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Seniors stand out as FSU soccer wins top-10 matchup

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The No. 5 Florida State soccer team (14-4-0, 8-2-0) took down No. 9 Duke 1-0 on Senior Day with outstanding performances from both seniors Deyna Castellanos and Caroline Jeffers.

In a game that was scoreless for 78 minutes, the ‘Noles hit the game-winner on a Deyna Castellanos strike from around 30 yards out in the 79th minute, fittingly on Senior Day. After the goal, Castellanos ran to celebrate with her mom, who was in Tallahassee to watch her play at FSU for the first time. Her goal was assisted by Jenna Nighswonger and Malia Berkely.

“It was pretty exciting,” Castellanos said of her mother being in attendance. “She thought I wasn’t going to score today, but that almost never happens when she’s watching.”

“It’s a storybook ending, right?” FSU coach Mark Krikorian said after the match. “Big-time players make big plays and she sure did. That was a great strike at the most-needed moment in a very tight game. Obviously, the difference in the game was Deyna’s strike.”

The Seminoles struggled to get good looks in the first half, only getting off five shots and two on goal. The Noles maintained possession nearly the entire game as they held onto the ball for 73 percent of the game, resulting in 15 shots to Duke’s three.

Duke (8-2-7, 3-1-6) did have some good looks on goal though as Jeffers had to make one great save as she came way out of goal in the 37thminute in a one on one with Duke’s Emmy Duerr. She also broke up a few Duke crosses to keep the Blue Devils off of the scoreboard for the eighth Seminoles shutout of the season and fifth for Jeffers.

The win over Duke handed the Blue Devils their first loss in ACC play as they previously had seven ties, including 0-0 draws with No. 1 Virginia and No. 3 North Carolina.

With the win, Florida State assumed the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament and will play seventh-seeded Clemson in the first round of the 2019 ACC Tournament on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Tickets for the ACC Quarterfinal are available on Seminoles.com. The first 100 students with a valid Student ID will get in for free.

ACC Tournament Ticket Prices
Reserved – $20
General Admission Adult – $8
General Admission Senior (50+) – $5
General Admission Students (13 and older) – $5
General Admission Youth (3-12) – $3
Ages 2 & Under – Free

FSU men, women cross country set for ACC Championship

 In its truest form, cross country racing tests the physical and mental toughness of its competitors, often under less than ideal conditions.

That’s precisely the challenge the nationally-ranked Florida State men and women will encounter Friday morning when they contend for ACC Championship titles on the rolling, muddy, wind-swept Buford Meredith Cross Country Course, while coping with temperatures in the 30s.

The 21st-ranked Seminole men – one of six ranked teams in the field – bring their strongest squad to the meet since their third-place finish in 2012, when they finished seven points behind the host champion Virginia Tech Hokies. Their 8,000-meter race is set for 10 a.m. and will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.

“I think it is our best since ’12,” said FSU coach Bob Braman, whose team is hunting its second ACC men’s cross country title in his 20 years at the helm. “We had a region champion team in 2015, but we performed really well on that day…

“We’re going to go in there without a lot of stress or expectation and just try and chase the front. The worst thing that can happen is we’ll still be what we’ve been the last two meets, which is a very competitive team.”

Defending champion and No. 20 Notre Dame is among six teams that figure to be in the mix for the title, along with NC State and Virginia (tied for No. 23 nationally), No. 26 Virginia Tech and No. 28 Syracuse.

A year ago coach Kelly Phillips’ women finished fourth – improving from seventh in 2017 – but her fifth Noles squad enters Friday’s 11 a.m., 6,000-meter race ranked No. 10 in the country, trailing only three-time defending champion NC State at No. 6. 

It is without question the strongest team since the Noles hoisted their seventh consecutive title in 2013; one capable of winning it all. They were third at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, where they beat both NC State and Notre Dame, and were fifth two weeks ago at the Pre-National Invitational.

“The mindset has been really good,” Phillips said. “The workouts have been exceptional. They have been better than I thought they would have been this year. I think some of that is because of the depth. And they’ve been really supportive of each other.”

In addition to the Wolfpack, No. 17 Notre Dame, No. 22 Virginia Tech and No. 27 Boston College round out the five ranked teams who figure to be battling for top honors, as well as Georgia Tech and Syracuse, who are receiving votes in the national poll.

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