TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A pair of second half goals just a minute and 30 seconds apart was all that was needed on a beautiful Sunday afternoon as second-seeded Florida State (16-1-3) defeated seventh-seeded Duke (8-8-4), 2-0, in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
The Seminoles advanced to their 10th ACC Tournament semifinal appearance with the win on Sunday where they will face third-seeded North Carolina on Friday, November 8 at 8:00 p.m. at WakeMed Park in Cary, N.C. The Tar Heels were 1-0 winners over Boston College.
“I thought it was a good solid performance,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “In the first half we came out and played into a very strong wind and I thought our kids did a pretty good job of limiting the opportunities by Duke.
“We came out quickly, scored a couple and then were able to go out and do as we needed to end the game. Duke is a good team. They are going to get themselves into the NCAA Tournament and they are going to win the in NCAA Tournament as well.”
With the win, Florida State extended its school record home unbeaten streak to 31 games (30-0-1), while moving to 12-0-1 inside the Seminole Soccer Complex in 2013.
After both teams could not find the back of the net in the first half combining to take just six shots, Florida State broke through with the game’s first goal in the 52nd minute when Megan Campbell was dragged down in the penalty box by Natasha Anasi leading to a penalty kick chance. Isabella Schmid took the kick and successfully converted the opportunity for her first goal of the season to give the Seminoles a 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, FSU extended its lead to 2-0 on a great left footed blast by Kristin Grubka. The junior defender ran in on the loose ball from about 15 yards out following a corner kick by Michaela Hahn and drilled the ball into the upper left corner of the net for her second goal of season as both have come against the Blue Devils.
“The ball kind of dropped down right in front of me…I ran in on it, wound up and struck it with my left foot, hoping it would go in,” said Grubka.
“After we scored the second goal, we did a pretty good job of absorbing their pressure and holding the ball a little bit,” added Krikorian. “I thought overall it was a pretty solid performance.”
Kelsey Wys made an outstanding kick save during the early moments of the second half to shift the momentum in favor of the Seminoles. The redshirt senior keeper found herself in a one-one-on situation against Duke’s Kara Wilson, who received a great ball from Toni Payne. Wilson tried to beat Wys with a ball to the right post, but the Seminole keeper was there with a tremendous save to keep the game scoreless.
Duke’s only other scoring chance came late in the first half when Malinda Allen’s shot off a Blue Devil corner kick was saved by Wys. The ball bounced around in the 6-yard box before Kaitlyn Kerr was able to get on the end of it sending a shot just wide of the left post.
The two-goal lead would be more than enough for the Seminole defense who posted their 11th shutout of the season. Wys finished the afternoon with two saves and in the process became Florida State’s all-time wins leader with four in the ACC Tournament.
“It was pretty big, but a 2-0 lead is always dangerous,” added Grubka. “Our defense held on strong for the last 30 minutes of play so I was pretty happy with that result.”
Florida State’s defensive effort of Kirsten Crowley, Kassey Kallman, Grubka, Campbell and Schmid did a fabulous job of limiting the Blue Devils to six shots on the afternoon and just two on goal.
Marta Bakowska-Mathews, Jamia Fields and Berglind Thorvaldsdottir paced the Seminole offense with two shots a piece on Sunday.
With the win, Florida State improved to 13-15-6 all-time in the ACC Tournament and 2-1-0 in games played in Tallahassee. The Seminoles have now advanced out of the first round of the tournament for the seventh time in the last nine years and are now 9-7-3 all-time.
Florida State and North Carolina are no strangers to playing against each other in the ACC Tournament as the two schools will meet for the 12th time overall and sixth time in the semifinals. The Seminoles have won three straight over the Tar Heels including a tournament quarterfinal victory over UNC in Chapel Hill in 2011.
“It’s been a look time since we played against North Carolina,” said Krikorian. “I think everyone clearly understands that Crystal Dunn is among the best players in the country. We are going to have to keep pretty close track of her and Kealia Ohai up front is quite good. But those aren’t the only pieces they have, they are a loaded team; they are organized and it’s going to be a bit of a war for us. But we are looking forward to it and are excited to continue playing in the ACC Tournament.”
Friday’s second semifinal against the Tar Heels will air live on ESPN3 at 8:00 p.m. Top-seeded Virginia will face fourth-seeded Virginia Tech in the first semifinal at 5:30 p.m.