CARY, N.C. – Second-seeded Florida State (17-1-3) scored twice after the 80th minute Friday night inside WakeMed Park including the game-winner in the first overtime to defeat third-seeded North Carolina (17-4-0) 2-1 in the second semifinal of the ACC Women’s Soccer Championship.
With the win, the Seminoles advance to their seventh ACC Championship game and first since claiming their first-ever league title in 2011. Florida State will meet fourth-seeded Virginia Tech, who handed top-ranked Virginia its first loss of the season with a 4-2 victory in the first semifinal, in Sunday’s tournament final at 4:00 p.m.
Both goals scored by Florida State were courtesy of an own goal as the Seminoles became the first school to defeat North Carolina four times in a row. It also marked the second time in the last three years that FSU has knocked UNC out of the ACC Tournament as both victories have come in overtime. Florida State now has six wins against North Carolina all-time tying Notre Dame for the most wins against the Tar Heels in their storied history.
“I’m not sure from an aesthetic point of view that any of the purists are walking away thinking that we saw a great technical game, but we saw two very strong heavyweight teams go out there and battle,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “Sometimes it is a matter of going out and competing, fighting and giving yourself a chance.”
The game-winner came in the 93rd minute when Jamia Fields sent a cross into the 6-yard box from the right side of the pitch. The ball traveled past two Carolina defenders and then off Satara Murray’s leg, who came flying in to cover the far post, and inside the left post for the goal.
Extra time has been nothing new for these two schools has it marked the seventh time in the last 15 meetings that a match involving Florida State and North Carolina has gone to overtime. The series has been closely contested as of late that 14 of the last 18 games including both matches this year have been decided by one goal.
“Overall, I thought once again our group was resilient and was both physically and mental strong through the course of the game,” Krikorian said “From a defending side, I thought it was pretty good. We limited their chances and opportunities at our goal. We didn’t create enough, but I guess in the end we did create enough.”
After a scoreless first half in which both teams combined for just five shots, North Carolina wasted very little cracking the scoreboard to open the second half when Meg Morris put away a shot from the right side of the pitch for her first goal of the season. The senior midfielder scored on a tough angle bending a shot inside the left post from about 15 yards out to give UNC a 1-0 lead.
The goal was the first FSU had given up to the Tar Heels since 2011, while it snapped Kelsey Wys’ scoreless streak against UNC at over 330 minutes – a streak spanning four matches. Wys went on to finish the match with four saves.
With time winding down in regulation, Florida State came through with the equalizer in the 87th minute when Wys played a free kick down the middle of the field. Kristin Grubka went up for the header but the ball deflected off the head of a Carolina player and into the net for the goal.
Florida State has now scored 15 times this year after the 80th minute including 13 times when a score has either tied or won the game.
“It is awesome, the fight that we have and what it does most of me is it gives me confidence that we will never doubt for a second that we can’t come back and win the game,” said FSU senior Kassey Kallman, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. “Being confident with four minutes, three minutes, two minutes left that your team is still going to score a goal and tie it up is very special and a very nice quality to have. Hopefully we can figure out how to score earlier.”
The Seminoles nearly tied the game in the 83rd minute when a shot by Marta Bakowska-Mathews caromed off the crossbar. The ball looked like it crossed the goal line but nothing was called by the sideline official. UNC’s Anna Sieloff was there to grab the loose ball ending the threat.
Bakowska-Mathews had another great look earlier in the second half but her header off FSU’s first corner kick of the game in the 65th minute was saved off the near post on a header by Cameron Castleberry.
Florida State and North Carolina played to a scoreless first half as the two teams combined for just five shots with two coming from the Seminoles. Two of the three Tar Heel shots went on goal with Wys saving both attempts to keep the match scoreless heading into the locker room.
The first shot of the game came from North Carolina’s Alexa Newfield off a free kick from 28 yards out as the shot went right into the bread basket of Wys for the save.
Florida State’s first shot came off the foot of Fields in the 17th minute as her blast went into the right side of the netting from about 15 yards out.
The two teams exchanged a shot in the final 11 minutes of the first half as UNC’s Castleberry made a nice run between two Seminole players before firing a shot that caromed off a Seminole defender but Wys was there for the save and then pounced on the loose ball to negate the Tar Heel scoring threat.
FSU’s second shot of the first half came in the 44th minute off a free kick. Bakowska-Mathews sent the free kick into the box where Anna McClung won possession flicking the ball toward the far post. Hahn collected the pass and one-timed a shot toward the net but it was blocked by a Tar Heel defender.