Nov. 11, 2007
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. - Third-seeded Florida State (13-5-3) fell short of its quest for an ACC Championship falling to top seeded North Carolina (17-3-1) 1-0 Sunday afternoon at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. The title was the Tar Heels' 18th league championship in 20 opportunities.
The Seminoles managed just three shots on the afternoon all coming off the foot of ACC Offensive Player of the Year Mami Yamaguchi. The shutout was the first of the season against the Garnet and Gold, snapping FSU's 26-game scoring streak. The streak dated back to last season's ACC semifinal match as Florida State and Wake Forest played to a scoreless draw.
"A credit to Carolina," stated head coach Mark Krikorian. "They are a great program. They found a way to score a goal and win the game."
The game got off to a slow start as it took over 15 minutes for either team to record a shot. North Carolina's Yael Averbuch got off the first shot as the ball sailed wide left of the goal from 22 yards out.
Casey Nogueira tried to sneak a shot past Seminole keeper Erin McNulty in the 25th minute as McNulty made a nice save. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was unable to control the initial shot as the ball fell loose, but senior Libby Gianeskis was there to clear the ball out of the zone.
Less than two minutes later, North Carolina countered with the first and only goal of the game as Nikki Washington deflected a cross from Meghan Klingenberg just inside the left post for a 1-0 Tar Heel advantage. The goal was Washington's fifth of the season and third of the tournament.
Florida State registered its first and only shot in the 34th minute as Mami Yamaguchi blasted a shot from about 24 yards out that deflected out off a Tar Heel defender.
Twice in the first half Florida State caught goalkeeper Anna Rodenbough out of position on plays inside the box, but the Seminoles were unable to capitalize.
North Carolina outshot the Seminoles 4-1 in the first half, while maintaining a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks.
"We played hard and fought today," said Yamaguchi. "Especially in the second half, I thought our intensity was a lot better. But credit to UNC, they played a great match today."
Unlike the first half, it didn't take long for the first shot to be recorded in the second stanza as the Tar Heels' Tobin Heath had a clear look from eight yards out. The shot went right into the chest of McNulty for the save, but the ball trickled away. The Seminole keeper was able to gain control of the ball before it crossed the line to keep the score at 1-0.
In the 57th minute, Yamaguchi tried to sneak a scissor kick on goal from inside the box but the Tar Heel defense was there once again for the deflection.
Although managing just two shots, Florida State maintained possession for a good portion of the second half putting the pressure on North Carolina. But the Tar Heels were up for the call holding the Seminoles to their fewest shots all season.
With eight minutes remaining in the game, Washington looked to give the Tar Heels a two goal advantage on a shot from the left side of the pitch. But Becky Edwards was there with a huge save heading the ball off the line.
North Carolina finished the game with a 12-3 shot advantage, while the Seminoles managed one corner kick coming in the second half. McNulty finished the game with six saves for the Seminoles.
Yamaguchi tied UNC's Washington, who was named Tournament MVP, with six points. The Tokyo, Japan native tallied two goals and two assists in three games for the Seminoles this week. Switzer scored her first two goals of the season against Wake Forest, while DaCosta registered three points on a goal and an assist. Schmidt played outstanding defense for the Seminoles in all three games.
Florida State will next await word from the NCAA on if they will be part of the 64-team field. The NCAA Women's Soccer Selection Committee will announce the participating teams on Monday, November 12 on ESPNews between 8-8:30 pm.
"Playing the schedule we play, we are battle tested," explained Krikorian on his team's chances of making the NCAA Tournament. "Playing against Carolina, playing them to a 1-0 score and giving ourselves the opportunity to hang in there and try to find a way to win is great preparation for us. Whatever the draw is and whatever ends up happening, we'll be as prepared as we can be."