Florida State (2-1-0) suffered its first loss of the season to No. 4 UCLA (34-0-0) 2-1 on Thursday night at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
“I thought in the first half we didn’t compete well enough,” said coach Mark Krikorian. “They are a really good team that has a lot of good and clever players. If you let them dictate the tempo of the game, it could be a long game. In the first half, we didn’t bring our A-game and if you don’t bring that to any game I am not sure you deserve to win. Credit to them for doing what they needed to do to score the goals and win the games.”
UCLA had eight shots in the first half to Florida State’s one. Those eight shots resulted in two Bruin goals.
Early in the first half UCLA got an early header on goal and followed that up with a quick shot right after, both saved by FSU redshirt senior Caroline Jeffers. Six minutes later, in the 13th minute, UCLA’s Jessie Fleming connected and scored her first goal of the half.
UCLA got another good look on goal in the 29th minute but Jeffers came up big denying the shot on the free-kick. In the 34th minute, Fleming connected on her second goal of the match.
The ‘Noles came out firing in the second half with an early shot by sophomore Jaelin Howell. FSU came up with a good look in the 55th minute as freshman Jenna Nighswonger led senior Deyna Castellanos right up the middle but she could not handle the ball in the six-yard box.
“We talked about making sure we put our finest effort out,” said Krikorian. “We have a lot of good players too and these games are going to be won and lost by technical ability as well as mentality. In the second half, our kids competed a little more favorably and fought a little harder and gave us a chance to get back in the game.”
Nighswonger followed that up a minute later with a shot of her own that was on target and led to a Castellanos corner kick that was kicked around close to the goal but resulted in nothing.
In the 61st minute, UCLA had another good look but Jeffers made one of her nine saves in the match.
Florida State finally got on the board in 75th minute on a strike from Howell. Nighswonger passed it in from just at the 18-yard box as Howell turned and fired it into the left side of the net to make it 2-1.
UCLA had another great chance in the 82nd minute but Jeffers made a save and junior Gabby Carle cleared it before the Bruins could get to it.
The Seminoles are back on the field Sunday at 5 p.m. ET against USC at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. That game will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.