TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A left footed blast by Jamia Fields in the 83rd minute was all No. 3 Florida State (7-0-2, 2-0-1 ACC) needed Wednesday night as the Seminoles defeated No. 5 North Carolina (7-2-0, 1-2-0 ACC) 1-0 in front of a great crowd of 1,786 inside the Seminole Soccer Complex.
“It was fantastic,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said of the goal scored by Fields. “We train it quite often with her – coming across the face of the goal and swinging it into the far corner. She scored a similar goal to beat Duke a year ago here on this field. Jam’s working hard to try and improve and she was rewarded for her hard work tonight.”
The win marked Florida State’s third straight victory over the Tar Heels becoming just the third school to perform such a feat matching a record previously set by Santa Clara (1999, 2001, 2002) and Maryland (2010-12).
The Seminoles now have five all-time wins over the Tar Heels with four of those victories coming since 2009. The five victories are also the second most against UNC all-time trailing only Notre Dame who has six.
“We had a game plan going into the game and I think we came out with the win because we executed it,” Kelsey Wys said. “In the locker room we talked about safety versus risk and we know that North Carolina is a high paced team and we would have to make the decision whether we should possess the ball or play it long and get rid of it. I think tonight we did a good job of deciding when to do that and when no to.”
In similar fashion to last year’s victory over Duke at home, Fields blasted a shot from the right edge of the 18-yard box into the upper left corner for what would be the eventual game-winner. The junior midfielder took a pass from Michaela Hahn, went 1-v-1 with a Tar Heel defender beating her with a nice move toward the middle of the field before gaining enough space to bend her left footed shot into upper left corner. The goal was Fields’ third of the season and first game-winner, while it was Hahn’s second assist in 2013.
“We do that (shot) in warm-ups and our midfielders know to find the outside mid’s,” Fields said. “I knew just cut it in and take it wide, I practice it all the time.”
The late goal was set up by a terrific defensive effort put forth by the Seminoles on Wednesday night. Redshirt senior keeper Kelsey Wys made a season-high nine saves en route to her sixth shutout of the season. The Seminole backline of Kirsten Crowley, Kassey Kallman, Kristin Grubka, Isabella Schmid and Carson Pickett along with Wys shut out the Tar Heels for the third straight game, while limiting the ever so dangerous Crystal Dunn to just three shots including only one shot on goal.
“We’ve been pretty solid throughout the season with our collective defending and again, I thought it was pretty good tonight,” Krikorian said. “The moments where we weren’t quite as sharp, certainly Kelsey (Wys) was there and played as a tower of strength in the goal and allowed us to withstand some of the storm.”
“During the game, I was thinking about the back line and how blessed I am to be able to play with them and how easy they make my job because it could have been a lot harder,” Wys said. “Carolina is a great team and we limited their chances and made them take some shots from farther out, so credit to my back line.”
Wys has been on the receiving end of the last three shutouts against the Tar Heels making 18 saves in over 284 minutes on the pitch during that span.
“Always phenomenal,” added Fields. “Kelsey (Wys) and Kassey (Kallman) are our two leaders, our captains in the back.”
The Coral Springs, Fla., native was on her game early making five saves in the first 45 minutes of action. The Tar Heels wasted very little time pushing the offensive tempo to open the second half firing four shots in the first five minutes. Wys was there to stop three of those shots while the fourth, a header by Kealia Ohai went wide.
“In our minds, Kelsey Wys is certainly the best goal keeper in the country,” added Krikorian. “She’s steady as can be, she’s calm and her quality (to play the ball) with her feet and communication, obviously her ability to stop shots is quite good. We’re very fortunate that she’s matured into the goalkeeper that she is, I think it was on display again tonight.”
Ohai finished the evening with a game-high nine shots including four shots on goal. Grubka and Pickett paced the Seminoles with two shots each.
With less than two minutes remaining in the match, Florida State was called for a foul deep in UNC’s offensive third. The ball was played into the box and after a massive scrummage in front of the net with someone looking to get on the end of one, Ohai pushed a header just wide of the left post and out of play.
The win on Wednesday night also extended Florida State’s home unbeaten streak to 24 games (23-0-1) tying the school record originally set over three seasons from 2005-07. The Seminoles have not lost at home since falling to Maryland 3-0 on October 13, 2011.
Florida State returns to the pitch on Sunday, September 22 when the Seminoles host NC State at 1:00 p.m. The match is scheduled to air live on ESPN3.
Live stats for the match will be available via gametacker. As always, Seminole fans can follow the Noles on twitter @FSU_Soccer and remember to like the Seminoles on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FSUSoccer) and Instagram (NoleSoccer).