No. 3 Florida State Narrowly Edges Wolfpack, 1-0
Sept. 22, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The NC State women’s soccer team ran into a tough opponent in No. 3 Florida State Sunday afternoon, falling to the Seminoles by a final score of 1-0. The Wolfpack defense did an admirable job throughout the match, not yielding a goal until a well-placed free kick in the 87th minute broke the deadlock.
“I’m proud of our team,” said head coach Tim Santoro. “It was a great defensive performance. We had a game plan and I thought our girls were magnificent.”
State (6-4-0, 1-3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) allowed a total of 29 shots by the Seminoles in the match, but many of these attempts were taken from more than 18 yards away due to the pressure applied by the Pack defense. Redshirt freshman Mackenzie Stelljes (Charlotte, N.C.) was very solid throughout the 90 minutes, tying her career high with eight saves.
“Mackenzie was good, but even more so than her was our back line,” Santoro added. “We were so tight defensively that we forced a lot of their shots to be from long range. Mackenzie made a couple of good saves, but our back line was just magnificent.”
Florida State (8-0-2, 3-0-1 ACC) controlled much of the early possession, putting pressure on the Wolfpack defense. NC State responded well, bending without allowing a significant number of scoring opportunities. Two of the best early chances for the Seminoles were saved by Stelljes, as she made a diving stop on Jamia Fields’ far-post attempt in the fourth minute and then denied Kristin Grubka’s header from close range in the 17th minute.
Through the first 45 minutes of play, Stelljes remained sharp, making four saves on Florida State’s four shots on goal. The Seminoles ended the first frame with a total shot count of 13. Despite being outshot, NC State did a solid job of limiting FSU’s scoring chances, as many of the 13 attempts were taken more than 20 yards from goal.
Stelljes was tested early to start the second half, as Nickolette Driesse ripped a hard shot from the top of the 18-yard box on target. The redshirt freshman dove to the far post and was able to not only knock the shot down, but also make the collection to prevent any rebound chances for the Seminoles.
State nearly took the lead in the 61st minute, creating two great scoring chances within a span of 20 seconds. A through ball to Shlaes (Shaker Heights, Ohio) found the midfielder on a partial breakaway. She took one touch and shot a low attempt towards the far post but Kelsey Wys was able to make a diving kick save. Stengel (Melbourne, Fla.) then controlled the rebound and fired a shot towards the near post, but it missed by a foot, hitting the side netting.
“For all the shots FSU had, Kaley Shlaes had the best chance of the game on that second-half breakaway,” Santoro said. “That’s what we wanted to do: defend and find opportunities on the counter. We did, and unfortunately we gave up a late goal which was preventable.”
Florida State was able to deliver the decisive blow in the 87th minute on a set piece. Following a foul just outside of the penalty area, Marta Bakowska-Mathews lined up a free kick from 20 yards out. The junior dipped a curling shot just over the NC State defensive wall and out of Stelljes’ reach to make it 1-0.
NC State will be back in action on Thursday, Sept. 26 at home against current No. 23 Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack and Hokies will kick off from Dail Soccer Field at 7 p.m. with the match being broadcast live on GoPack All-Access.