MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Florida State is bound for the national quarterfinals following a 2-0 victory against Louisville (14-7-3) on Sunday in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
“It was a pretty hard fought round of 16 game,” head coach Mark Krikorian said. “I thought our kids competed and battled well for 90 minutes. Louisville certainly was imposing themselves into the game which made it difficult for us.”
Kassey Kallman and Tiffany McCarty each scored a goal in the win and the Seminoles posted their 11th shutout of the season and second of the NCAA tournament as FSU advanced to the quarterfinals for the seventh consecutive year and eighth time overall.
“We are happy to advance and to play back in Tallahassee next week,” Krikorian said. “The expectations are pretty high for our group. We have a collection of players that are always looking for excellence. I am quite pleased and proud of their efforts. It’s not easy to go on the road and defeat two quality opponents. I think our consistency is fantastic.”
The Seminole defense was up for the challenge holding the Cardinals to just two shots on goal with the first finally coming with just over 10 minutes left in regulation. FSU goalkeeper Kelsey Wys played all 90 minutes in net as she made two saves and posted her seventh shutout of the season.
“We knew that they were going to come out and play direct,” Kallman said. “We talked about how the back line was going to defend that and I think everyone especially the backline did of reading the pressure, backing off and keeping them in front of us.”
Florida State finished the game outshooting Louisville 12-11, including a 7-1 advantage in the first half. McCarty recorded a team-high four shots, while Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Tori Huster each posted two shots each.
Jessica Price registered the first shot of the game in the ninth minute as she got in behind a Cardinal defender on a long pass from Toni Pressley. Price collected the ball down near the end line and made a nice move back toward the top of the box before firing a shot on goal. Cardinal goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer was there for the save to keep the game deadlocked at zero.
Huster had a great scoring chance in the 20th minute as her shot from about 20 yards out ricocheted off the crossbar and out of play. Huster received a great pass from McCarty, weaved herself through traffic and blasted the ball off the crossbar.
The Seminoles broke through with the first goal of the game came in the 24th minute as Kallman flicked a header into the back of the net off a throw-in from Price. The sophomore defender did a nice job to out jump the competition and redirect the ball inside the left post to give Florida State 1-0 lead. The goal was Kallman’s third of the season, while the assist for Price was her team leading ninth of the season.
“We know that Jess has a really dangerous throw and we are going to use that to our advantage,” Kallman said. “Jess threw the ball in perfectly, it found my head and I was able to flick it into the net.”
Louisville posted the first shot of the second half when Christine Exeter hit a shot from the right corner of the 18-yard box that glanced off the crossbar. Jaurena gathered the loose ball and kicked it out of harm’s way.
The Cardinals’ Zakiya McIntosh had a good look on goal in the 69th minute following a throw-in, but her shot went wide of the right post.
FSU’s lead grew to 2-0 as the Seminoles took advantage of a mishit on a goal kick from Kiefer in the 77th minute. Senior Janice Cayman collected the ball that went about 15 yards, beat a couple Cardinal defenders before slipping a pass to McCarty. McCarty dribbled around the keeper and put away the ball into an empty net for her team leading 17th goal of the season. The assist for Cayman was her second in as many matches and her sixth point of the NCAA tournament.
“It was a goal kick, and I fought hard to get the goal back,” Cayman said. “I saw Tiff making a run, so I just had to play it to her. She had a quality finish.
“I mean, it’s my last year here. I think all the seniors are stepping up and are all playing their top level. I mean again, I’m lucky to get some goals and assists.”
The goal for McCarty tied a season-high which she set in 2009, while it ties for the fourth most goals scored in a single season in school history.
Florida State returns home to face Virginia on Nov. 25 in an NCAA tournament quarterfinal match-up.
“I think I’ve made it very clear that I have a great deal of respect for the Virginia team, the program and its staff,” Krikorian said. “I’m a big fan of their style of play. I look forward to it. We’ll be ready; I know they will be ready. Hopefully, we will have beautiful weather and beautiful conditions, and I think it will be a wonderful game of soccer.”