No. 1 FSU soccer falls at No. 6 Duke

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No. 1 FSU soccer falls at No. 6 Duke
© Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via Imagn Content Services, LLC

No. 1 Florida State (14-1-1, 7-1-1 ACC) lost 1-0 to no. 6 Duke (12-2-1, 6-2-1 ACC) today in Durham, NC.

Game Recap

In the 15th minute Florida State generated a chance. Clara Robbins battled for a loose ball in the box and drove it toward the endline. Robbins then delivered a wicked right footed cross/shot toward goal. Duke keeper Ruthie Jones dove to knock it away with both hands. The ball caromed right to Kristina Lynch about 12 yards from goal. Lynch one timed a shot but she couldn’t hit it cleanly and it went wide left.

In the 16th minute the Blue Devils earned their first chance. Michelle Cooper received the ball on the left flank. Cooper raced toward goal while being harassed by Emily Madril. Cooper got by Madril and Lauren Flynn came up to challenge her. Cooper knocked the ball past Flynn. FSU keeper Mia Justus came off her line to challenge Cooper. However, Cooper got by Justus and crossed the ball back to the middle of the box for Tess Boade. As Justus was scrambling to get back to goal Boade took a shot that was blocked by a hustling Jaelin Howell. The ball trickled through Howell’s legs but Justus was there to fall on the ball ending the threat.

In the 17th minute Duke generated another chance. Mackenzie Pluck drove the ball down the middle of the field. Pluck laid the ball off for Cooper on the left side. Cooper one-timed a ball into the Seminole box. Boade charged for the ball but Howell was there first and Howell held the ball up so that Justus could race out and grab it.

In the 27th minute Duke broke the scoring ice. Emily Royson dribbled the ball through the midfield. Royson then delivered a pass ahead to Cooper up the field. Cooper dummied the ball stepping over it so that it went to a wide open Boade who was standing at the edge of the box. Boade took a touch and then delivered a left-footed shot toward goal. It looked like Justus had it covered but she was moving to her left and the ball went to her right. Justus managed to get her hands on the ball but because her body weight was going in the wrong direction she wasn’t able to completely stop it and the ball glanced off her hands and dropped just barely over the goal line. There were no cameras directly on the goal line but one of the replays seemed to show that the ball barely crossed the line. I think that it was probably a good goal but I’m not 100% sure. Justus leapt back and knocked the ball out of the goal but it was too late. Duke had scored and they had a 1-0 lead. Mia Justus is a talented keeper and a player with her ability likely saves that shot nine times out of ten but unfortunately for Justus her body weight was going in the wrong direction and the shot crossed her up a bit.

In the 34th minute FSU generated another chance. Kirsten Pavlisko drove the ball down the right side. She laid the ball off for Amelia Horton on the right flank. Horton one-timed a wicked right footed cross that ended up being more like a shot as it just barely missed finding the upper left corner of the goal.

In the 60th minute Duke generated another chance. Cooper raced down the middle of the field. She received the ball and used her speed to get by Madril. Justus came off her line to challenge Cooper who played the ball back for a charging Boade. Howell and Pavlisko challenged her but Boade did manage to get a shot off. Fortunately for FSU the shot was blocked and the ball was taken away by Madril.

In the 82nd minute Duke kept the pressure on. Olivia Migli intercepted a pass in midfield. Migli drove the ball up the field on the counter attack. Migli laid the ball off for Grace Watkins in the midfield. Watkins took a couple of touches and then unleashed a shot from about 22 yards away. Justus jumped up and make a sterling save knocking the ball over the crossbar to deny Watkins.

The Seminoles kept pressing. In the 86th minute Jody Brown found Emma Bissell open on the right side. Bissell sent a dangerous cross into the box. Yujie Zhao, Beata Olsson and Gianna Mitchell all were charging toward the goal but none of them could catch up to the ball and it rolled harmlessly through the box.

In the 88th minute FSU had one last chance. Jenna Nighswonger sent a nice curling ball into the box. However, Duke keeper Ruthie Jones went over Howell’s head to snag the ball out of the air. Howell complained that she was being held by Katie Groff but her protests fell on deaf ears.

From there the Blue Devils were able to salt away the lead and they walked away with a crucial 1-0 victory.

Post Game

Florida State had a slim 9-8 shot advantage while shots on goal were tied at four apiece.

FSU barely won the possession battle 52%-48%.

This was Duke’s first win over FSU since Oct. 8th, 2017 when Duke beat FSU 2-0 in Durham.

FSU is now 16-11-7 all-time against Duke.

This game was fairly even. Duke was probably slightly better in the first half while FSU was probably slightly better in the second half. However, the Blue Devils converted on their best chance and the Noles weren’t able to answer.

The offense hasn’t generated enough chances on this road trip and that has dramatically lowered FSU’s margin of error.

For the second straight game Florida State was without Gabby Carle (Canada), Maria Alagoa (Portugal) and Heather Payne (Ireland) who were all unavailable due to international duty.

It’s impossible to say for sure whether FSU would have won today (or against North Carolina) if those players had been available. Obviously having a full strength team would have been ideal but FSU is just struggling in general right now.

Florida State looks tired. Passes aren’t crisp. The speed of play is slower. There is much less possession than normal. Obviously much of that has to do with the fact that there has been a step up in competition on this North Carolina trip. Duke played well and they deserve credit for the win. However, this just isn’t the same Seminole team that we have seen all year. A couple of days off may be just what the doctor ordered for this team.

This loss combined with Virginia’s 6-1 win over Miami today means that the Cavaliers vault over FSU into first place in the ACC with 25 points to FSU’s 22 points. Florida State really wants to stay in the top two of the ACC standings so that they will get a bye into the semi-finals and avoid having to play an extra game. If the Noles earn any type of result against UVA next Thursday they will be guaranteed a top two spot and the coveted bye. If FSU loses against the Hoos then they could fall to third if Duke beats Louisville on Thursday. If FSU beats UVA the Noles will claim the top seed in the Tournament as the two teams will be tied with 25 points but FSU would have beaten UVA head to head. However, while the top seed would be nice, FSU really just wants to get in the top two so that they would get the bye and avoid having to play an extra game.

Next Game

Florida State will host No. 2 Virginia (15-1-1, 8-0-1 ACC) on Thursday, Oct. 28th at the Seminole Soccer Complex. The game will kickoff at 7pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.

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