College Park, MD - It was a sweet return for the hometown hero as Tiffany McCarty’s goal in the 86th minute proved to be the difference Sunday afternoon as No. 1 Florida State (15-1-0, 8-1-0) defeated No. 5 Maryland (11-5-2, 6-3-1 ACC) 1-0 on Ludwig Field.
With the game knotted at zero and overtime looming, Ines Jaurena made a nice run toward the end line down the right side of the pitch before sending a beautiful cross into the box that McCarty one-timed into the back of the net for the goal. A great combination play by the Seminoles in the middle of the field led to the go ahead score as Jaurena’s cross went past a diving Rachelle Beanlands and right to the foot of McCarty for the score. The goal for the Laurel, Md., native was her seventh of the season and third game-winner.
“Overall, I thought it was a good, solid performance,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “Maryland is a very good team. It was a hard fought battle and I’m glad that we were able to put one in the goal at the end of the match. I thought we created enough earlier in the game to maybe get one, but we weren’t quite good enough at finishing. But credit Maryland for some good defending.”
The win over the Terrapins clinched the ACC regular season title for the Seminoles, their second in the last four years and first since 2009. The eight league victories also ties a single-season school record first set in 2005 (8-2-0) and then matched again in 2008 (8-1-1).
“We have shown to be consistent over my eight years which is really important for us,” said Krikorian on the Seminoles clinching the league regular season title. “We don’t want to be a one-year wonder and we have proven that with a conference tournament championship last year, a regular season championship in 2009 and now again this year. I think that is a fairly strong statement about the health of our program. We are going to continue to fight and hopefully get better after every game.”
Sunday’s victory was a nice response by the top-ranked Seminoles, who came into the match looking to rebound after suffering their first loss of the season Thursday night at Boston College. The win also snapped Maryland’s two-game win streak over FSU in the series.
“It was a good day for us,” added Krikorian. “Anytime you go on the road in the ACC and win you have to feel good.
“The fact that we put in a very good performance is equally important to me. We came in and battled hard and established a good rhythm. We created a number of different chances in a number of ways. We probably could have had another goal or two through the course of the game, but we weren’t good enough in the box.”
The win also marked FSU’s eighth against a ranked opponent in 2012 and fifth against a team ranked in the top 10.
Florida State finished the match outshooting Maryland 15-6 with five of those Seminole shots going on frame. FSU also held the advantage in corner kicks at 5-4. Jaurena led the Seminoles with a career-high four shots, while three went on goal. Jamia Fields, Jessica Price and McCarty all finished with two shots a piece.
The best scoring chance for the Seminoles in the first half came in the 28th minute when Fields blasted a hard lining shot passed the left post. Jaurena made a nice pass into the 18-yard box to McCarty, who settled the ball and made a nice pass back up toward the top of the box where Fields one-timed the shot wide.
Maryland managed just two shots in the first half with the first finally coming in the 24th minute as Ashley Spivey’s shot was blocked leading to the only Terrapin corner kick of the half. The corner went to no avail and was easily cleared thanks to a header by Kassey Kallman.
The second Maryland shot also came off the foot of Spivey in the 38th minute as the freshman midfielder sent a shot wide of the left post from 22 yards out.
Florida State controlled possession for a majority of the first half and went into the locker room with a 6-2 advantage in shots. Fields led the Noles with two shots, while Jaurena registered the only shot on goal. The senior defender one-timed a shot from the top right corner of the 18-yard box forcing Shannon Zickler into a save situation in the sixth minute.
An early corner kick by Maryland led to a scoring opportunity for the Terps in the 51st minute as the ball was sent to the far post and played by Gabby Galanti. Galanti then fed back toward the top of the box where Riley Barger mishit a low lining shot that was easily saved by Kelsey Wys.
The first corner kick of the second half for the Seminoles led to a scoring chance as a header by Price sailed high of the left post. FSU played a short corner back up the field to Isabella Schmid, who sent a long ball into the box where Price out jumped the competition for a header from about 3 yards out.
Back-to-back shots by Jaurena in the 66th and 67th minute off consecutive Seminole throw-ins led to a pair of team saves off the line by the Terrapins. Maryland’s Shannon Collins was credited with the first team save near the right post, while Aubrey Baker notched the second save off a shot by Jaurena from 12 yards out on the left side of the box. The ball went out to the top of the box where Pickett one-timed a shot high over the crossbar.
A questionable foul call against Florida State deep in Maryland’s offensive third led to a free kick for the Terps in the 82nd minute. Wagner took the kick and tried to sneak a shot to the near post, but Wys was there for the save knocking the ball out of bounds.
The ensuing Maryland corner was cleared out of the zone by the Seminoles.
After Florida State’s late goal, the Terrapins only real scoring threat came in the 88th minute off a corner, but the Seminoles cleared the ball without allowing Maryland to get a shot off.
Wys played all 90 minutes between the posts on Sunday as she recorded three saves en route to posting her ninth shutout of the season. The win was also the junior keeper’s 46th of her career moving her into a tie with Ali Mims for first place all-time at Florida State.
Top-ranked Florida State will close out its regular season schedule on the road against intra-state rival Miami on Thursday, October 25. The match will air live on the ACC Digital Network/YouTube. Live stats for the match will be available via Miami’s website on www.hurricanesports.com, 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.