Currently sitting at No. 2 amongst National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I teams, Florida State University (FSU) Women’s Soccer team has had an outstanding season. Supported by a record number of fans per game, the Noles began the year strong with a 14 game winning streak. Unfortunately, that streak was broken by a 2-2 tie against No. 7 University of North Carlina at Chapel Hill (UNC). This was followed by a 0-1 loss against No. 6 Duke.
Last Thursday the Noles (14-1-2) faced University of Virginia’s (UVA) Cavaliers, each team vying for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Regular Season Title. The first half ended scorelessly, but in the 62nd minute No. 9 Diana Ordonez put UVA on the scoreboard. FSU was quick to respond, however, with a goal by No. 33 Yujie Zhao less than five minutes later. The game ended in a 1-1 tie, and UVA (15-1-2) walked away the ACC Regular Season champions.
The Noles may face UVA again on Sunday, Nov. 7 in the ACC Tournament Finals depending on the results of their game Friday, Nov. 5 against No. 25 Wake Forest, and UVA’s performance against No. 24 Clemson in the semifinals.
Based on their No. 2 ranking and the fact that three key players—Gabby Carle (Canada), Maria Alagoa (Portugal) and Heather Payne (Ireland)—are all coming back from international team play, the Noles should feel confident stepping into the ACC Tournament this weekend.
The team is also preparing for its NCAA Tournament debut. The first round of the 2021 tournament starts on Friday, Nov. 12, opponent and location to be announced. Florida State won the national championship in 2014 and 2018. Last year, they made it to the quarterfinals, but this year they hope to bring home the title again in 2021; they’re certainly capable of victory.
Throughout the entirety of the 2021 season, FSU has scored 52 goals, 30 of which were scored in conference games. This is a record-breaking number of conference goals scored in ACC history. 11 of these goals are thanks to Beata Olsson, an international Sophomore from Ireland who currently holds the title of most goals scored in the ACC this season.
The Noles’ defense has been a key element of their success this season. Not only have they had eight shutouts, letting in only 11 goals, but there have also only been 20 saves on behalf of the Nole keepers this season compared to the conference average of 90.
Unless they take home the NCAA title, this will be the last season that FSU has NCAA champions on their team. The Noles are saying goodbye to seniors Jaelin Howell, Gianna Mitchell and Gabrielle Carle, all of whom helped bring FSU to victory in 2018. FSU will be especially sorry to see star player Howell go as she was named ACC Midfielder of the Year this past week. Redshirt senior Emily Madril was also named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, putting FSU in the spotlight for this year’s awards.
No matter the result this year, the team is still young with seven freshmen on their roster, and they’re sure to deliver a competitive end to the season.
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