The Florida State women's soccer team is headed to the third round of the NCAA tournament after a 3-1 victory over California Sunday.
Three unanswered goals in the game's first 27 minutes of play propelled the Seminoles (16-3-4) to the Round of 16 past the Bears. FSU had defeated Jacksonville 6-0 Friday in the tournament's first round from Tallahassee.
"If we could play better than we did the first half I'd be surprised," FSU coach Mark Krikorian said. "The first half we were absolutely fantastic, the attack was great, the defending was solid, and I thought it was a heck of a performance."
That first-half performance was sparked by the play of junior forward/midfielder Selin Kuralay. The Melbourne, Australia native posted the contest's first goal and then assisted on the second as her bent set-up shot was fielded by India Trotter, who proceeded to weave through the defense before putting it in the net.
Kuralay's un assisted initial goal came at the seven-minute mark from 22-yards out.
"I guess Mark (Krikorian) was telling me before the game to have a couple of shots, and if I can to get some off," Kuralay said. "I didn't think I'd been shooting enough in the previous games, and I just felt really confident in the warm up, and just on fire I guess."
In fact, the team as a whole hadn't shot well prior to the start of the tournament.
With their six goals against the Dolphins and three more against the Bears, the Seminoles have registered more points in two postseason games than in the previous six.
"We talk often about creating chances. Good players when they get enough chances are going to finish their chances," Krikorian said. "Throughout the balance of the season we've had a lot of chances. Some games the ball has been bouncing around the penalty box, we have a free shot and hit the ball right at the goalkeeper or right at the post or off a defender.
Sometimes that's a little bit of momentum and we are trying to stay on the same path of wanting to create those chances."
Midfielder Mami Yamaguchi nabbed the Seminoles' third goal. She was set up by Toby Rank.
While the first half gave the 825 fans in attendance something to cheer about, FSU was a bit sluggish in the game's final 45 minutes. After out-shooting the Bears 14-3 in the first half, the Bears won the shots-on-goal battle 9-2 in the second.
Califronia's Katie Ratican helped the bears avoid a shutout with a corner kick that made it past goalkeeper Ali Mims in the 49th minute.
"Whatever it was I said to them at halftime … I'll have to get rid of that halftime speech," Krikorian said. "It didn't work too well. I thought we came off slow and sluggish and we let Cal back into the game. Credit to Cal for the work and the pushing and getting themselves back into the game. Overall it's nice to move on to the round of 16."
FSU moves to Sweet 16 with 3-1 victory
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