TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Rain fell off and on at the Seminole Soccer Complex on Sunday, but after 90 minutes of game action, including a lightning-free downpour during the final 19 minutes of the match, along with two hours and 19 minutes of weather delay, No. 3 Florida State (7-1-0, 1-0-0 ACC) held on for a 1-0 win over Miami (5-4-0, 0-1-0 ACC) to open conference play in 2016. Freshman forward Deyna Castellanos scored the only goal of the match in the 20th minute to give the Noles their seventh shutout of the season.
The win also extended FSU’s home unbeaten streak to 28 matches, while the Noles are now one of just four schools to allow one or fewer goals so far in the 2016 season, joining Lehigh (0), Northwestern (1), Brown (1).
“I thought that Miami came out very prepared, with a great deal of energy, and fortunately we were able to ride the storm at the beginning and get a little bit better control of the game,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “I thought in the second half we had some good spacing and passing and a couple of good chances at the goal. I think we should be experienced at [handling lightning delays] by now. I think nearly every one of our games has had some sort of weather issue. The good news is we were able to find a way to ride it out and came back and find the result.”
The Hurricanes came out and pressured the Noles from the opening kick, earning three shots in the first four minutes of the match, with two blocked and a third from UM’s Ronnie Johnson sailing high of the goal.
The Seminoles didn’t record their first shot until the 15th minute when Macayla Edwards worked through the middle of the field, striking a shot from 20 yards that went wide of the goal.
Castellanos continued her impressive freshman season, scoring her fifth goal of the season at 19:27 from 12 yards out. Junior midfielder Haylie Grant played a ball through toward Megan Connolly at the top of the box, but it was just out of reach of her teammate and attempted to be cleared by the Miami backline.
Grant blocked down the clearance toward Castellanos in the middle of the box and the Venezuelan native shot the ball inside the right post on her first touch to give the Noles a 1-0 lead.
The Noles went on the offensive for most of the remainder of the first half, taking four of the next five shots, including a strike from Kristen McFarland that was just wide in the 42nd minute.
The Miami offense came out quickly again in the opening minutes of the second half, controlling possession and the shots for a five minute span from the 49th to 53rd minutes. FSU goalkeeper Cassie Miller saved all three shots on goal during the sequence, including a one-on-one shot from 15 yards by Kristina Fisher.
FSU created a pair of quality chances later in the half, but were not quite precise enough to take a shot. Sophomore Kaycie Tillman played a ball off the side of her foot in the midfield in the 62nd minute to Castellanos, creating a two vs. one situation with McFarland. The entry pass was too far out in front, allowing UM goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce to secure the ball and possession.
Castellanos was the target of Malia Berkely as she dribbled up the right side through the Miami defense in the 66th minute, but her pass into the penalty box was a bit too far for her fellow freshman to get on to.
Tillman managed the best offensive chance for the Noles in the second half, but her shot at 69:24 went high of the goal. Sophomore Olivia Bergau started the play with a quality throw-in from midfield down the left side for McFarland. The freshman forward pressed the ball to the endline before sending a low cross back through the box for Tillman shot.
Lightning was detected shortly after and teams went to the locker room. After a two hour and 19 minute delay, the game resumed as a significant amount of rain continued to fall at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
The Seminoles dominated the final 19 minutes of match after play resumed. FSU was the only team to record a shot (4) or a corner (2) after the lightning delay. The only offensive opportunity for Miami came in the 89th minute as a FSU foul just outside the penalty box gave the Hurricanes a free kick. Miami played the ball off to the left instead of driving a cross into the box, and McFarland made a nice play to intercept the pass and clear it away to help secure the win.
FSU wraps up its six-game home stand this coming week as the Noles host Wake Forest on September 22 at 7:00 p.m. and Virginia on September 25 at 1:00 p.m. Live stats will be available on Seminoles.com and admission is free for all home regular season FSU Soccer matches.