NCAAW: No. 1 Florida State edges No. 8 Texas A&M on opening night
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Via Florida State University) – Kicking off the season on a high note, the No. 1 Florida State soccer team (1-0-0) earned a hard-fought win on the road, defeating No. 8 Texas A&M (0-1-0) by a score of 1-0 on Friday night at Ellis Field in front of 2,291 fans. A goal from freshman Deyna Castellanos in the second minute proved to be the game-winner in the top-10 match-up of non-conference foes.
The victory extended Florida State’s winning streak on opening day to nine matches, outscoring its opponents by a combined score of 23-3, dating back to 2008. Overall, the Seminoles are 16-5-1 in season openers, with a mark of 7-4-0 outside of Tallahassee.
“I think it is a really good win for us,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “We know coming in here and playing Texas A&M that it is going to be as good of an environment as there is in college soccer. I think it is great for our players to play in this type of situation. We scored an early one, which certainly helps, and we’ll feel good walking out of here with a win, because that’s a very good Texas A&M team.”
Florida State started the match with eight underclassmen – three freshmen and five sophomores – and it didn’t take long for one of the many newcomers to make an immediate impact for the Garnet and Gold.
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Castellanos found a spot at the top of the box and Emma Koivisto passed her a great ball from the right side. The freshman forward collected the ball on her first touch, played the ball to herself up and over the defender, creating space to finish the ball from 12 yards out for the first goal of her career.
“I am so excited because we won this game and it was so important because it was the first one,” said Castellanos. “We did great and I am so happy for that. Emma gave me a great ball and with that one goal, we won the game.”
Both sides traded shots throughout the first half, but neither team had a quality offensive chance until the 42nd minute when Texas A&M slipped Brittany Crabtree all alone behind the FSU backline, but her shot rolled to the left of the far post.
At the end of the first 45 minutes, FSU led TAMU in shots, 6-4, and both squads earned one corner apiece in the first half.
To start the second half, Castellanos took a shot from the right side that was wide of the post and went into the side of the net. Freshman Heidi Kollanen produced two solid opportunities at the Texas A&M goal, but couldn’t find the back of the net. In the 58th minute after an FSU corner, Kollanen dribbled into the box from the left but her shot was blocked. In the 62nd minute, Kollanen was all alone at the penalty spot after Elin Jensen went up the right side, slipped it into Castellanos, who crossed it to Kollanen, but her shot went directly into the waiting arms of Texas A&M goalkeeper Danielle Rice.
The Aggies continued to battle for the equalizer, getting a pair of shots from Haley Pounds in the 79th and 80th minute, but both attempts were saved by FSU’s Cassie Miller, who earned the clean sheet in net while racking up four saves. Texas A&M earned a total of five corner kicks in the second half, but each scoring chance was driven away by the FSU defense as the Noles secured the 1-0 victory on the road.
“I’m happy with our overall performance,” added Krikorian. “It wasn’t beautiful. There were times that I thought we looked very young, which we are, and very immature and inexperienced. But there were other times where there were some pretty good moments. What I’m sure of is, like every year, we are going to be a lot better by the end of the season than we are right now and these kids are committed to fight hard for each other.”
Next up for the Seminoles will be a two-game road trip next week, beginning at Vanderbilt on August 25 at 8:30 p.m. ET in a match that will air on the SEC Network+. FSU closes out the trip with a game on August 28 at Middle Tennessee at 3:00 p.m. ET. The match between the Seminoles and Blue Raiders will be shown on CUSA.tv.