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Florida State Athletics | October 21, 2016

No. 9 FSU takes down No. 4 Duke after goal in 98th minute

  FSU maintained its home-game winning streak.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A little luck, a lot of fight and an outstanding header by Kaycie Tillman in the 98th minute gave No. 9 Florida State (11-2-2, 5-1-2 ACC) a 1-0 victory in overtime over No. 4 Duke (11-3-2. 6-1-1 ACC) on Thursday night at the Seminole Soccer Complex.

The Seminoles are now unbeaten in their last 31 matches at home, dating back to Sept. 8, 2014. Florida State has outscored its opponents 94-6 over that span.

“I think that our kids fought hard and we competed today,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “We dug in and got after it the best that we could. I think that Duke created some very good chances and Cassie Miller came up big for us a few times today. By and large, I thought that we competed very well. Sometimes in this game, you need a bit of luck. And today, we had a bit of luck with us. We’ve certainly played other teams at other times that the luck has been on the other side of the ledger, but today we needed a little luck and we got a little bit of luck. It was a heck of a goal to win the game, I’ll say that.”

The Seminoles put Duke under pressure and maintained possession in their offensive third for most of the opening 15 minutes. Sophomore Megan Connolly took the first shot of the game from the left side of the penalty box in the fourth minute, but it was blocked away by the Blue Devil defense.

Connolly's cross into the six-yard box in the seventh minute was one of FSU’s best scoring chance in the first half, but Tillman was not able to get a direct shot on the ball and her shot went into the hands of DU goalkeeper EJ Proctor.

Duke earned its first shot of the match in the 21st minute on a strike from Toni Payne on the left that was blocked away. The Blue Devils took the final seven shots of the half, controlling much of the ball as the match approached halftime.

Coming out of intermission, Kuikka made a great defensive stop in the 55th minute to eliminate a counterattack opportunity from Duke as Christina Gibbons sent a ball in to Toni Payne behind the FSU defense, but the sophomore was able to kick the ball away to safety.

Connolly made an impressive team save in the 61st minute as the sophomore stood inside the far post on a corner attempt from Duke’s Ashton Miller. Miller’s service found Stevens near the penalty spot and her header beat FSU goalkeeper Cassie Miller, but Connolly was able to clear it off the line to keep the game at 0-0.

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Kuikka made two outstanding blocks inside the six-yard box on Duke crosses in the 73rd minute as the Blue Devils pressed forward to find the game’s first goal.

Duke looked like it would take the lead in the 85th minute after Mia Gyau drew a foul in the penalty box, earning a penalty kick for Gibbons. Her shot was on frame, low and to the left, but FSU’s Miller made a diving save, leaving the rebound right in front of the goal. Gibbons raced to the ball, but her follow-up shot sailed high over the net to keep the match knotted at 0-0.

The Blue Devils had a final flurry of offensive action in the 90th minute as Olivia Orlbeck fired a long shot from the right that Miller needed to jump and save, sending the ball up into the crossbar, but down to the foot of Gibbons in front of the left post. Gibbons’ shot off the rebound was swallowed up by Miller to send the match to overtime.

“Duke’s a great team and I know I’m going to have some action against top-10 teams,” added Miller. “Our defense played outstanding tonight. They saved so many shots that could have come on frame, and when they get through, I just try to be there. None of us like to lose and we’ve been fighting and fighting. We’ve been on the wrong side of a few games this year and I just really wanted help our team to get a win tonight.”

Duke took the first shot of the overtime in the 93rd minute as Ella Stevens tried to one-touch a shot near the top of the 18-yard box, but the ball went high over the goal.

The game-winning scoring chance for the Noles started as a long through ball found Olivia Bergau out on the right side and the sophomore was able to send a cross back toward the left for Natalia Kuikka. Unable to see an angle to get her header on frame, she sent it back toward the six-yard box where Tillman fought for position and headed home her third goal of the year, just over the fingertips of Duke goalkeeper EJ Proctor.

“I knew Nat was going to head it back, so I just got in because I knew she would put it in the right place,” said Tillman. “We’ve basically been living together for two years, so we have a good connection going on there. We always say it only takes one second to score, so we just have to be ready and play each play during the game.”

For the match, Duke outshot FSU 17-5, had a 4-2 advantage in corners and a 6-2 lead in shots on goal.

Thursday’s match was FSU Soccer’s Paint It Pink match, where the team wore special pink jerseys and donations were accepted for the Sharon Ewing Walker Breast Health Center at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. The center will also receive all proceeds of the upcoming jersey auction on the Florida State Athletics website.

The Seminoles will wrap up their home regular season schedule with a match against Louisville on Sunday at 1 p.m. Prior to the match, redshirt senior defender Kirsten Crowley and graduate student goalkeeper Amanda Kopale will be honored in a Senior Day ceremony.

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