Virginia and Florida State have made quite the habit of having epic matches on the biggest stages in collegiate women’s soccer.
Sunday was no exception.
The top two teams in the country met in the ACC women’s soccer Championship Game on Sunday afternoon at WakeMed Soccer Park. Florida struck early on a goal by Clara Robbins and became just the second team to shut out UVA this season, as the Seminoles defeated the Cavaliers 1-0 to claim their second straight ACC Championship.
Before Robbins’ scored for Florida State, Virginia had two great chances to strike first, Taryn Torres put a shot on goal in the 7th minute, but it was saved by Florida State goalkeeper Cristina Roque. Two minutes later, Haley Hopkins let loose a shot that barely missed its mark, striking the left post and bouncing harmlessly away.
In a match filled with tough and well-executed defense by both teams, Clara Robbins’ goal early in the match was a glaring exception. The Cavaliers turned the ball over on their own end of the field on an errant throw-in and Robbins took it the other way. After a few steps, Robbins took an unexpected shot from well outside the box and caught UVA goalkeeper Laurel Ivory off guard and out of position. Ivory retreated and tried to get a hand on the ball, but it went over her head and into the back of the net to put the Seminoles on top.
After capturing the early lead, Florida State was content to play more passively, dropping several players back to support the back line to keep Virginia from producing effective scoring chances.
Virginia attempted three shots in the first half, two of which went on goal, but none found their mark. UVA outshot FSU 11-8 and shots on goal were even at three apiece in the match.
In the 69th minute, Florida State threatened to extend its lead as Beata Ollsson took a hard shot, but Laurel Ivory made an incredible leaping save to keep the margin at 1-0.
Virginia came very close to finding an equalizer in the second half as the Hoos had several scoring opportunities down the stretch.
In the 79th minute, Talia Staude perfectly placed a free kick into the box and found an open Diana Ordonez diving towards the goal line. Ordonez got a piece of the ball, but did not hit it cleanly off of her foot and it went wide left.
A little over a minute later, Taryn Torres took a hard left-footed shot from just outside the box, but it was saved by a diving Cristina Roque, who stood on her head to keep the Hoos from finding the back of the net.
With just over two minutes remaining in the match, the Hoos got perhaps their best shot at tying the match. Once again, the ball came to Diana Ordonez at point-blank range. And once again, Cristina Roque made the save.
The Cavaliers kept the ball in the attacking end of the field for most of the second half, but the Seminoles denied the Hoos at every turn to seal the shutout win.
Florida State captured back-to-back ACC Championships and the 8th ACC title in school history. Virginia suffered its second loss of the season and first since losing to Penn State 4-2 on September 9th.
The Cavaliers will wait to see where they are seeded in the NCAA Tournament, which will be revealed during the Division I NCAA women’s soccer selection show on Monday at 4:30pm on NCAA.com.