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
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
OTHER NOTRE DAME-FLORIDA STATE SERIES TIDBITS
LAST TIME OUT: CLEMSON
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
UP NEXT: ACC QUARTERFINALS
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-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director