Three second-half goals lift No. 5 FSU over No. 3 Texas A&M
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Battling back from a 1-0 halftime deficit, No. 5 Florida State (4-1-0) found the back of the net three times in the final 25 minutes of the match to post a 3-1 victory over No. 3 Texas A&M (4-1-0) in front of 2,090 fans at the Seminole Soccer Complex on Friday night.
“I really liked our attack and thought we had a lot of good chances,” FSU head coach Mark Krikorian said. “Credit to their goalkeeper, she did quite well. Their defenders put themselves in spots to block shots, but I thought we got into some very dangerous spots a number of times. We scored three goals, which is pretty good against a top-three team in the country.”
Florida State opened with several offensive chances in the first half, but could not convert them into goals. Carson Pickett had a shot in the second minute and Isabella Schmid ripped a ball in the eighth minute that were both saved by Texas A&M goalkeeper Taylor Saucier.
The Noles nearly scored in the 11th minute as Natalia Kuikka hit a ball from the top of the box that was blocked. Cheyna Williams collected the loose ball and her shot attempt sailed high over the crossbar.
Texas A&M took a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute on a chip shot goal by Emily Bates from 35 yards. On a high-arcing kick into the Seminole half of the field, FSU’s Cassie Miller came out of the box to try and play the ball. Due to a miscommunication, Bates reached the ball first was able to lift a soft shot over Miller’s head for the first goal of the game.
In the second half, Williams nearly found the equalizer for Florida State in the 47th minute as she showed some impressive ball skills by dribbling into the box and got around Saucier near the end line. Her shot was blocked by defender McKayla Paulson to keep the Aggies on top, 1-0.
Williams narrowly missed again in the 61st minute with a shot from the right side that beat TAMU keeper Saucier, but ricocheted off the crossbar and was cleared away.
The Noles finally squared the game at 1-1 in the 67th minute on a goal by Kuikka. The scoring chance was started on the second of two consecutive corners for Florida State. Megan Connolly’s service found Kirsten Crowley who headed it toward the goal, but it was blocked. Kuikka found the rebound and put it in the back of the net for her third goal of the season.
Entering the game in the 68th minute, Berglind Thorvaldsdottir did not waste much time in giving Florida State the lead with a goal at 74:27. The redshirt junior forward put away a nice ball from just outside the six-yard box that was slipped in by Schmid to give the Noles a 2-1 lead.
Another corner kick, one of eight for FSU on the evening, set up the final score for Florida State. Carson Pickett played a corner short and when she received the ball back, she crossed it into the box to the far post for Connolly. The freshman from Ireland played it to her feet from her chest and put home the third Seminole goal of the game at 76:07.
“It was a dream to see that go in the back of the net,” said Connolly. “It was a relief, more than anything, to see the three go up on the board and give us a two-goal cushion on them. It let us relax for a second and get our breath and get back to defending to focus on sealing out the game.”
Connolly’s three points on the night with a goal and an assist gives her a team-high six points on the season. Fellow freshman Kuikka also has six points on three goals, along with Thorvaldsdottir (three goals) and Crowley (two goals and two assists). Nine of the 12 goals this season by Florida State have had a freshman scorer or involved on the assist.
“I think our young kids are doing great,” Krikorian added. “They have come in and established themselves in a very positive way and contributing in a very important fashion to the results of the team.”
The Seminoles continue their three-game homestand with a match against RV/No. 19 UCF on Thursday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Florida State has not lost a game in its last 13 home contests, dating back to September 8, 2014.