Nov. 28, 2008
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The quest for a fourth straight College Cup appearance came to an end on Friday evening as sixth-ranked Florida State (17-3-3) fell to Notre Dame (25-0-0) 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles batted the top-ranked team in the nation for the full 90 minutes but couldn't manage a goal for just the fourth time all season.
The loss was the first for the Seminoles since falling 1-0 to Virginia back on September 25, a span of 14 games. It also marked the first time this season that Florida State dropped a contest on the road as the Seminoles finished the year 9-1-3 away from Tallahassee.
Despite the frigid temperatures and poor field conditions on Friday night, the game was a physical battle throughout as the Seminoles hung with the lone undefeated team in the nation. The Irish finished the game with a narrow advantage in both shots (12-11) and corner kicks (6-4), while holding a +5 advantage in fouls.
Notre Dame recorded the first scoring opportunity of the game in the ninth minute on a miscue by the Seminole defense at midfield. Kerri Hanks took the turnover and dribbled down the middle of the field before sending a low liner towards the left post. FSU goalkeeper Kate Milstead made a diving save poking the ball out of bounds.
Short registered the first two shots of the game for the Seminoles. Her second blast from the left forced Irish keeper Kelsey Lysander into a diving save as the ball trickled away. Sanna Talonen was there for the rebound finding the back of the net but the goal was taken off the board as the sophomore forward was called for offside.
Rachel Lim got a shot on goal in the 16th minute unloading on a long drive from 30 yards out but Lysander was there for the save.
Notre Dame took advantage of its second corner of the game in the 19th minute as Julie Schuveiller headed in the bending ball from Hanks for her first goal of the season to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.
"We know that Notre Dame is pretty good on set pieces," said head coach Mark Krikorian. "That is one of their strengths. We addressed it during our training and preparation, but it was a quality service by Hanks and good timing of the run on the finish."
It was the first goal given up by the Seminoles in the postseason and the first allowed in over 439 minutes. The last goal scored on Florida State came at the 48:18 mark in the second half against NC State in the final game of the regular season.
For the first time this postseason and the fifth time in 2008, the Seminoles entered the locker room trailing at the half. The two teams went into intermission taking five shots a piece, while the Irish held the advantage in corner kicks at 4-1.
At the start of the second half, Jessica Price took the opening kickoff and weaved her way down the middle of the field before dumping off to Amanda DaCosta. DaCosta fired a shot off the Irish defense before Notre Dame was able to clear the ball out of the zone.
Courtney Rosen posted the first Irish shot of the second half knuckling a shot on goal that Milstead had to go up high for to make the save.
The Irish had a great scoring opportunity in the 62nd minute following another Notre Dame corner. The ball remained in the Irish offensive third for several seconds before Hanks sent a dangerous cross into the box from the left side. Michelle Weissenhofer redirected the pass on goal, but Milstead was there for the diving save to keep the deficit at one.
In the 72nd minute, Notre Dame was called for a foul late in the Seminole offensive third leaving a direct kick from just outside the 18 yard box for senior defender Katrin Schmidt. Schmidt sent a ball into the box, but the Irish defense was able to clear the ball out of the zone.
With less than 14 minutes remaining in the game, the Irish added to their lead on a goal by Taylor Knaack for a two-goal advantage. Hanks was credited with the assist as she send a pass into the box from the end line where Knaack timed her run perfectly finding the back of the net for her fifth goal of the season.
Down two, Florida State turned up the offensive pressure with a pair of shots by freshman Tiffany McCarty. The first was blocked from inside the box by an Irish defender leading to a Seminole corner.
The second shot came off a Seminole throw-in deep in the zone. Toni Pressley headed the ball into the box to McCarty who sent a shot on goal but the Irish's Carrie Dew came running on to head the ball off the line saving what would have been a goal by McCarty.
"I thought that we had enough that we probably could have scored one or two," explained Krikorian on the offensive opportunities in Friday's match. "Again, I felt that there were a couple McCarty put over the backline but Notre Dame did a nice job of keeping the ball out of their net. I felt there were some situations that we created that were pretty dangerous but we just weren't good enough in the final third. I didn't think we were able establish any type of rhythm in the game that we wanted to. There were a lot of fouls and stoppage of the game but that's the game."
The Seminoles continued to force the issue in the closing minutes but it was to no avail as the Irish held on for a two-goal victory.
"It's always a goal at Florida State to give yourself a chance to compete for a national championship," added Krikorian. "We played a lot of quality teams along the way and got some positive results. It was a great season for our team but we just came up a little too short in the end. You also have to credit our seniors, they had quite a run. Our entire team should be proud of the way they played this year."
Florida State closed out the year with at least 17 victories for the fourth consecutive year and for the fifth time in school history. On the opposite end, the Seminoles finished 2008 with just three losses, the fewest recorded in school history.