FSU soccer wins NCAA tournament opener

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The Florida State soccer team (16-5) defended their home turff in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 2-0 win over South Alabama (16-4-2).

The Seminoles improved to 19-0-1 all-time in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and 45-1-1 at home in the NCAA Tournament.

The Seminoles got out of the gate hot, scoring in just four minutes and 44 seconds with a Kirsten McFarland goal coming off of assists from Jaelin Howell and Yujie Zhao. It was McFarland’s sixth goal of the season and came off a beautiful ball by Howell that led Zhao behind the defense. Zhao was then able to drop it off to McFarland for her first of two goals on the afternoon.

McFarland earned her second goal of the night on another Seminole double assist. Florida State attacked the middle of the Jaguars defense as Abbey Newton passed it to Zhao, who earned her second assist of the night as she passed it along to McFarland for her second goal.

“Obviously scoring two goals is pretty good, but I think collectively as a team we did a very good job capitalizing on those moments and the play together to find those opportunities,” McFarland said. “Yujie (Zhao) gave me those balls in perfect spots with great timing, and I just had to finish them. I think overall together it was a good performance.”

With the win, Florida State advanced to the NCAA second round for the 19th time in program history. The Seminoles will take on Brown on Friday at the Seminole Soccer Complex.

FSU men’s cross country earns at-large NCAA Championships bid

For the 15th time in program history and the 14th time in the last 17 seasons the Florida State men’s cross country team is headed to the NCAA Championships.

The Noles claimed one of 13 at-large berths to the field of 31 qualifying teams for the Nov. 23 title meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind.

A disappointing fourth-place finish at Friday’s NCAA South Region meet on their home course put the Noles precariously on the bubble for one of the last spots in the field. Saturday’s streamed selection show provided both confirmation to what the team had suspected – that they had done enough work over the regular season to accumulate the necessary at-large points – and yet relief that their season-long efforts would not hinge on one sub-par performance.

“Yesterday was just crazy emotion,” said senior Steven Cross, who is headed back to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year. “Obviously I was upset after the race. It seemed like a longshot for us to get in; seeing us fourth up on the scoreboard behind Alabama was heartbreaking. I was starting to come to terms with my cross country career being done.

“As the day went on I kept watching the regional races and the chances got better…It came down to the very last region and Jacob [Holmes] and I were watching it. It was a nail-biter. We were pretty sure we were in, but until they said it on the screen I didn’t really believe it.”

Cross and his teammates erupted in celebration when “Florida State” appeared as the fourth school on the list of at-large qualifiers on the TV screen in the team lounge. The teams were revealed alphabetically.

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