Sept. 2, 2006
Tempe, AZ - After a big win in 2005 to start the season, a then unranked Florida State team needed a golden goal to beat Loyola Marymount. If you ask FSU Head Coach Mark Krikorian, he will tell you that was a big turning point for his team on the way to the College Cup. It was déjà vu all over again Friday night. After upsetting the defending National Champions in the season opener this year, Arizona State took FSU to the brink but once again Selin Kuralay scored the golden goal in the 103rd minute to send FSU (2-0) to a 1-0 overtime win over Arizona State (2-1) in Tempe.
"A year ago we were able to sneak up on some people because they didn't know us," said Krikorian. "This year there are no surprises. They are all going to come out, be ready to compete and want to knock us off, whether we are No. 1 in the country or not. We are going to be playing as the favorite in many games we play this year. You have to go in with a different mentality.
"I thought our players were relaxed coming into the game. I don't think we were sharp enough. There were sequences in that game where I though we were absolutely fantastic. It wasn't sharp enough when we needed it to be. I have to look at it and feel good that we were able to figure out a way to get a result in a hostile environment versus a good team. We walked away feeling good about getting a quality win on the road."
The Seminoles were frustrated most of the night by a tough Arizona State team and a brilliant performance by ASU starting keeper Kim Bingham. Florida State held a 17-6 edge in shots. Both teams put five shots on goal but it was Kuralay's strike off a Kelly Rowland throw-in just 2:14 into overtime that was the difference. The game-winner was the seventh of Kuralay's 25-game career. She is already tied for fourth all-time on FSU's career list.
"I think is all about focus and concentration," said Kuralay. "The effort this team puts in is amazing. If it wasn't for our girls constantly pressuring and trying to get that winner, I wouldn't have been successful. It was a team effort. We pushed forward well. Our defense was compact and composed. I think we moved the ball really well. We kept our composure and my number one priority is to always score goals. I am going take a shot no matter where I am at."
"Sel is a handful for opponents," said Krikorian. "She is the kind of player that finds a way to win games. She is a winner. She is clever and composed. Tonight we needed a big player to step forward and make a big play. She is the one who did it. Hats off to her. She made the right play at the right time."
This was the fourth overtime game for FSU since Krikorian took over the program in 2005 and the Seminoles remained undefeated in those matches moving to 3-0-1. Last season the Seminoles defeated Duke and Loyola Marymount and then tied North Carolina in the NCAA quarterfinals. Three of the four OT games under Krikorian have come on the road.
"Obviously this was our first away game and we came into a hostile environment," said Rowland who recorded her 16th career assist and her eighth game-winning assist. "There crowd was definitely a factor. It is a great win. I am glad we got through it."
"This was a very important win," said Mims. "We knew we had to find a way to pull this one out. This sets the tone following the Portland win. We came into a trap tonight against a very good team after a huge program victory and showed we could find a way to get it done."
Both teams played pretty evenly through the first eight minutes with each team generating one dangerous opportunity on a free kick. In the 10th minute FSU had its best chance of the early going and it came off another set piece. A free kick was played onto the head of Kuralay and her shot required a diving save by Bingham.
Kuralay had three more chances to put Florida State in the lead. Two came on free kicks from about 25 yards out and another on a rebound but the Sun Devil defense blocked all three of her strikes before they could get on frame.
By the 15 minute mark FSU had started to gain control of possession as ASU relied on counter attacks but it was an FSU counter attack that almost produced the game's first goal. Mami Yamaguchi and Kirsten van de Ven broke out of the back together and ran up the field on the left side. van de Ven found Yamaguchi on the wing. She made a skillful run across the top of the 18 and when she got a look at goal she fired but once again the ASU defense was there to get a foot on it.
India Trotter got into the act as she had her first chance to try and beat Bingham. The All-American collected the ball on a clearance off a corner kick and one-timed a strike just wide of the goal.
Trotter started another chance for the Seminoles when she played a perfect ball in to Holly Peltzer. The junior got endline and crossed the ball but nobody was there to latch on to the pass.
In the 33rd minute van de Ven made an amazing run about 50 yards down the center of the pitch. She got to the 18 and pulled the trigger on a low liner just wide of the far post past a diving Bingham.
ASU didn't take its first shot until the 34th minute but just a few minutes later FSU had its best opportunity of the half. Kuralay played a great ball into the box onto the foot of defender Katrin Schmidt. The sophomore didn't do enough with the point blank shot and hit it wide.
The Sun Devils didn't test Mims until the 40th minute with a shot on goal but a turnover in the box almost staked the Devils to the lead. Christine Nieva picked up the loose ball on the left side about five yards out. She fired at Mims but the six-year senior made a brilliant save to keep the game even.
The last serious chance of the half came on FSU's 12th shot. Annie Stalzer made a great move to free herself at the top of the 18 on the left side. She ripped a shot to the back post that forced Bingham to punch wide of the net.
The Seminoles had the best chance in the beginning of the second half and it came on a Becky Edwards free kick from midfield. The freshman played a ball to the top of the 18 where Kuralay directed onto a streaking Stalzer. The freshman was taken down from behind just before she got to the ball 10 yards out but no whistle was blown.
In the 67th minute Libby Gianeskis came up big for FSU. ASU's Brittney Dotty ran through the entire Seminole midfield and got into the box before Gianeskis caught up to her inside the 18 and cleared the ball away before she was in 1-v-1 with Mims.
The play seemed to turn the momentum for ASU as the Sun Devils started to pressure the Seminoles and hold possession on FSU's half of the pitch. The Sun Devils continued to bring in fresh legs off the bench to keep constant pressure on the ball.
The Seminoles broke free of the Devil pressure in the 75th minute as Iraia Iturregi played a great ball into Trotter at the top of the 18. Trotter took one touch and went to the endline. She just got a cross off in front of Bingham at the near post put the keeper came out and beat Peltzer to the ball.
With 9:53 to go it looked like FSU was finally going to put the game away. Peltzer gathered the ball about 30 yards out and turned towards goal. Instead of feeding a streaking Toby Ranck down the flank she sent a ball into Trotter down the middle of the field. Trotter got in 1-v-1 with Bingham but the keeper came up with a huge sliding save to once again thwart an FSU attack.
The close call once again seemed to swing the pendulum as FSU now turned up the pressure and kept the ball in the Devil third of the field for long stretches to end regulation. ASU kept just one player up high looking for a quick counter seeming to be resigned to defend for the rest of the half.
With just over a minute to go, Kuralay played a ball to Yamaguchi on the left side. The sophomore just got to the pass and found Peltzer inside the box but in her attempt to trap the ball and bring it down, she was whistled for a hand ball ending the threat.
The first chance in the overtime belonged to the Devils as a diagonal pass was sent in to a streaking forward about 20 yards out. Mims came charging out to meet the ball and the forward but was able to clear the pass out as the senior continued to come up big for FSU.
"I knew I had to be focused especially with the energy and intensity ASU brought," said Mims. "I just know that they can hit the ball from one end of the field to another with one strike. I had to be ready. I felt good in warm-ups for this game and felt focused the whole night. Luckily a couple good saves built my confidence. That is what I ride on, knowing you can make the big save when your team needs you. It was an exciting night for our team."
"She was very solid," said Krikorian of Mims' effort. "Her distribution was solid as was her play with her feet. She came off her line the one time under duress and was able to clear the ball away. Her handling was very good today and we are comfortable with her back there. Our defending was very good and playing against a completely style and system than we did against Portland; it was a good sign for us that we can adjust to different types of competition."
Then Florida State struck. With just over two minutes gone by, the Seminoles won a throw-in deep in ASU territory. The Rowland's long throw found Kuralay in the box where the junior netted the 17th goal of her career beating Bingham for the first time on the night.
"Kelly's throw-ins are always dangerous no matter where they come from on the field," said Kuralay. "That is a really good weapon for us especially in overtime. She is able to get the ball into the penalty box. I hung back a little bit and India called the shot. I was so frustrated from the game I put all the frustration into that shot and just smacked it home with my left foot."
"Anytime we get a set piece, we practice it so much, we know how dangerous they can be," said Rowland. "I just kind of threw it in there for Becky (Edwards) and Sel. Luckily Sel got a foot on it and put it in the back of the net."
Florida State returns to action in Tempe, AZ when they complete the Heather Farr Kicks Against Breast Cancer Tournament versus Loyola (MD). The game will be played Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. ET. Game Tracker will be available for the game at Seminoles.com.
NOTES: Iraia Iturregi made the first start of her FSU career...the Seminoles held an opponent to just two first half shots for the second straight game...Seminoles go to overtime for the fourth time under Mark Krikorian...FSU improves to 14-5-16 all-time in OT games...Rowland extends her record for assists and points by a defender to 16 and 40...Mims becomes just the third FSU keeper to ever record double digit career shutouts...FSU is the only team from the 2005 College Cup that has yet to lose a game in 2006.