DURHAM, N.C. — For the eighth time in program history, an FSU match in the ACC tournament needed to be decided in penalty kicks. After ending in a 1-1 draw after 110 minutes, the No. 8 Seminoles (12-3-3) topped No. 6 Duke (12-4-3) by a score of 3-2 in the penalty-kick shootout to advance to the semifinal round of the 2016 ACC Women’s Soccer Championship.
The Noles are unbeaten in their last eight matches in the ACC tournament, posting a 6-0-2 mark in the conference postseason since 2013. FSU has earned the tournament title in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
“That was a really good college soccer game today between two really good teams,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “The quality of play was good throughout, especially after both of us had competitive games on Thursday leading into today. I thought both teams brought their best effort and at the end of the day, we found a way to survive and advance.”
Duke earned the first corner of the game in the second minute and Florida State forced two of its own in the third and fifth minutes, but neither team was able to register a shot. FSU’s Deyna Castellanos recorded the first shot of the game at 7:39 and Duke’s Christina Gibbons took the first Blue Devil shot of the game in the ninth minute, but it would be the last shot from either team for nearly 15 minutes as both defenses limited any build up in the attack.
Castellanos broke the drought with a shot in the 23rd minute that was saved away for another FSU corner, but the Noles couldn’t get a shot from the set piece.
Duke opened the scoring in the 32nd minute on a goal from Ashton Miller. She found a seam in the middle of the field and, with assists from Chelsea Burns and Ella Stevens, drove a shot from 25 yards into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Duke had two other quality chances toward the end of the first half, but FSU’s Cassie Miller made two impressive saves to keep the match at 1-0 after the first 45 minutes. DU’s Imani Dorsey got behind the FSU backline in the 37th minute, but Miller came off her line to swallow up the shot from near the penalty spot. Duke’s Malinda Allen received a drop pass at the top of the box in the 40th minute, but Miller caught her shot to end the threat.
In the second half, the Noles held majority of possession and pressure, outshooting the Blue Devils 11-1 in the second 45 minutes, including a 7-1 advantage in shots on goal.
One of those shots on frame came from Castellanos in the 48th minute to tie the match at 1-1. Malia Berkely sent in a cross from the left that was headed out of the box by Duke’s Lizzy Raben, but directly to Castellanos 20 yards from the goal. The freshman volleyed it out of the air and struck it into the net for her sixth goal of the season.
It is the first goal, and the first FSU match, for Castellanos after missing nine games as part of the Venezuelan National Team at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan. Castellanos scored five goals and led La Vinotinto to a fourth-place finish, earning the Bronze Boot and Bronze Ball award, finishing third in both goals scored and player of the tournament voting.
“I think Deyna showed why she’s a top-level player, not only with the goal, but through the run of play,” Krikorian said. “She helped settle the game for us and was excellent in possession. She helped make her teammates better and it is nice to have her back.”
Florida State held Duke without a shot for the final 36:30 of the second half, and created several scoring chances of its own, but Duke goalkeeper EJ Proctor stopped the final six shots on goal by the Noles as the match went to overtime.
It marked the third time in the last four FSU matches with Duke that the game went to overtime, and the Noles took all three shots in the first 10 minute overtime period. Kirsten Crowley got on the end of a long free kick from Natalia Kuikka in the 93rd minute, but her header was saved.
Kristen McFarland received the ball from Castellanos near the top of the box in the 95th minute, but after turning her defender, the shot was blocked away. Kaycie Tillman nearly ended the match with 23 seconds left in the first overtime, making a run to the penalty spot from the right and Kuikka sent a ball that got through the Duke defense. Tillman got a toe on it and directed toward the right post, but it rolled wide to force a second overtime.
Duke got a quick corner in the 102nd minute and Burns’ eventual header was high. Castellanos took the only shot for FSU in the period in the 104th minute, and Duke’s Olivia Erlbeck (107’) and Miller (110’) each missed shots to send the match to penalty kicks.
Duke opened up the shootout period and Burns’ attempt was saved by FSU’s Miller and Crowley converted her attempt to give FSU a 1-0 lead after the first round. DU’s Christina Gibbons was wide with her shot and Duke’s Proctor saved the PK attempt from FSU’s Castellanos in the second round.
Miller made her second save of the shootout, stopping DU’s Dorsey on her attempt in the third round, while Kuikka gave FSU a 2-0 lead on her PK. Erlbeck converted her PK shot, and FSU’s Malia Berkely missed to make it 2-1 FSU after four rounds.
Duke’s Malinda Allen made her PK to tie the shootout at 2-2, but FSU’s Megan Connolly drove home her shot to give the Noles a 3-2 win.
“I think Duke played a great game, and so did we,” Miller said. “It was back and forth and we had our good chances and they had their good chances, so throughout the game it was a very beautiful soccer game. Usually when you have two good teams, it goes down to PKs and we were able to put it away. I was able to make some saves that were huge, but at the same time, my teammates put away their shots as well. A great team effort today.”
The Noles are now 6-2 all-time in penalty-kick shootouts during the ACC tournament and have won each of their last three shootouts, along with the 2011 championship game against Wake Forest (3-1) and the 2015 championship game against Virginia (7-6).
Florida State advances to play No. 14 Clemson (13-2-3) in the semifinal round of the 2016 ACC Women’s Soccer Championship, held at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina. The Noles and Tigers will face off at 8 p.m. in a match that will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra. No. 12 Notre Dame and No. 16 North Carolina will compete in the other semifinal at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, with the winners playing for the 2016 conference title on Sunday, November 6 at 12:00 p.m.