TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Kirsten Crowley’s golden goal in the 96th minute lifted No. 3 Florida State (4-0-0) to a hard fought 1-0 victory over No. 17 UCF (2-2-0) on a hot and steamy Sunday afternoon inside the Seminole Soccer Complex. The win kept the Seminoles undefeated on the year while pushing their school record home winning streak to 21 straight games.
After both teams played scoreless soccer through the first 90 minutes, Florida State continued its offensive pressure into the first overtime winning back-to-back corner kicks in the 95th minute.
The second would result in the game-winner as Carson Pickett lifted the kick inside the box where Berglind Thorvaldsdottir put a shot on frame. UCF keeper Lianne Maldonado was there for the save but could not hold on to the ball as Crowley was there to put away the loose ball for the game-winner and her first collegiate goal.
“It was all about being in the right place at the right time,” said Crowley. “After the ball went in, I said to myself ‘did this just happen; it’s over, no more overtime, we can rest now.’ The whole time everyone was saying that it only takes one, it only takes one moment to win this game.”
Florida State has now won three in a row over UCF and has not lost at home to the Knights since 2004.
“I thought UCF gave us all we could handle this afternoon,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “They battled from start to finish and brought a great fight, a great intensity to the game. They challenged our kids. Obviously, I’m quite pleased in the end as we were able to score a goal and come out with a win.
“We felt quite confident as the second half wore on that we were eventually going to get some chances on their goal which we did and fortunately Crowley was there at the end to knock one in for us.”
Florida State was not sharp in the early going as UCF controlled the pace of play for a good part of the first half. At one point the Knights were out shooting the Seminoles 4-1 in the first half, but FSU closed with two late shots including a long blast off the foot of Michaela Hahn in the 44th minute that forced Maldonado into a diving save.
“In the first half, we were not very sharp,” said Krikorian. “We came out sluggish and lethargic. UCF definitely came out with more energy than we did. In the second half, we started to put the ball on the ground, connected a lot more passes and did a nice job of moving and creating.
When play resumed in the second half, Florida State looked like a new team creating more chances and maintaining possession of the ball. Kassey Kallman had two good looks early in the second half in a span of six minutes. The first header off a free kick from Megan Campbell was blocked by a UCF defender while the second sailed just wide of the right post.
Kristin Grubka also had a great look in the 52nd minute but her header off a corner went high and out of play.
UCF countered with a scoring opportunity in the 69th minute when Tatiana Coleman created some space on the right side of the pitch to put a shot on goal from about 16 yards, but FSU keeper Kelsey Wys was there for the save on the near post.
Florida State out shot UCF 9-3 over the final 50:02 including a 2-0 edge in overtime. Pickett, Hahn and Kallman paced the Seminoles with two shots each on Sunday.
“UCF played really hard today,” said Kallman. “It was a tough game and we are coming off a tough game from Friday. Today, we had to see what we were made of and when everyone is a little tired and its hot out, I thought we did a good job. The first half wasn’t our best but at halftime we talked about picking it up, pushing through it and working for each other.”
With the win, the Seminoles wrapped up a perfect weekend against their intra-state rivals with a pair of shutouts outscoring No. 8 Florida and No. 17 UCF by a combined 4-0 margin.
“We knew when we scheduled Florida on Friday night in Gainesville and then coming home to play UCF on Sunday that we would have one tough weekend in front of us and that is what we found to be the case this weekend,” added Krikorian.
“Those are two shutouts against two very good teams. We were on balance once again with Kelsey in goal and the backline being strong. From front to back, I thought we had good organization, good competitive spirit and good defending.”
The Seminole defensive unit of Campbell, Kallman, Grubka and Crowley were once again up for the call in holding the Knights to just two shots on goal the entire match. For the weekend, FSU posted two shutouts while allowing just six shots on goal.
Kelsey Wys played the entire match on Sunday to pick-up the win and register her third shutout of the season. In over 365 minutes of action this year, Florida State has allowed just one goal through the first four games.
“As a team we did a very good job defensively,” said Kallman. “We didn’t give them too many chances and when we did Kelsey was there. We were very organized today.”
Florida State returns to the pitch at home on Friday, September 6 when the Seminoles welcome Oklahoma State to the Seminole Soccer Complex for a 7:00 p.m. first kick. Live stats will be available on gametracker, while in-game updates will be available on twitter throughout the match.
As always, Seminole fans can follow the Noles on twitter @FSU_Soccer and remember to like the Seminoles on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FSUSoccer).