On a perfect day in front of a capacity crowd, the second-ranked Florida State soccer team (8-0) finished the regular season undefeated with a 2-0 win over No. 3 Clemson (6-3). The win secures the Seminoles at least a share of the regular season ACC Championship.
“When you are playing against top teams, you are not going to have chance after chance,” said coach Mark Krikorian. “You are going to get a few chances and when those chances come you are going to have to take advantage of them.”
This is the first time in program history that the Seminoles finished the ACC regular season without a blemish as their previous best ACC regular season was in 2014 when the Noles went 9-0-1.
“Going through the ACC without losing a point in the season is a great accomplishment,” said Krikorian. “Our kids played really well through the course of the season and to end with Duke and Clemson back-to-back it certainly speaks to the quality we have as well.”
The first half was slow as there were only three shots combined by both teams, with all three coming from the Seminoles. All three of those shots were on frame as the Clemson freshman goalkeeper came away with three saves, a new career-high for her. Two of those saves came at the end of the half as freshman Jody Brown was one-on-one with the Clemson keeper but would kick it right at her. Sophomore Jenna Nighswonger would get the rebound and fire it back towards the net but Clemson’s Halle Mackiewicz would make an incredible save.
Florida State came out pressing in the second half as they got off a shot just a minute and seven seconds into the half that lead to a corner kick. It would take seven more shots until Florida State found the back of the net.
In the 79th minute, Brown would convert in transition to give Florida State a 1-0 lead. Freshman goalkeeper Cristina Roque quickly threw the ball upfield to junior Yujie Zhao who played a beautiful ball over the Clemson defense to a streaking Brown who would beat the Clemson keeper one-on-one for the third goal of her career.
“She is pretty quick,” Krikorian on Brown. “There are a lot of different elements to her game. Certainly, her quickness, her explosion and her speed are all part of it. She is much more than simply an athlete. Her quality to the ball and her ability to escape pressure and finish are pretty good too. We have a big talent in Jody Brown and she showed that today.”
With just 30 seconds left in the game, Brown would strike again for her team high tying fourth goal of the season. After the ball bounced around in the middle of the field on an FSU goal kick, Clara Robbins got possession of it and played it to Brown with perfect pace past the Clemson defense. This once again put Brown one-on-one with the freshman Clemson keeper and she made her look silly going right past her and placing the ball in the back of the net.
With 25 goals in the eight ACC games, Florida State broke their previous record of 21 goals scored in the team’s first eight conference games. Those 25 goals have been scored by nine different players, with Howell, Lynch, Madril and Robbins all scoring two goals each and Zhao and Nighswonger both scoring three. Nesbeth and Brown lead the team in goals scored with four.
Dominant in ACC Play
Florida State finished ACC play without a blemish on their record for the first time in program history. The only other time Florida State finished the ACC regular season unbeaten was in 2014 when the Noles went 9-0-1.