TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Tiffany McCarty’s goal in the 53rd minute was all top-seeded Florida State needed Friday night as the Seminoles defeated Notre Dame, 1-0, in front of a packed crowd of 2,019 inside the Seminole Soccer Complex.
With the win, FSU (20-3-0) advances to the College Cup for the second year in a row and sixth time in school history. The Seminoles will face Penn State, who defeated Duke 1-0, in one semifinal on Friday, November 30 in San Diego, Calif.
After a scoreless first half that featured Florida State out shooting Notre Dame 8-3 and both goalkeepers making two saves a piece, the Fighting Irish came out of the break and forced the offensive pressure with two quick shots in the first three minutes of action.
But the Seminoles switched the field and got a great look on goal when McCarty sent a pass across the 18-yard box to a wide open Jessica Price, who one-timed a blast right into the back of a Notre Dame defender.
The Seminoles would finally break through with the game’s only goal less than four minutes later when McCarty found the back of the net on a header following a passing combination from Price and Dagny Brynjarsdottir. On a Seminole throw-in, Price heaved the ball into the 18-yard box that Brynjarsdottir headed toward the near post. McCarty battled for position and won the ball redirecting the pass with a header of her own that sailed passed Irish keeper Elyse Hight and into the back of the net.
The goal for McCarty was her ninth in the last six games and sixth of the NCAA Tournament. The assist for both Brynjarsdottir and Price was their third of the post season.
Notre Dame went right back on the offensive following the Florida State goal, but the Seminole backline of Ines Jaurena, Kristin Grubka, Kassey Kallman and Casey Short were up for the challenge blocking shot after shot by the Irish. Of the 11 shots taken by the Fighting Irish in the second half, five were blocked and four others were saved by Kelsey Wys. The Seminole goalkeeper finished the night with six saves including a key stop late in the first half.
With less than two minutes remaining before halftime, Notre Dame’s Taylor Schneider fired a shot from the right corner of the 18-yard box that deflected off a Seminole defender and was headed toward the left post, but Wys made an outstanding diving save getting just enough of her hand on the ball to redirect the shot to the left post and out of bounds.
McCarty came within inches of giving the Seminoles a two-goal lead in the 82nd minute when her shot from about 20 yards caromed off the crossbar.
Florida State finished the game with a 15-14 advantage in shots, while taking nine corners to Notre Dame’s five. McCarty led all players with five shots. Notre Dame’s Cari Roccaro tallied four shots including three on goal.
The shutout Friday night was the Seminoles’ 17th of the year and third of the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame’s Hight finished with four saves.
The win extended Florida State’s home win streak to 18 straight – tying the all-time school record set in 2008-09. The Seminoles improved to 27-1-0 when playing at home in the NCAA Tournament. It also marked the second win all-time over the Fighting Irish and first since a 3-2 victory in the 2007 College Cup semifinals in College Station, Texas.
The Seminoles also tied the school record for wins following Friday night’s victory as the Garnet & Gold improved to 20-3-0 all-time.
The crowd of 2,019 was the third largest this year, fourth largest crowd all-time to watch a game inside the Seminole Soccer Complex and the largest crowd to witness an NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament game in Tallahassee.
Stay tuned to Seminoles.com for further updates on the 2012 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.