Oct. 30, 2013
#19/10 NOTRE DAME "Fighting Irish" (11-5-1/7-4-1 ACC) vs. #3/3 FLORIDA STATE "Seminoles" (14-1-3/9-1-2 ACC)
DATE: Oct. 31, 2013
TIME: 8 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Tallahassee, Fla. (Seminole Soccer Complex - cap. 2,000)
SERIES: ND leads 3-2 (series tied 1-1 at FSU)
FIRST MEETING: ND 2-1 (12/1/06 at Cary, N.C.)
LAST MEETING: FSU 1-0 (11/23/12 at FSU)
BROADCAST: ACC-Regional Sports Networks/ESPN3 (live) (Mike Hogewood, p-b-p / Jenn Hildreth, color)
LIVE STATS: UND.com
TEXT ALERTS: Sign up at UND.com
TICKETS: (850) 644-1830 or seminoles.com/tickets
On a night when many children will be prowling the neighborhood looking for candy and other Halloween goodies, No. 19/10 Notre Dame and No. 3 Florida State will give soccer fans a treat of a different sort when they square off at 8 p.m. (ET) Thursday in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular-season finale for both teams at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, Fla. The match will be televised live on the ACC-Regional Sports Networks, while ESPN3 will carry the broadcast (blackout rules may apply).
It seems appropriate that the Fighting Irish and Seminoles will meet on Halloween night, as the two programs have delivered so many thrillers in their short series that you'd think the highlight reel was narrated by horror film legend Vincent Price.
In fact, it was another Price -- FSU's Jessica Price -- that played a role in last year's matchup in Tallahassee, as the now-departed Seminole senior's long throw-in eventually led to Tiffany McCarty's 53rd-minute goal, the only score in a 1-0 Florida State win in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals. However, the score belied what was a fairly even contest, one that saw Notre Dame on the front foot for much of the second half, particularly after the FSU goal, but the Fighting Irish weren't able to crack the Seminoles' defense for the equalizer, coming up just shy of a trip to the NCAA Women's College Cup.
The postseason duel was no surprise, as all five of the series matchups to date have come in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals or College Cup semifinals, with Notre Dame holding a slim 3-2 edge in the series. What's more, three of the five matches have been decided by a single goal, and until last year's encounter, the Fighting Irish had scored two goals in every match against Florida State.
Thursday's contest will be the first to come during the regular season, but it should hold similar intrigue, as both sides have much to play for. Notre Dame (11-5-1, 7-4-1 ACC) is aiming to close the regular season on a three-match winning streak, not to mention add another marquee victory to its NCAA tournament resume. Meanwhile, FSU (14-1-3, 9-1-2) looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season, a 1-0 overtime setback at top-ranked Virginia on Sunday, in addition to locking up the No. 2 seed for the ACC Championship that gets underway this weekend.
Head coach Randy Waldrum knows his team faces a tough challenge on Thursday in Tallahassee, but it's only the latest in a long line of high-profile opponents Notre Dame has played this season, with FSU being the eighth ranked foe the Fighting Irish have seen in 18 matches to date.
"Florida State is an outstanding team, particularly on their home field," Waldrum said. "They have a lot of talented players at a number of different positions and really put the pressure on you all over the field. Their defense has been very strong this season and will challenge us to be creative in the final third. At the other end, they have excellent midfield and attacking play, and link up very well, so we have to remain disciplined and focused in our approach. The last two games have been good building blocks for us, but we need to improve on that even more if we want to have success on Thursday night."
THE NOTRE DAME-FLORIDA STATE SERIES
Notre Dame holds a slim 3-2 edge in the all-time series against Florida State, with Thursday's meeting being the first between the teams in ACC play (the previous five all took place in the quarterfinal round or later of the NCAA Championship). The series is tied at one win apiece in matches contested at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
OTHER NOTRE DAME-FLORIDA STATE SERIES TIDBITS
Last year's 1-0 loss at Florida State in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals was the first time in five series meetings Notre Dame had failed to score against the Seminoles ... that match also marked Notre Dame's third consecutive 1-0 elimination loss in the NCAA Championship. The Fighting Irish fell to North Carolina in the 2009 College Cup semifinals (at College Station, Texas), and at Illinois in the 2011 first round, with the program winning its third national championship in 2010 ... Florida State senior defender Kassey Kallman was a teammate of Notre Dame's Mandy Laddish and Cari Roccaro on the victorious United States squad at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan. Kallman and senior goalkeeper Kelsey Wys have also made appearances for Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum on the U.S. U-23 Women's National Team this season, while freshmen Yulie Lopez and Cassie Miller are part of the current women's U-20 selection pool along with Roccaro, Morgan Andrews, Kaela Little, Katie Naughton and Crystal Thomas from Notre Dame ... a total of 10 Fighting Irish players on the team's all-time roster have called the state of Florida home, including current senior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker and junior goalkeeper Sarah Voigt.
LAST TIME OUT: CLEMSON
Freshman forward Kaleigh Olmsted and sophomore forward Crystal Thomas scored goals early in each half to help No. 20/12 Notre Dame secure a berth in the upcoming ACC Championship with a 2-0 win over Clemson Sunday afternoon at Historic Riggs Field in Clemson, S.C.
Olmsted headed in a right-side cross from senior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish at the 7:12 mark of the first half, staking the Fighting Irish to a lead they would never relinquish. Thomas then added the critical insurance goal at 58:01, scoring from close range off an assist from junior forward Lauren Bohaboy.
Freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little made four saves to register her fifth solo shutout of the season (and the seventh for Notre Dame), and the first clean sheet for her side since Sept. 29, when the Fighting Irish blanked Pittsburgh, 3-0 at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame wound up with a narrow 13-12 edge in total shots, as well as a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal and 5-3 margin on corner kicks. Clemson was whistled for 11 of the 18 fouls during the match, while the Fighting Irish received the lone yellow card of the afternoon.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: CLEMSON
Notre Dame improved its all-time record to 90-26-2 (.771) in first meetings with opponents after the 2-0 win at Clemson. The Fighting Irish are also 20-13-1 (.603) in inaugural matches that have taken place away from home ... Olmsted's header in the eighth minute was her first career match-winning goal.
UP NEXT: ACC QUARTERFINALS
Notre Dame will await its draw for the quarterfinal round of the ACC Championship, to be played at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday. The fifth-seeded Fighting Irish could remain at Florida State or (more likely) travel to either Virginia Tech or North Carolina based on Thursday's results, as those teams are separated by only two points in the ACC regular season standings.
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-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director