In one of the most prominent regular season contests in a long time for UNC-Greensboro, the Women’s Soccer team took on the nationally ranked Florida State Seminoles last Thursday. Coming into this match, the Seminoles soccer team had gone 6-1, with an average of about three goals per match. The team had only one match this season where they did not score multiple goals.
The team came into the match as the defending national champions and were behind only one team, the Virginia Cavaliers, for the top ranking team in the nation. On the Spartans side, the team has gone 2-5-1 for the season. Against nationally ranked teams this season, the Virginia Tech Hokies and Kentucky Wildcats, the Blue and Gold were shutout 3-0 by the Wildcats and 2-0 by the Hokies.
Thursday night’s match against Florida State was the second home match of a two week home stand for the Spartans. Their first match last Sunday against Elon University ended in a 1-1 tie. And as the match began, both teams look liked they were nationally ranked.
Despite the numbers of the first half telling one story, the actual play between the two teams was a different tale. The Seminoles aggressive and up-tempo offense never seemed to be too much for the Blue and Gold. And every time an attack failed for the Seminoles, the Spartans would put on their own offensive run.
Despite Florida State’s athleticism, the UNCG defense was always bend not break. Even when the Seminoles scored, it was on a tough 30-ft shot to the top corner, a shot which was more skill rather than a fault of UNCG. Up to this point in the match, despite the 1-0 score, the game still did not have a clear favorite. Both teams were evenly matched.
However, the game took a monumental shift when in the last minute of the first half, Florida State scored again.
The second half then followed a storyline which most fans would had guessed heading into the match, as it began to show why Florida State is the second ranked team in the nation and why the Spartans have only two wins in the season.
In 45 minutes of play, the Seminoles held a +9 advantage in goals (10-1) while at the same time holding the Spartans to zero corner kick attempts and zero attempts on goal for the Spartans. Redshirt Sophomore Chloe Buehler, who was named the SoCon (Southern Conference) Player of the Week last week, saved four goals for the entire game, equaling the number of goals scored by Florida State in the second half.
Following the 6-0 loss, Coach Michael Coll talked about the game as a whole.
“I think we did a good job in executing the game plan for the first 42 minutes and then it was not dealt with very well after.”
It was on that 42nd minute that the second goal for Florida State was scored, completely shifting the momentum of the match and putting the Spartans in a big hole to deal with in the second half.
“It had a big effect on us because it was completely avoidable and I do not believe the 2-0 score at the half was a fair reflection on how well we have played during the first 42 minutes,” Coll said.
The team began to look sluggish, which Florida State took advantage of; this is certainly an issue that has plagued the Spartans before.
“Fitness is our biggest concern. It has been all season and it will continue to be our biggest concern,” Coll said. “It was the biggest changing aspect between the first half and the second half.”
Despite the long home stretch the team has, the coach seemed less than excited about the five straight home matches they have.
“Well, I am not sure about how important these home matches are because we have not done well at home. We have not won a game at home,” he said.
“It should be more important, but it is just more opportunity to keep pushing ourselves and getting better game by game before getting the Conference. The site of the game does not really matter.”
With the next game for the Spartans on Friday night against the Catamounts of Western Carolina, there is much room for improvement for the team.
“We got to get tougher,” Coll said. “We [are] just a little bit too easily pushed off the ball. We give up too many silly fouls and make mistakes, but overall toughness needs to improve.”