TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Enduring two separate lightning delays and a match that spanned nearly four hours of total time, No. 1 Florida State (3-0-0) posted a 3-0 shutout of Southeastern Louisiana (2-1-0) on August 28 at the Seminole Soccer Complex. There were 2,194 on hand to witness Friday’s season-opener, marking the fifth-highest home crowd in FSU history.
“It is a challenge to make sure they stay focused, especially when you don’t know exactly how long the delays are going to be,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “I think we answered some questions tonight, but certainly this is so early in the season that there are still an awful lot of questions and we’ll keep looking and evaluating and try to get better every day.”
The Seminoles scored faster than lightning in the first half, as freshman Kaycie Tillman gave the Noles a 1-0 lead with a strike from 10 yards out at 1:53 in the first half. Kirsten Crowley got the scoring play started by lifting a ball behind the SLU back line to Carson Pickett who served a great cross in to the box for Tillman.
Shortly after the Seminole goal, the match went under a lightning warning in the seventh minute as weather conditions quickly deteriorated and rain fell for nearly 45 minutes. The first lightning delay lasted for a total of 56 minutes.
The Noles and Lions returned to play another 13 minutes of soccer before inclement weather entered the area again, stopping play in the 20th minute for a total of 34 minutes as team retreated to the locker room to wait out the lightning.
Florida State came out firing after the second weather delay, tallying 10 of its 15 first-half shots in the final 25 minutes of action.
Natalia Kuikka pushed the Florida State lead to 2-0 in the 39th minute after taking possession of a loose ball near the top of the Southeastern box. The freshman turned and fired a shot that sailed by the SLU keeper and into the back of the net.
In the second half, Florida State continued to pressure the Southeastern defense as the Noles earned six corner kicks in the final 45 minutes. In the 56th minute, Megan Connolly’s corner was served through the box and found the head of junior Kirsten Crowley, who redirected it into the goal for FSU’s third score of the game. It was Crowley’s second multi-point game of her career, as the redshirt junior finished with three points on a goal and an assist.
Crowley posted a team-high five shots, as 13 different Seminoles recorded a shot on Friday night. FSU tallied 28 shots in the win. It is the 13th victory in a row for Florida State and the 24th game in a row for the Noles without a loss.
Through all of the delays, many fans stayed until the very end of the match, which came nearly four hours after the first kick.
“How can you beat these fans?” asked Krikorian, with a smile. “To walk out and see everyone supporting this team, it is fantastic. Brandon Lane and the marketing department did a great job of getting the word out and getting people here and we sure appreciate all the local support.”
On Sunday, the Seminoles will travel to Gainesville for the annual battle with No. 14/7 Florida (2-1-0) on August 30 at 1 p.m. Admission is free to James G. Pressly Stadium and the match will be broadcast live on the SEC Network.
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