ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In a rematch of the 2007 National Championship game, No. 1 Florida State (2-0-0) and Southern Cal (1-1-0) showed that they are still among the best in college soccer as it took a goal in the 83rd minute to decide a winner on Sunday morning at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Seminoles earned a 1-0 victory over the Trojans as Isabella Schmid scored the game-winner, putting away a blocked shot from Cheyna Williams.
“We knew that coming here would be a battle – a mental battle and a physical battle,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “Southern Cal has continued and will continue to get better and they gave us all we could handle. I’m thrilled that we were able to find a goal late in the game and find a way to win.”
With crosswinds that were gusting upwards of 30 mph, both teams had to fight the elements as well as each other to move the ball down the field. Florida State led USC 5-1 in shots and 2-0 in shots on goal in the first 45 minutes, but the match went to halftime tied at 0-0.
The Noles did have a few chances in the first half as redshirt junior Kristen Crowley won a ball on a slide tackle that went to the foot of freshman Natalia Kuikka. The Finland native dribbled down the left side and fired a shot in the 14th minute that sailed just high over the crossbar.
In the 17th minute, FSU was awarded a corner and after the service from Carson Pickett, senior midfielder Michaela Hahn ripped a shot that went high.
The first shots on goal came near the end of the half with Kuikka connecting on a shot following a corner in the 43rd minute that was caught by the USC’s Sammy Jo Prudhomme. Pickett added a shot on goal a minute later that was stopped by the keeper.
Florida State had a scoring chance in the 55’ minute as a USC foul on Kaycie Tillman resulted in a free kick deep in the Trojan end. Pickett’s serve in the box found a teammate, but there was not an opening for a shot.
The Noles continued to battle for chances throughout the second half and finally were able to get on the scoreboard in the 83rd minute as a shot from Williams was saved by USC’s Prudhomme, but deflected off the crossbar to a waiting Schmid at the far post. The senior midfielder collected the ball and put away the game-winner from five yards out. It marked the 28th consecutive game that Florida State has scored a goal, extending the school record.
“Cheyna did a great job of fighting her way through the box, and I pretty much only had to collect the ball and take the second ball,” said Schmid. “So Cheyna did most of the work and I just had to finish it.”
USC pressed for several offensive chances down the stretch, but were unable to take a shot as time expired. The Trojans ended with only two shots in the game and zero on goal.
“I think from a psychological point of view we feel good that we conceded a goal on Friday and came back 30 seconds later and scored, and today when the game was on the line we were able to find a goal at the end,” added Krikorian. “Overall, I am quite pleased with that and we have to continue to work and get better.”
In the final stats, the Seminoles led the Trojans 9-2 in shots, 4-0 in shots on goal and 5-2 in corners. Freshmen Elin Jensen and Holly Fritz also recorded shots for FSU.
Florida State returns to Tallahassee for its home opener on Friday, August 28. The Noles welcome Southeast Louisiana to town for a non-conference matchup that will start at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and admission is free for all regular season home games at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
***Courtesy FSU Athletics