Chapel Hill, NC - No. 7 Florida State (10-3-0) held on for 87 minutes, but eventually allowed for the relentless attack of No. 2 North Carolina (12-1-1) to score the game-winning goal during the 86th minute at Carolina's Fetzer Field. With the loss the Seminoles suffer their first ACC defeat, thus ending their six game winning streak.
“I thought overall we didn’t do a good enough job of settling the game and keeping the ball,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “We allowed their pressure to dictate the tempo of the game and I think that when playing a team as good as they are you have to value the ball, take care of the ball and we didn’t do that often enough through the course of the game.”
The Seminoles once perfect conference record dips with the loss, but remains a conference best 4-1 tying them with North Carolina, which now holds the tie breaker with the Seminoles.
Led by junior All-American defender Toni Pressley, the Seminoles defense was once again a dominant force, holding Carolina scoreless until the 87th minute. Redshirt freshman Kelsey Wys faced twelve shots by the Tar Heels and converted three saves. The lone goal scored by North Carolina’s Ranee Premji is only the eighth goal allowed by the Seminole defense all season.
“I thought overall our kids played very hard,” said Kirkorian. “I thought we battled very well, but the key to the game was who was going to impose their style on the game. Unfortunately for us Carolina was better and they imposed their style on the game. We were unable to solve their pressure enough to be able to be dangerous and we have to be better.”
During the six game winning streak, the longest such streak since 2006, Florida State had outscored its opponents by a 13-2 margin. The loss marks the first game the Seminoles have been shutout all season, and the first loss for the Seminoles that did not come by a golden goal in overtime.
Florida State was out-shot by the Tar Heels 12-4, but Carolina held just a three to two advantage on corner kicks. Florida Stat has committed the least amount of fouls in the ACC, committed only two penalties in this matchup.
It was no secret that North Carolina, which has won 21 national titles since 1981, posed a difficult challenge for the Seminoles. During the last trip to Chapel Hill in 2008, Florida State tied Tar Heels 2-2 in double overtime, but that is the closest the Seminoles have come as they have never beaten North Carolina in Chapel Hill, but have tied the Heels twice at their home field.
Overall this match marked the 27th all-time meeting between Florida State and North Carolina as the series dates back to the Seminoles’ first season of soccer in 1995. FSU split the season series with UNC last year winning 3-2 in double overtime at home from a golden goal by Ella Stephan, but later fell 3-0 to the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship game. The all-time record against North Carolina is just 2-22-2, but prior to this match, five of the last eight matches had gone to overtime.
While the Seminoles have had limited success against North Carolina, they have been as competitive as anyone has as of late against the powerhouse and showed once again they can hang toe to toe with the nations most elite program. If history repeats itself, which it often does, the Seminoles might get a chance at redemption against the Tar Heels in the ACC or NCAA tournament.
“If we have a chance to play them again sometime later in the season we will have to better, and be more precise with the ball and be willing to handle their pressure because we know its going to come,” said Krikorian.
Florida State will remain on the road, as they turn their attention to their next opponent in the N.C. State Wolfpack (7-8-0) in a game that will be played in Raleigh on Sunday at 1:00pm.
“We know that NC State is a team that continues to improve, and they are a very good team,” added Krikorian. “We are going to go back to the hotel now and start looking much more closely at them. Obviously all our attention was on our most recent opponent Carolina, and now that game has passed all of our attention turns to N.C. State. There is no easy game in the ACC and if we are not prepared and not sharp on Sunday we could be disappointed again, so we just have to go back to business.”
Following their match with the Wolfpack, Florida State with return home to play the No. 8 Virginia Cavaliers (8-3-1) at 7:00pm on Thursday, Oct. 21st and then hold senior day against the No. 25 Virginia Tech Hokies (8-5-0) on Sunday, Oct. 24th at 1:00pm. Both games will be played at the Seminole Soccer Complex and televised by SunSports.