CARY, N.C. - It was not the start top-seeded Florida State wanted and the end result was much the same as the defending ACC champions fell to fifth-seeded Virginia, 4-2, Friday evening in the first semifinal of the ACC Women's Soccer Tournament inside WakeMed Park.
The Cavaliers (15-4-1) scored a pair of goals in each half including two in the first 10 minutes as Virginia snapped FSU's three-match win streak in the series. Tiffany McCarty paced the Seminole offense in the loss with a goal and an assist, while Dagny Brynjarsdottir was credited with the first Florida State (16-3-0) goal of the match.
The four goals allowed by the Seminoles on Friday were the most given up in a game since Florida State fell to Virginia 4-3 in overtime in Charlottesville on October 8, 2011.
"We got beat by a better team today," said head coach Mark Krikorian. "The University of Virginia was sharp as can be and we weren't good enough. I guess that is what happens when you play at this level; playing against a better team and on a day like today they will certainly beat you and then punish you for your mistakes; hats off to them."
Virginia capitalized on the sluggish start by the Seminoles turning two of its first three shots into goals courtesy of Caroline Miller and Morgan Brian.
In the fifth minute, Gloria Douglas found Miller for her team leading 15th goal of the season to give UVa the early 1-0 lead. Miller made a great move to evade a defender at the top of the 18-box before bending a shot inside the right post.
The Cavaliers pushed their lead to 2-0 as Brian found the back of the net for the first time in 2012. The sophomore midfielder tucked a shot inside the right post off a great through ball from Erica Hollenberg in the 10th minute of play.
Florida State was able to cut the deficit in half a minute and a half later on a goal by Brynjarsdottir. Following the first Seminole corner of the game, the ball bounced around inside the box on a couple of Florida State headers before landing to the feet of Kristin Grubka. The sophomore defender settled the ball and slipped a pass forward to McCarty, who found Brynjarsdottir open inside the six-yard box. The Icelandic native fired a shot inside the left post for her seventh goal of the season. McCarty and Grubka were credited with an assist on the play.
Less than a minute later, the Seminoles had a golden opportunity to tie the game at two on a break away by McCarty following a punt by Kelsey Wys. The Laurel, Md., native got behind the UVa defense and went one-on-one with keeper Danielle DeLisle, but a great diving save kept Virginia's lead intact at 2-1.
"I thought the first goal that we scored was really important to play ourselves back into the game," added Krikorian. "There was a segment toward the end of the second half that we were able to start to link some passes together and play a little bit, but too little too late. We are going to have to be a whole lot sharper moving forward if we want to do well in the NCAA Tournament."
In similar fashion to last year's semifinal, Virginia went into the locker room with a one-goal lead. The Cavaliers held the advantage in shots at 6-3, while both teams attempted two corners.
Right out of the break, UVa was back on the attack wasting very little time putting pressure on the Seminoles as Kate Norbo got in behind the Seminole defense to create a one-on-one situation with Wys. Norbo tried to sneak a soft shot passed the charging Wys, but the Florida State keeper got enough of her finger tips on the ball to force the shot just wide of the right post. On the ensuing corner, Brian sent a header wide of the left post.
Florida State tied the match at two converting on its first shot of the second half as McCarty put away a header off a great pass from Casey Short. The senior defender sent a cross just outside the six-yard box that McCarty headed on goal. The ball deflected off the hands of DeLisle and inside the left post for her team leading 10th goal of the season.
The tie was short lived as Hollenberg found the back of the net putting away a cross by Brian down near the end line for her second goal of the season to give Virginia a 3-2 lead.
Less than two minutes later in the 70th minute of play, Virginia put the game out of reach when Brian scored for the second time on the evening putting away a header off a cross by Julia Roberts following a direct free kick.
Down two, the Seminoles never gave up continuing to apply pressure in an effort to even the game for the second time Friday night. Kassey Kallman was credited with two shots following a Florida State corner in the 73rd minute. The first shot by Kallman was a header that caromed off the crossbar, while her second went into the arms of DeLisle for the save.
Off another Seminole corner in the 76th minute, a header by Jessica Price was saved off the leg of DeLisle. With the ball still in play, a Cavalier defender kicked the ball at of play over the crossbar.
"Overall, we didn't bring the `A-game' today," said Krikorian. "They were better than we were and they deserved to win. We are not going to win a whole lot of games if we are outplayed as we were tonight."
Jamia Fields, Kallman and McCarty finished with a team-high two shots, while Wys finished with six saves.
Florida State will return to Tallahassee and await its fate in the upcoming NCAA Tournament which begins Friday, November 9. The 64-team field will be announced on Monday, November 5 at 4:30 p.m. on the NCAA.com.