CARY, N.C. — For the second straight match, the top-ranked FSU soccer team was held scoreless for 110 minutes in regulation by an ACC foe. And for the second consecutive match, freshman goalkeeper Christina Roque came up with a brilliant performance in net.
The Winter Garden, Fla., native saved two Virginia PKs, and five shots in regulation, to send FSU to the College Cup final, where it will chase its third national title in seven years.
For a team that was not shutout in any match during the fall 2020 campaign, FSU was held without a goal once again Thursday evening. But just as it did versus Duke, the Seminoles were perfect from the spot and leaned on Roque to advance in the tournament.
The Seminoles converted all three of the PKs they took and Roque made two saves to win the shootout 3-0. It was the seventh straight PK shoot out win for the Seminoles in the postseason; they are now 9-1 in shootouts under head coach Mark Krikorian.
“She sure doesn’t play like a freshman, does she?” Krikorian said about Roque. “I thought that when we needed her to stand tall and have those big moments, she sure did. She did quite well with the penalties also but a couple big saves through the course of play and showed confidence and was reassuring to her teammates. I thought, again, she had a very good performance.”
“Just knowing that my team is behind me no matter what, just coming out and playing the best I can and we train super hard,” said Roque when asked about the success she is having as a true freshman. “We just have to show it on the field every time and I think we’ll be successful.”
After not playing a single overtime game all season, Florida State was forced into extra time for a second straight match Thursday. The Cavaliers held FSU to a season-low seven shots through regulation and FSU forced just one save from the UVA keeper in the first 90 minutes despite an 8-3 edge in corners.
Virginia had the edge in opportunities on goal throughout the first half. The Cavaliers had one dangerous chance off the underneath of the crossbar that just stayed out of the net and another that forced Roque into a diving save off a header lofted towards the upper 90 at the far post.
With just under 3:00 remaining in the half, UVA had another chance with a free kick from 20 yards out but once again Roque came up with the save on a low-driven shot right at the keeper. The Seminoles ended the first half with just one shot, its lowest total in the first half this season, compared to six for the Cavaliers of which four were on goal.
“All the credit goes to Swanny (Virginia Head Coach Steve Swanson) and the Virginia kids and their commitment to go and play and battle,” said Krikorian. “I thought they really took it to us in the first half like no one else has this year. I thought we were fortunate to come out 0-0.”
With just under a minute gone in the second half, Roque was called on once again to keep the game level. Virginia had an opportunity on goal off a turnover and once again drove a shot low to the far post but the freshman keeper was up to the task.
Florida State, following back-to-back corners, had one of its best opportunities of the match in the 57th minute. Kristen McFarland had a look at the net from the penalty spot but with the UVA defense closing in on her, the shot went just wide of the target. That was followed by another chance for the Noles off the foot of Clara Robbins but once again the chance was just wide of the net.
In the 65th minute Jody Brown created an opportunity for FSU as the Jamaican national made a run to the end line and sent a ball to the near post where McFarland was waiting but the redshirt-senior was unable to redirect the pass on frame.
In the 70th minute Yujie Zhao created another chance to break the scoreless draw. The junior worked her way from the wing into the 18 and fired a shot low to the far post but UVA’s keeper was able to handle the chance as the Seminoles continued to apply pressure.
With under 14:00 remaining, Brown once again got around a UVA defender on the end line and put another dangerous ball in front of the net but nobody for Florida State was home to get a foot on the pass.
Virginia had one of its best opportunities to take the lead in the second half with just over 12:00 remaining in regulation. Rebecca Jarret, who had been a thorn in the Seminoles in the first 45 minutes, got a look on goal but once again drove a shot right at Roque who handled the chance.
In the first minute of the first overtime, Gabby Carle had a good look on goal from outside the 18 but was unable to put the shot on frame. Virginia had a chance of their own with just 2:00 gone in the second overtime as a header was put on frame forcing Roque to make her fifth save of the match.
Florida State will face the winner of No. 2 North Carolina and No. 11 Santa Clara for the national championship. The College Cup final is scheduled for Monday at 5:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
“I feel great to move on and have a chance to compete in the national championship,” said Krikorian. “Whether it’s against (UNC Head Coach) Anson (Dorrance) and his legendary program or (Santa Clara Head Coach) Jerry Smith, so much history and so many great teams from Santa Clara. Whichever team it is, we know it’s going to be a great game.”