TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The No. 1 Florida State soccer team (14-2-3) defeated Florida Gulf Coast (12-6-2) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night at the Seminole Soccer Complex. The Seminoles blanked the Eagles for the second time this season, with a final score of 3-0.
Florida State improved its first-round record to 21-0-1 with tonight’s win. The Seminole defense was the difference maker in the matchup, with the game-winning goal coming from Lauren Flynn. Cristina Roque did her part and kept the Eagles out of the net for her 24th career shutout.
The first half consisted of a handful of good chances offensively, but FGCU’s keeper Katie Sullivan tallied three saves to keep the Seminoles off the scoreboard. Florida State had the advantage in shots with 11 and 72% of the possession in the first half.
Flynn sparked the Seminoles in the 52nd minute with a gritty solo effort and her third career goal. Flynn ventured up into the Eagles’ 18-yard-box, navigated through the chaos of FGCU defenders and placed her shot in the lower left corner.
Ten minutes later, LeiLanni Nesbeth scored her 12th career goal and 5th of the season in the 62nd minute. The build-up began in the midfield with the ball at Clara Robbins’ feet. She slotted it in on the right side of the 18-yard-box to Jody Brown. Brown found Nesbeth at the top of the box, playing the ball to her right foot. Nesbeth took the shot with one touch and thanks to a fortunate deflection, she put the Seminoles up 2-0.
The final goal of the night happened in the 76th minute by Kaitlin Zipay. In typical Florida State soccer fashion, the goal was a finish off a corner kick from Jenna Nighswonger. Nighswonger sent the ball in from the right corner into the six-yard box. Zipay was in the right place at the right time, redirecting it into the goal with her right shoulder. Zipay has scored two goals in her career, both of which were this season.
Florida State will take play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament next Friday, November 18.