Noles Blank Pilots in Season Opener
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – One goal and just one second on the clock was all Florida State needed Friday night as the second-ranked Seminoles opened the 2014 season with a 1-0 victory over No. 11 Portland in front of a fantastic crowd of 1,624 inside the Seminole Soccer Complex.
“I give an awful lot of credit to Portland, coming in here, playing in the heat and humidity, and battling and making it very difficult for us,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “We started off a little slow, a little bit sluggish and then as we started to play a little bit we started to get better rhythm in the run of play. But we will have to be a bit better in the penalty box and in and around the goal as we move on this season.”
With the clock winding down late in the first half, Berglind Thorvaldsdottir took a pass from Morgan Kennedy and fired a long shot from about 30 yards out that beat Portland keeper Hanna De Haan for what would be the only goal of the game. The ball crossed the plain of the goal just under the crossbar with one second left in the half to give the Noles the lead heading into the locker room.
“We won the ball and I saw the goalkeeper was real ahead of the line,” said Thorvaldsdottir. “I thought, hey I’m going to go for it. And I did and it scored.”
“Obviously a very opportunistic goal at the end of the first half by Berglind,” added Krikorian. “But overall, I think when you walk away and have a win against a top 20 team, and you have a shutout with a few good chances, I think you feel reasonably good about it.”
The goal would hold up as the Seminoles extended their school-record home unbeaten streak to 36 games (35-0-1) following Friday night’s victory. Florida State also improved to 14-5-1 all-time on opening day including a mark of 9-1-1 when opening at home.
“It felt great,” added redshirt sophomore defender Kirsten Crowley on playing in front of the home crowd. “I mean, the crowd was awesome and it was a great atmosphere. It was easy to get motivated tonight.”
Florida State has now played in 17 one-goal games dating back to the start of last year with the Seminoles claiming 15 victories including eight by a 1-0 decision.
The Seminoles finished the game out shooting the Pilots 23-8 including 16-4 in the second half. Florida State also held the edge in corner kicks at 8-3.
Florida State looked to add more in the second half but was denied by De Haan and a pair of clutch team saves by Portland’s defense.
In the 52nd minute, Kristin Grubka found a streaking Cheyna Williams down the middle of the field. The junior transfer beat the keeper to the ball as her touch carried her to the end line. Williams recovered in time to put a shot on goal but a Pilot defender was there to keep the ball out of the back of the net.
Twenty minutes later another team save by Portland kept the Seminole lead at 1-0. This time it was Nickolette Driesse that beat De Haan with a low liner toward the far post but Ellie Boon came out of nowhere to make a tremendous save before the ball crossed the line.
Less than six minutes later, a header by Grubka off a corner kick from Isabella Schmid was saved off the far post by De Haan.
On the other side of the net, Cassie Miller earned her first collegiate victory and shutout as the redshirt freshman keeper made to two saves in 90 minutes of action against the Pilots.
The Seminole defense, led by Grubka, Crowley, Emma Koivisto, Schmid and Carson Pickett, was stellar on Friday night limiting the Pilots to just two shots on goal.
“I think we played really well tonight,” said Crowley. “We had a bunch of chances and I think when we go back and watch the film, we will tweak a couple things. We are going to start scoring a lot of goals. Our attack is really good. Defensively, we are very organized and it is a good start to the season.”
Florida State is back in action on Sunday, August 24 as the Seminoles host Minnesota at 1:00 p.m. Live stats will be available for the match at Seminoles.com, while in-game updates will be posted on the official twitter page of the Seminole soccer team (@FSU_Soccer).