The Daily Nole

FSU Soccer Dominant Through Non-Conference, Set for ACC Play

Perrone Ford/FSU athletics

After a couple of disappointing seasons — only by the high program standards — Florida State soccer looks like a national championship contender again through non-conference play.

The most recent contest for the Seminoles was a 2-0 win over South Alabama. For the season, FSU is 7-0-1.

Florida State is not only winning, but it is dominating opponents and good ones at that. The Seminoles recently topped then No. 2 UCLA by a 4-1 margin. The lone draw came against current No. 3 USC, but FSU dominated the contest, getting off 18 shots to six for the Women of Troy.

Through eight matches, the Seminoles have allowed just one goal and that was in the victory over UCLA. Brooke Bollinger, the redshirt freshman goalkeeper, who takes over for 4-year starter Cassie Miller has 15 saves. Her .938 saves percentage ranks seventh in the country.

Florida State has outshot opponents by nearly a 5-to-1 margin at 149-30. That averages out to less than four shots on goal per game from FSU opponents. Senior Natalia Kuikka has been arguably the best defensive player for the Seminoles. FSU’s goals against average currently ranks No. 1 in the country.

FSU is averaging 2.38 goals per game despite getting just two so far from All-American junior Deyna Castellanos. Freshman Yujie Zhao leads the team with four goals and 10 total points — twice as many as the next player.

Redshirt sophomores Kristen McFarland and Malia Berkeley as well as senior Dallas Dorosy are next with five points apiece. Berkeley leads the team with five assists. In total, 14 different Seminoles have tallied a point this season.

FSU went undefeated through non-conference despite a tough slate that included two top-10 teams, rival Florida, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin. The ACC slate will be no slouch as the Seminoles are set to face three teams currently ranked and two in the top 10.

Although it has statistically dominated, not all the wins for FSU to this point have come easy. It took a goal in the 56th minute by Kuikka to put the Seminoles ahead in a 1-0 win over Vanderbilt to start the season. Against rival Florida last week, no one found the net for either team until McFarland did in the 88th minute. Most recently, FSU scored two goals in the final 28 minutes to beat South Alabama.

Things won’t get any easier as ACC play starts on Friday against No. 6 North Carolina in Tallahassee. It was the Tar Heels who topped FSU in last season’s ACC Tournament and went on to claim the title to end the Seminoles’ streak of consecutive conference crowns at four.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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