches and fired a left-footed blast from about 23 yards into the upper 90 that beat Sutherland to give Noles a big 4-0 lead. This was a great shot from Carle as she proved once again that FSU is dangerous from all locations across the field.

However, Mustangs are not going away. In the 81st minute, Whitmore led the ball into the penalty area from the right side. Whitmore is tripped into the box by Madryl. This was an obvious mistake and the referee immediately pointed out the scene. It’s not often that the fouled player takes the penalty but that’s what happened in this case where Whitmore stepped up to take the penalty. Whitmore had a perfect shot in the top 90. Rocky moved the right way but the ball was in perfect position and she didn’t have any chance of stopping. It was the first time an SMU player scored a goal against the nation’s first team.

However, Noles was not finished. In the 83rd minute Pavlescu received the ball in an offensive position. With acres of space in front of her, Pavlisko steered the ball into the back line of the Mustang. Pavlescu took the ball to the edge of the penalty area where she met Brock Gulick. Pavlescu dribbled past Golik to the finish line. Sutherland came to challenge it but Pavlescu gave it back to the opportunistic Christina Lynch who put the ball into the net at the last margin 5-1. Lynch did a great job of continuing to scream and being in the right place but that goal was created by Pavlisko’s skill in getting Golik and returning the perfect ball to Lynch to cash in.

From there, CAF salted the match away and came away with a 5-1 victory.

post game

Florida got 17 shots versus three shots for SMU. Noles also had a whopping 13 shots on target versus just two for the Mustang.

The Seminoles also enjoyed a 65% to 35% share of the acquisition.

From September 18 to October 15, Florida State played the following contenders: Boston College, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Clemson, Syracuse, Miami and Virginia Tech. Noles won each of those matches with multiple goals en route, outperforming these opponents with a total of 27-3. FSU was flying high as it remained the only Division I team undefeated and unencumbered. The Seminoles then lost three players to international duty and went 0-1-2 in their last three regular season games. FSU regained their full squad and went on to win the ACC Championship, but still felt as if the team had found its former form that was impressive.

Until tonight.

SMU is not an easy task. They are also ranked 25th in the RPI. However, the Mustang was not a match for the FSU team that appeared tonight. Noles were very fast, very strong and very good tonight. Coach Chris Petrucelli said after the game: “They were really good. I thought we actually played really well. But the overall sporting quality was great at Florida State. Their ability to pass the ball and hold the ball and try to move you and create gaps and spaces was really good…again. I thought our guys did well but they had a lot for us.”

FSU has been trying to find its best form since the team’s full recovery. Looks like from tonight’s performance they might have found him. This was the best I’ve seen in a Noles look since that stretch I referenced above. If Florida State can keep this up, they will give themselves a fantastic opportunity to earn that third star on the jersey.

Next game

However, No. 19 (18 RPI) Pepperdine (17-3-1) is waiting for you. The surf looked great on the NC State serve today without too much trouble with a 3-0 score. Both teams love to own the ball, so it will be very interesting to see which team can impose their will most of the time in the game.

The game will kick off at 2 p.m. on Sunday from the Seminole Football Complex. It will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.

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