SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Florida State (20-4-0) saw its season come to a close Friday night in San Diego as the Seminoles fell to Penn State (21-3-2) 2-1 in overtime in the first semifinal of the 2012 College Cup inside Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego.
Trailing by a goal until the final minute of regulation, Florida State found the equalizer with 41 seconds left to play in the game when Tiffany McCarty headed in a cross from Kristin Grubka that trickled inside of the left netting to even the score at 1-1 and force overtime.
The goal was the second latest game-tying goal in school history coming just five seconds shy of the record set by Tori Huster when she forced overtime at Virginia in 2011.
After battling for possession of the ball with two Nittany Lion players along the right sideline, Grubka gained control and dribbled toward the goal before lofting a cross into the middle of the box. McCarty was on the receiving end of the cross flicking a header inside the left post for the score. The goal was McCarty’s team leading 17th of the season and 10th in the last seven games.
Penn State answered right back with the game-winner just a minute and 12 seconds into the first overtime when Christine Nairn found the back of the net for the golden goal sending the Nittany Lions into Sunday’s championship game.
The loss was the first for the Seminoles in eight overtime appearances in the NCAA Tournament as FSU fell to 5-1-2 all-time.
PSU took advantage of its first offensive possession in overtime as the ball was played over to the right side of the field to Maddy Evans. The senior midfielder fired a pass from the right wing inside the 18-yard box to Nairn, who one-timed the cross inside the right post for the game-winner.
The loss put a close to an outstanding season for the Seminoles, who finished the year tying a school record with 20 wins. It also brought to a close the career of seven outstanding seniors which included McCarty, Jessica Price, Casey Short, Tiana Brockway, Ines Jaurena, Taylor Vancil and Dria Hampton.
Jaurena and Short paced a defense that ranked nationally in shutout percentage and goals against average all season long. McCarty will leave as the school record holder in 12 offensive categories including points (150) and goals scored (63). Price will leave as the all-time assist leader in FSU history with 35, while Brockway ranks in the top 10 in game appearances and starts with 95 and 94, respectively. As a whole, this year’s senior class posted a career record of 90-25-6 and will leave Florida State with two ACC regular season titles, an ACC Tournament championship and two College Cup appearances.
McCarty, Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Jamia Fields paced the Seminole offense on Friday with three shots a piece, while Nairn led Penn State with four shots.
Kelsey Wys played the entire match between the posts finishing with four saves as the junior goalkeeper fell to 19-4-0 on the year.
Maya Hayes gave the Nittany Lions the lead in the 57th minute putting away an initial shot from Mallory Weber that deflected off Wys as she raced to tap the ball inside the right post to give Penn State 1-0 lead.
Florida State came out of the gates on the offensive and had a great look in the early minutes of the game as Jaurena sent a beautiful ball across the 18-yard box that Brynjarsdottir just missed connecting on with a diving header from close range.
Penn State nearly grabbed the early lead in the 17th minute when a shot by Nairn from the left side of the 18-yard box was saved by Wys but went through the hands of the Seminole keeper. Luckily for the Noles, Wys got just enough of the ball as it trickled wide of the right post and out of bounds. The Seminoles were able to defend the ensuring corner kick and keep the game scoreless.
Jaurena forced Erin McNulty into a diving save in the 40th minute after a shot by the French native was deflected off a Nittany Lion defender. The ball slowly trickled toward the right post, but the PSU keeper dove to her right to secure the ball.
The two teams went into the locker room knotted at zero as Florida State outshot Penn State 5-4. The Seminoles also held the edge in corner kicks at 3-2, while Wys made the lone save. Brynjarsdottir and Nairn led all players with two shots a piece. The scoreless first half was the second for the Seminoles this postseason.
The first good scoring opportunity of the second half belonged to Penn State as Maya Hayes slipped in behind the Seminole defense. But Grubka recovered nicely deflecting the ball away from Hayes and out of harm’s way.
McCarty registered the first shot of the second half for the Seminoles taking a give-and-go from Brynjarsdottir, sending the ball just over the cross bar.
After Hayes scored the game’s first goal, the Seminoles came right back with a great look on goal when McCarty out raced the Nittany Lion defense running onto a punt from Wys. The senior forward settled the ball inside the 18-yard box and passed off to a streaking Fields. Fields dribbled across the box before firing a shot on goal that was save by Erin McNulty.
Brynjarsdottir came within inches of tying the game at one in the 76th minute when the Icelandic native ran in on a pass from Fields and one-timed a shot from the right side of the box that sailed just wide of the left post.
Florida State put together back-to-back shots in the 80th minute when McCarty made a nice moved down toward the end line to evade two Nittany Lion defenders. She turned back toward the goal and fired a shot that McNulty was able to save with her right hand. The deflection went out to Jaurena who timed a shot high and out of play.
Stay tuned to Seminoles.com for further news and updates on the Florida State women’s soccer team.