CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Top-ranked Florida State (10-0-0, 3-0-0 ACC) kept its perfect record intact Thursday night as the Seminoles defeated No. 9 North Carolina (5-3-2, 1-2-1 ACC) 1-0 on Fetzer Field. Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored the lone goal of the contest and Kelsey Wys made a season-high seven saves as the Garnet & Gold registered consecutive victories over the Tar Heels for the first time in school history.
“Carolina is hard to play against; they are so fast and strong,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “It’s a credit to our kids that we could come in and win a game that’s not really our style, but we stayed, we battled hard, we fought hard and created a heck of a nice goal. We walk away with a good result on the road. I mean any win on the road in the ACC is a good win; this is a real good win.”
“Carolina is always a fun team to play against,” said Wys. “They have a different style than we are used to playing but during the week we prepared for them and I think we did a pretty good job of sticking to that game plan and making all our pieces fit together at the end of the day to get the victory.”
Despite being outshot 14-5 in the match, Florida State broke the scoreless tie in the 61st minute on just its second shot of the second half as Brynjarsdottir found the back of the net for her third goal of the season.
The scoring play came off a North Carolina turnover at midfield when Jamia Fields stole the ball and found a streaking Tiffany McCarty. The Laurel, Md., native beat her defender to the end line before sending a pass back towards the middle of the 18-yard box where Brynjarsdottir made a run into open space and one-timed a shot into the back of the net. McCarty and Fields were credited with assists on the play while the goal for the Icelandic native would go down as her second game-winner this year.
“It was fantastic,” said Krikorian on the effort by FSU to score the goal. “Tiff driving down toward the end line; a nice pull back to Dagny running on to it and a quality finish. That’s really what you play for. I thought our back line and goalkeeping was outstanding, our collective defending from front to back was quite good. There weren’t a whole lot of chance either way in the course of the game but even going up a goal I thought we stood strong and did a pretty good job.”
“Jamia stripped them of the ball,” said McCarty. “We made eye contact and I made a run behind my defender. She played the ball to me and the defender missed it a little bit. I saw there was space in the 18 and I slipped the ball to Dagny, who ran on and had a good finish.”
The one goal would stand up as the Seminoles received another tremendous effort from their backline as Casey Short, Kristin Grubka, Kassey Kallman and Ines Jaurena kept the speedy Tar Heels in check for 90 minutes. Wys was once again solid between the posts saving all seven shots on goal. The junior goalkeeper made two outstanding saves on back-to-back scoring chances by the Tar Heels with less than eight minutes to go in regulation to keep UNC off the scoreboard.
The first scoring chance came after a Florida State foul in UNC’s offensive third. Katie Bowen delivered the ball into the box but Kallman was there to clear the ball with a header. Meg Morris tracked down the loose ball and sent a pass back into the box, right to the head of Maria Lubrano but Wys was there for the save.
Seconds later, Crystal Dunn made a long run and was forced to the outside by Short which led to a tough shot from down near the end line. Dunn tried to hook the ball inside the far post but Wys made an outstanding leap, snaring the ball out of the air while maintaining possession as she crashed to the ground for the save.
“It was a great effort by Crystal Dunn,” added Krikorian. “She made a nice run and hooked the ball and Kelsey was there to grab it. Again another solid performance by her in goal. Whenever you play against any ACC team and you are ahead by a goal, you know a chance is going to come sooner or later. Everyone is too good for there not to be a couple of chances especially when we are trying to protect the game, but Kelsey has done a great job and she was there when we needed her.”
“The back line did a good job of pushing her wide and she had a tough angle to get a shot off,” said Wys. “We work on those kinds of shots in practice all the time and work on making the goal look small. I was able to get to the ball and hold on to it.”
With the shutout, Florida State ran its consecutive shutout streak to over 528 minutes – the second longest streak in school history. FSU has now allowed just three goals in 10 games this year including one goal in the last nine matches.
“Our back line did a great job of cutting off passes and long balls and just getting up and being hard and physical,” added McCarty. “Kelsey made some great saves in the end to keep us in the game. As a defensive block, we did pretty well tonight.”
The win Thursday night also set the school record for the longest win streak at 10 in a row eclipsing the previous record of nine straight victories set in 2005.
FSU has now won two straight over North Carolina for the first time in the series, while Thursday night’s game was the first time FSU defeated the Tar Heels in regulation. The three previous victories all came in double overtime.
“They have a great tradition, great program and any time you get to beat UNC it’s a great accomplishment,” said McCarty. “Credit to them, they played well but tonight we were able to finish our chances.”
The Seminoles also became just the second team since 1981 to hand the Tar Heels back-to-back losses at home. Notre Dame is the only other school to perform the feat during that span defeating UNC in Chapel Hill on three straight trips in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
It took until the 20th minute for the first real scoring chance to occur as North Carolina’s Kealia Ohai ran behind the Seminole defense to get to a loose ball just outside the 18-yard box. Ohai one-timed a shot on goal, but Wys was charging out of the box and made a nice sliding save with her right foot to keep the game scoreless.
Brynjarsdottir recorded the first Florida State shot of the game in the 25th minute as the sophomore midfielder pushed the ball wide of the right post.
Short ripped a left footed shot from the left side from about 22 yards but the ball was grabbed outside the post by Tar Heel keeper Adelaide Gay.
North Carolina went into the locker room with the edge in shots at 6-2, while Florida State registered the only corner in the first half. Wys posted three saves.
The Tar Heels recorded the first shot in the second half as Ohai worked her way through a line of Seminole defenders toward the middle of the field before finding enough room to rip a shot on goal. Wys made a diving save to her right to keep the game scoreless.
North Carolina earned a corner kick in the 74th minute as Ranee Premji sent the ball to the far post. The ball was played to the top of the box to Bianca Gray, who one-timed a shot high over the crossbar.
Brynjarsdottir finished the match with a team-high two shots, while Ohai and Morris each posted a game-high three shots.
The top-ranked Seminoles will remain in the Carolinas to face NC State on Sunday, September 30 at 1:00 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN3. Live stats for the match will be available via gametracker, while fans can always receive in-game updates on Twitter @FSU_Soccer. Also, do not forget to like the Seminole Soccer team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FSUSoccer.