Clinging to their one-point advantage, FSU was able to successfully defend an Illini team that played much stronger in the second half than in the first – particularly in the game's final 15 minutes.
"What a hard fought win today," FSU Coach Mark Krikorian said. "I don't think it was as artistic today as maybe some of the other games have been, but when you get to this point in the year it's all about winning."
The Seminoles (17-3-4) now face the Clemson Tigers Friday looking to advance to the College Cup for the second time in as many seasons. The teams battled to a 0-0 tie earlier this season.
The late push by the Illini (16-8-0) was highlighted by a couple near-goals against the Seminoles in the second half. Sophomore Emily Zurrer almost put a header into the net in the game's 48th minute and senior Jessica Bayne's wide open shot sailed over the goal in the 77th.
But no situation was more gripping than when FSU senior goalie Ali Mims came out of the box to contest a loose ball that had gotten past the Seminole defenders. The Ponta Verde Beach native was able to successfully snare the ball before an Illinois player could convert the game-tying goal.
"She's been quite good coming out and saving us from those kind of situations," Krikorian said. "Of course it's a dangerous, risky situation but I thought she came out and handled it well."
The Seminoles lone goal of the game occurred in the 19th minute when Katrin Schmidt's perfect pass found defender Kelly Rowland, who was streaking to the goal.
The pass was placed right over the defender and in perfect position for Rowland to head it in to the goal in one fluid motion.
"Katrin served a great ball and I was just able to get on the end of it," Rowland said. "It felt good."
For the game, FSU outshot Illinois 9-6. Seven of their shots on goal came in the first half compared to just one by the Illini in that period.
Florida State played in front of 1,206 fans, the largest gathering of spectators for post-season play in the history of the Seminole Soccer Complex.
FSU soccer team advances to Quarterfinals
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