Durham, NC - Kristin Grubka’s header in the 87th minute was the difference Sunday afternoon as No. 4 Florida State (6-0-2, 1-0-1 ACC) finished a tough trip to North Carolina with a 2-1 victory over No. 15 Duke (4-3-1, 1-1-0 ACC) inside Koskinen Stadium.
With the win, Florida State picked up its first win in the ACC this year and in the process its first-ever victory against Duke in Durham in 10 all-time meetings (1-5-4). The Seminoles finished a tough opening week in league play against two top 15 opponents with four big points.
“It is a tough trip,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “We knew coming up and playing at Wake and then at Duke would be very challenging games for us and they proved to be. It’s another step in the right direction for this program to come up here and get four big points.”
Grubka’s goal came off a set piece after Duke was called for a foul just beyond midfield. Megan Campbell stepped up to take the free kick sending a beautiful ball into the 18-yard box. Grubka out jumped the competition to get to the ball lofting a soft header into the top left corner of the net for her first goal of the season.
“Earlier in the second half, Megan had a similar free kick that I flicked straight into the goalkeepers hands,” Grubka said. “I was a little upset with that finish, so I was like ‘I have to do a better job this time.’ Luckily I was in the right place at the right time and was able to get a good flick on goal.”
“It was a really hard fought game,” Krikorian said. “Today we were able to play some pretty nice soccer for long stretches through the course of the match. We showed great composure after conceding the goal to come back and equalizing quickly and then taking advantage of some of the set pieces that we had. Overall, four points on the road at this stage of the ACC season is a good start for us.”
After a quiet first 15 minutes of the match, the two teams turned up the offensive intensity combining for 13 shots the rest of the first half with Duke taking a slim 7-6 advantage into the locker room.
The Blue Devils struck first breaking the scoreless tie behind a goal by Kim DeCesare in the 19th minute. Laura Weinberg sent a low cross from down on the end line back toward the top of the 18-yard box where DeCesare one-timed her shot into the lower right corner for her second goal of the season and a 1-0 Duke advantage.
The lead was short lived however as Berglind Thorvaldsdottir found the equalizer just 48 seconds later as the redshirt freshman forward blasted a shot from 20 yards out for her third goal of the season. Kelsey Wys began the scoring play punting a goal kick well past midfield. Dagny Brynjarsdottir was on the receiving end of the ball flicking a pass to her left as Thorvaldsdottir timed her run perfectly, receiving the pass and striking the ball into the upper left corner for the goal.
“I just tried to get the second ball from Dagny,” Thorvaldsdottir said. “I faded out a little bit and then ran inside, took a touch to the side and then fired a shot with my left foot.”
“Our kids responded very well after Duke scored that goal; heck of a finish by Berglind,” Krikorian added.
It marked the first time this year that the Seminoles have come from behind to pick up a win having registered a tie against Oklahoma State after trailing 1-0 to the Cowgirls in the second half earlier this year.
“It showed a lot of character to be able to come back from a goal down on the road,” said Grubka. “Having this experience will definitely help us down the road this year.”
Duke had a great scoring chance late in the first half when Weinberg fired a shot from inside the left box that was blocked by the Seminole defense. Weinberg collected the rebound and found Kaitlyn Kerr, who was wide open, but the senior midfielder’s shot went wide of the right post as the game remained tied going into the break.
Despite a sluggish start to the second half for the Seminoles, it was Florida State that recorded the first scoring opportunity as a header by Kassey Kallman, off a direct free kick from Campbell, went off the left post and off a Duke defender for a corner kick in the 51st minute.
Kerr put a shot on goal in the 56th minute following a Duke corner but it was easily handled by Wys for the save.
In the 64th minute, a header by Grubka following another Campbell free kick went right into the hands of Blue Devils keeper Ali Kershner for the save as the score remained tied at one.
Duke looked to jump back on top for the second time on Sunday but Wys made an outstanding diving save in the 84th minute on a blistering shot by DeCesare from inside the box on the right side.
“It was definitely a physical battle today,” Grubka said. “We proved it out there that we can compete with a physical team. Getting a win today was huge and getting a tie on Thursday was huge too, so it was a good start to ACC play.”
Florida State outshot Duke 13-4 in the second half and 19-11 for the match. The Seminoles also held the advantage in corner kicks at 6-3. Thorvaldsdottir paced the Garnet & Gold with three shots, while six Seminoles recorded two shots each.
Wys played all 90 minutes in goal on Sunday making two saves to pick up the victory in net.
Florida State returns home this week to face No. 1 North Carolina on Wednesday, September 18 in a game that will be broadcasted live on ESPNU. The match is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. The Seminoles will then host NC State on Sunday, September 22 at 1:00 p.m. in a match to air live on ESPN3.