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FSU soccer knocks off Notre Dame to reach ACC semis

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The top-seeded Seminole Soccer team (9-0) advanced to the ACC Tournament semifinals after defeating eighth-seeded Notre Dame (4-5) 2-0. Florida State is unbeaten through its first nine games of the season for just the third time in program history.

“I thought overall our team performed pretty well,” FSU coach Mark Krikorian said. “We came in here and played a very hardworking and organized Notre Dame team. They made it difficult for us and they had a lot of numbers behind the ball and a great compact defense. Fortunately for us, we got that first one just before halftime. Full credit to Notre Dame. We played them earlier in the year and we handled them pretty well. As I said to their coach before the game, they have done a great job of improving through the course of the season. I have a lot of respect for them and their program and their players.”

Florida State is 12-8-4 all-time in the first round of the ACC Tournament. FSU also improved to 13-8-5 in ACC Tournament games in Cary, N.C.

The shutout victory over Notre Dame gives Florida State seven shutouts through nine games this season. FSU will face Duke, which defeated Clemson 1-0 in another quarterfinal, on Friday at 5:30 p.m. on ACC Network.

It was not until the 41st minute that the Seminoles got their first shot on goal from junior Yujie Zhao. It led to a corner and then another shot on goal from freshman Lauren Flynn.

Junior Jaelin Howell finally got the Seminoles on the board in the 45th minute with her third goal of the season. The goal came off a corner from sophomore Jenna Nighswonger. Howell elevated over the Notre Dame defense to head the ball into the center of the net after the Notre Dame keeper fell down.

“That is really significant if you can score that goal,” said Krikorian. “It changes the feel for the game. It was a great service by Jenna and finish by Jaelin.”

The second half was more of the same as FSU dominated on offense, outshooting Notre Dame 7-4. Florida State got off five shots at the beginning of the half with none of them on goal. In the 78th minute, FSU finally got its first shot on goal of the second half. Not only was it on goal it was in the goal — Clara Robbins found the back of the net for the third time this season.

The ball found Robbins at the top of the 18-yard box on a deflection from a Notre Dame defender. After settling the ball at her feet, Robbins fired one into the right side of the net, giving the Seminoles a 2-0 lead.

“Coming back in the second half I thought we controlled the game pretty well and of course Clara’s goal from distance made it a little easier,” Krikorian said.

Notre Dame would finish the game with a shot in the 88th minute, one of their four for the game, but none of them would be on goal.