TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The second-seeded Florida State Seminoles scored two second half goals en route to a 2-0 victory over the seventh-seeded Duke women’s soccer team on Sunday afternoon in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals at the Seminole Soccer Soccer Complex.
“Obviously, it is disappointing to lose,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “Congratulations to Florida State and we wish them the best of luck going forward. I thought we did some really good things in the second half, especially. We started connecting balls, we changed the point of attack and the speed of play was better.”
Duke featured its first offensive action of the match in the 31st minute as senior Mollie Pathman sent in the Blue Devils’ corner kick to the feet of freshman Malinda Allen. Allen, who is out of Memphis, Tenn., sent a shot at the corner of the goal that was blocked by Florida State keeper Kelsey Wys.
Off the rebound, senior midfielder Kaitlyn Kerr had a sliding shot that went wide left past the post.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, Pathman sent a great cross in from the left side and redshirt senior Kim DeCesare flicked the ball to Kerr, but was called for offside.
At the end of the first half, Duke featured only two shots by Kerr and Allen. Florida State attempted four with Blue Devil goalkeeper Meghan Thomas totaling one save.
Duke has featured only three shots in the first half of the last two matches against North Carolina and Florida State.
The Blue Devils featured a good chance for offense early in the second half as freshman Toni Payne fed a streaking senior Laura Weinberg down the right sideline. Weinberg, who is out of Boca Raton, Fla., crossed to Kelly Cobb, but her header opportunity went sideways.
Duke then had its best scoring chance of the match as Payne dribbled down the middle of the pitch and fed sophomore Kara Wilson. A product of Potomac, Md., Wilson found herself with a one-v-one opportunity against Florida State senior goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. Wilson, who had taken only three shots all season, used her right foot to send an attempt in, but Wys stuck her left hand out and blocked it.
“What a great little play,” said Church. “Toni slipped her a great ball. Kara made a very good committed run. She went hard at the goalkeeper and made a nice save on it.”
The Blue Devils then had a corner kick sent in by Pathman to a leaping DeCesare, who sent a header high over the crossbar.
Less than two minutes later, Duke took down an attacking Seminole on the outside of the box and was awarded a penalty kick. Isabella Schmid stepped up and hit the top left corner to give Florida State a 1-0 lead. Just 88 seconds later, the Blue Devils failed to clear the second of back-to-back corner kicks and Kristin Grubka made Duke pay as she fired in her second goal of the season to put the Seminoles ahead, 2-0.
“We gave up two goals within a minute and a half,” said Church. “We lost focus, we made a bad decision on the defensive end, they got a goal. We lost focus a little bit and they scored a second goal.”
The Blue Devils featured another excellent chance for a goal as Pathman sent in a corner kick that was kicked out to Wilson. The 5-9 midfielder flipped a ball to Kerr, who headed an attempt just right of the post at the 72:27 mark.
“I was happy how we finished up,” commented Church. “We have time off now. We have about 10 days before the NCAA Tournament. We need a little rest, we need to come back do some things, especially from the offensive stand point. We are not far from being a really, really good team.”
Thomas, who is from Castle Rock, Colo., collected three saves in goal for the Blue Devils. Duke was outshot 9-6 for the match as Florida State (16-1-3) advances to play North Carolina in the tournament.
Since scoring a season-high six goals against Pittsburgh on senior night, Duke has been shutout in back-to-back matches for the first time this season. With the loss, Duke (8-8-4) dropped its ninth straight ACC Tournament match being played away from home.
Duke will next await the NCAA Tournament selection show on Nov. 11 at 4:30 p.m.
Notes: • Duke is now 8-12-2 all-time in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals and 12-26-2 overall in the ACC Tournament. • The Blue Devils allowed their third penalty kick goal of the season. • Prior to the last two matches, Duke’s lowest shot output was nine on two different occasions. In the UNC and FSU contests, the Blue Devils have attempted a combined nine shots.
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