TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sophomore Kristin Grubka accounted for the only goal Friday night as top ranked Florida State (3-0-0) blanked No. 22 Florida (1-2-1), 1-0, in front of a packed house of 2,243 – the second largest crowd in school history.
“I don’t know if you could top the atmosphere here tonight; I was so thrilled that the crowd came out and supported our team against a very, very good Florida team,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “That was some high level soccer on display tonight. We felt good that we were able to score the goal, get the result and have the shutout as well.”
“It’s always a great feeling to get back here and get on our home field,” said Kelsey Wys. “As you can see, we had a great crowd and it’s awesome to have their support.”
“It was unbelievable,” added Grubka. “I love the home crowds; we always get a good turnout, and they’re always behind us.”
Grubka gave the Seminoles the early lead finding the back of the net off a throw-in from Jessica Price in the 10th minute of play. The Melbourne, Fla., native took the pass and flicked a header cross on goal from about 12 yards out that bounced once before finding the inside of the right post for her first goal of the season. Price was credited with the assist on the play, her third assist of the season, to move within two of tying Mami Yamaguchi atop the Seminole record books.
“It’s always interesting when Jessica throws it in because it’s such a long throw-in,” said Grubka. “I’m always trying to get around the defenders that are on me. I flipped it, hoping it was going to the back post, and luckily I turned around, and the back post player hadn’t kicked it out.”
Both teams had their chances to find the back of the net Friday night but some fantastic goalkeeping on both sides kept the two offenses in check.
Kelsey Wys turned in her second straight shutout performance as she made five saves to become the all-time leader in shutouts at Florida State with 22. The shutout was her first against the Gators in three meetings.
“Kelsey was once again tremendous in goal for us tonight,” said Krikorian. “She was reading the ball well and made some great saves to keep the Gators off the scoreboard.”
Florida’s Taylor Burke was equally impressive making four saves in 90 minutes of action. All four saves came after the Seminoles took the one-goal lead.
The win for Florida State Friday night was its first at home against the Gators since a 1-0 victory in 2006. It also marked the first time the home team successfully defended their home turf since Florida defeated FSU 2-1 in Gainesville. The Seminoles have now won the last two matches against Florida to tie their longest win streak in the series at two as their last two-game win streak over the Gators came in 2005 and 2006.
“We created some pretty good chances tonight,” added Krikorian. “I thought during the first 25 or 30 minutes we had some chances to score a second or third goal. But the Florida group defended us well, and did quite good on the counter as well.
“We’re going to have to do a better job of stopping their transition, and we have to be a little bit more disciplined, but it’s an early season game against a very good opponent. That’s why we play these games, so we can have some of your weaknesses exposed.”
FSU wasted very little time putting the offensive pressure on the Gators as Price sent a header on goal off a corner kick in the seventh minute that was saved by a Florida defender on the near post.
After the Seminoles went on top with Grubka’s eventual game-winner, FSU looked to add to its lead in the 18th minute off a Gator defensive miscue. The ball trickled out to some open space and with Casey Short running in on the play, the senior defender blasted a shot from 25 yards out forcing Burke into a diving save.
“I was the most impressed with the way we came out to play tonight,” added Wys. “Every person on the team brought something with them, and we knew what it was going to take in order to be successful.”
The Gators had a pair of good looks in the 22nd and 23rd minute, but Havana Solaun went wide on the first shot. The second shot came off the foot of Erika Tymrak as she tried to sneak a long range shot past Wys, but the Seminole keeper was there for the first of two first half saves.
Florida would attempt to tie the game right before the half but Wys would have nothing of it making a tremendous leaping save on a blast from about 35 yards out off the foot of Adriana Leon. The ball was headed toward the upper left corner of the goal as Wys snatched the ball with her outstretched arms for the save.
Florida State went into the locker room with the edge in shots (8-5) and corners (4-1), while Price paced the Seminoles with two shots.
In a span of 45 seconds in the second half, Florida State had two great looks on goal but Burke made two outstanding saves to keep the Seminole lead at 1-0. Tiffany McCarty attempted the first shot off a pass from Dagny Brynjarsdottir in the 66th minute, but the senior’s shot from 18 yards was tipped out of play by Burke.
On the ensuing corner kick, freshman Carson Pickett sent a bending shot on goal toward the far post, but Burke was there to keep the ball out of the net with a punch save to her right.
Wys returned the favor with a great save of her own in the 72nd minute when Tymrak slipped a pass to Solaun, who found herself one-on-one with the Seminole keeper. Solaun tried to beat Wys with a shot to the far post, but the Coral Springs, Fla., native came through with an outstanding diving save to keep the Seminole lead intact.
Less than two minutes later, FSU’s Isabella Schmid forced Burke into another save situation as her shot from 25 yards out was tipped over the crossbar.
The Gators would make one final push to find the equalizer in the last 10 minutes of regulation but Wys made a pair of saves on back-to-back shots by Mckenzie Barney. In the 88th minute, Solaun took a pass from Tymrak and tried to beat Wys with a cross into the upper right corner but she sailed the shot high and out of play.
Florida State outshot Florida, 14-12, while maintaining the edge in corners at 7-4. Schmid led the Seminoles with three shots Friday night.
The top-ranked Seminoles will return to the field on Sunday, September 2 against the College of Charleston at 1:00 p.m. EST. Live stats 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.