Dec. 2, 2011
KENNESAW, Ga. (seminoles.com) - Florida State's run to the College Cup came to a close Friday evening in Kennesaw as top-ranked Stanford defeated the Seminoles 3-0 in front of a crowd of over 9,000 in the first semifinal of the 2011 NCAA Tournament at the KSU Soccer Complex.
The Cardinal (24-0-1) scored two goals in a span of two and a half minutes in the first half to grab a lead they would never relinquish, while adding a third goal in the 64th minute to run their unbeaten streak to a nation's best 25 games.
Three different Stanford players found the back of the net Friday night including the game-winner by Chioma Ubogagu in the 22nd minute. Kristy Zurmuhlen and Alina Garciamendez also scored as the Cardinal advances to the national championship game for the third year in a row and will face the winner on Duke/Wake Forest on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
The Seminoles were shut out for the first time since a 3-0 setback at the hands of Maryland back on October 13 in Tallahassee. The loss snapped FSU's season-best 10-game unbeaten streak as the Seminoles finished the year at 18-7-1.
"What a competitive game," said head coach Mark Krikorian. "Credit to Stanford, they're a very good team and they certainly took advantages of some situations in the game that didn't work well for us, but I thought our kids competed favorably and we played a very good team today. Congratulations to Stanford and good luck to them as they move forward."
Florida State finished the game outshooting Stanford 12-9 including an 8-3 advantage in the second half. Senior Janice Cayman led all Seminoles with three shots including two on goal - both coming in the second half. Tori Huster, Tiana Brockway and Toni Pressley each registered two shots a piece.
Brockway recorded the first Seminole shot of the game in the 11th minute bending a ball over the crossbar off a free kick. Tiffany McCarty was fouled from behind on the play leading to the free kick opportunity.
In the 16th minute, Jamia Fields and Dagny Brynjarsdottir combined to force Stanford into a save situation. Fields slotted a pass into the box to Brynjarsdottir. The Icelandic native dribbled a couple yards with a Cardinal defender on her side before firing a shot on goal that Stanford keeper Emily Oliver deflected and then recovered in plenty of time to corral the loose ball and prevent any further damage.
"You know that you are only going to get so many chances against a good team," added Krikorian. "You needed to capitalize on those opportunities. I think we had a couple of good looks and either we struck the ball at the goalkeeper or missed over the goal. That's the way this game goes. If you don't put the ball in the net you can't push forward.
"The counter attack off of our corner kick, maybe if we were a little better, a little more precise on our finishing it would be different, but give credit to Stanford."
Stanford broke the scoreless tie in the 22nd minute on a goal by Ubogagu to give the Cardinal a 1-0 lead. The goal came off a Florida State corner as Mariah Nogueira started the counter attack for the Cardinal winning possession off a header. Ubogagu collected the ball at midfield and dribbled down the field on a two-on-two attack. The freshman forward slipped a pass to Teresa Noyola, who one-timed a pass right back to Ubogagu, who made a nice move before finding the back of the net to give Stanford the one-goal lead.
Less than three minutes later, the Cardinal would increase their lead to 2-0 as Kristy Zurmuhlen scored off a double assist from Ubogagu and Lindsay Taylor. Taylor sent a long ball down the left side of the pitch to Ubogagu, who sent a pass back inside the box where Zurmuhlen came sliding in to redirect the ball inside the left post for the goal.
"You could say that it was a little bit against the run of play because we had possession of the ball for the first 20 minutes or so," said Huster. "It was frustrating because it was the end of our season, but I am very proud of the way our girls fought out there and give credit to Stanford."
McCarty had a great look right before the half firing just high from about 17 yards out as the two teams went into the locker room with the Cardinal holding a 6-4 advantage in shots.
The Seminoles came out of the break putting the offensive pressure on the Cardinal recording three shots in the first 12 minutes. In a shot similar to the one she scored on against Virginia in the ACC Tournament, Cayman blasted a bending ball toward the upper right corner but Oliver was there for the save.
Florida State had a chance to cut into the lead in the 56th minute but back-to-back diving saves by Oliver kept the Seminoles off the scoreboard. Off another free kick from just outside the box, Brockway sent another beautiful shot on goal as Oliver tipped it over the crossbar. On the ensuing corner, Brockway sent a long ball to the far post where Tori Huster headed a shot on goal, but once again Oliver was there to make an outstanding diving save to keep the ball out of the net.
"It looked pretty good from my angle, but I wish it was a little lower on the first one (direct kick)," said Brockway. "It kind of rose at the end, but it was something that I've been working on. It always looks better from where you're standing."
The Cardinal wrapped up the scoring in the second half as Garciamendez headed a pass from Madeleine Thompson just under the crossbar for her first goal of the season.
The Seminoles pushed the offensive pressure in the final 20 minutes but the Stanford defense and Oliver were too much as the Cardinal keeper finished the game with six saves.
Although Friday night's result was not the outcome Florida State had hoped for, it was still a season to be proud of. The Seminoles earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history after capturing their first ACC Championship. FSU advanced to its fifth College Cup this year, defeated the University of Virginia for the first time ever and performed that feat twice and then became the first team to hand the University of North Carolina a loss in the ACC Tournament.