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Nighswonger has two goals as FSU soccer routs Pitt

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The second-ranked Florida State soccer team (5-0) remains unbeaten through the first five games with a 4-1 win over Pitt (8-3) during a cold rainy night in Pittsburgh.

Florida State improved to 8-0 all-time against Pitt as FSU has outscored the Panthers 26-2 in their eight meetings.

For the second straight game, the Seminoles got on the board in the first 10 minutes. Sophomore LeiLanni Nesbeth hit one into the back of the net for the third time this season on a rocket from close to 30 yards out. After redshirt senior Malia Berkely dribbled the ball up the middle of the field she turned and passed it out left to Nesbeth. After making a move back towards the center of the field, Nesbeth launched one into the bottom left corner.

For the next 34 minutes, the Seminoles would get off seven more shots with two on goal and would get multiple other good looks. In the 27th minute, junior Kristina Lynch would get a good look after redshirt senior Clara Robbins crossed it into the box after fighting through traffic. Lynch’s shot would go just high.

In the 38th minute, freshman Jody Brown had a good look to get her third goal of the season but could not convert as well. Redshirt junior Emily Madril kicked a long ball down the right side of the field to sophomore Heather Payne who then rolled a nice pass to Brown who was one on one with the Pitt goalkeeper. Her shot would go just wide of the right post.

Pitt would tie the game just before the half on a goal from Madison Clayton, assisted by Amanda West in the 45th minute. It was the first goal of the season let up by the Seminoles.

The Seminoles regained the lead in the 56th minute on a goal by Lynch after a lot of confusion by the officials. Malia Berkely kicked a nice ball over the Pitt defense on a set piece to the far post that Lynch was able to redirect with her head into the back of the net. Lynch was called offside originally but the ball hit off a Pitt player’s head nullifying the call by the officials and resulting in the FSU goal.

Florida State expanded their lead to 3-1 in the 69th minute on Jenna Nighswonger’s second goal of the season. Yujia Zhao played one into Lynch just outside the six-yard box who then passed it back out to Nighswonger at the PK spot and she took a quick strike into the back of the net.

Nighswonger would get the Seminoles on the board for the fourth time with her second goal of the night in the 80th minute. Gabby Carle bombed a pass from just around midfield that would end up at the foot of Brown who would be one on one with a Pitt defender who would make a nice save. Nighswonger would get the rebound at the top of the 18-yard box and chip it over the Pitt defense to give the Noles a 4-1 lead.

Offensive Explosion

With 18 goals in the first five ACC games, Florida State broke their previous record of 14 goals scored in the team’s first five conference games. Those 18 goals have been scored by eight different players, with both Brown and Madril both scoring two goals each and Zhao, Nighswonger and Nesbeth all scoring three.

Nine of FSU’s 18 goals were scored from players coming off of the bench.

Hot Start in ACC Play

Florida State has started ACC play 5-0 for just the third time in program history. This also marks the fifth time that Florida State has started ACC play unbeaten through the first five games.

Florida State stays on the road to take on Virginia Sunday, October 18 at 3:30 pm on ESPN 2.