Flinn Guides Soccer Past No. 1 FSU
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- She did it again.
Almost a year after advancing the Hurricanes into the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a game-winning overtime goal, sophomore forward Ashley Flinn connected in the 89th minute to send Miami past No. 1 Florida State and into the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.
Her confident finish in the game's final stages, which came on a perfect through ball played by Tara Schwitter, clinched the Hurricanes' first Championship berth since 2008. Miami (9-6-3, 4-4-2 ACC), which could only advance to the eight-team tournament with a win over the first-ranked Seminoles (15-2-0, 8-2-0 ACC), used Flinn's third goal of the year to earn their first win over Florida State since joining the ACC in 2004.
"The kids were fabulous," head coach Tom Anagnost said. "They executed it exactly as they're supposed to. The effort was extraordinary. I'm as proud as I have been since I've been here."
A brilliant 90-minute effort from Schwitter was rewarded with a little more than a minute left in regulation. The Oradell, N.J. native was particularly dangerous in the first half, but Seminoles' keeper Kelsey Wys was up to the challenge in the opening 45 minutes.
A 27th-minute through ball to senior forward Kate Howarth was denied at close range, while a free kick three minutes later just outside the 18-yard box was saved on a tremendous effort from Wys.
"When she works hard, Tara is one of the best players on our team every time," Anagnost said. "Today, she worked her butt off. She caused all sorts of trouble with and without the ball."
The Hurricanes nearly went down a goal n the 14th minute, but junior defender Blake Stockton's heads-up play prevented any early damage. Seminoles' forward Jamia Fields' looping shot made its way over the head of sophomore keeper Emily Lillard (7-6-3), but Stockton was placed perfectly on the line to clear the ball away from danger.
Miami's offense would continue to take control in the final stages of the first half. Flinn's beautiful through ball to Schwitter was saved once again by Wys in the 34th minute, while a header from Jordan Roseboro glanced off the crossbar before sailing over the net.
"We just kept at it, kept at it, kept at it," Anagnost said. "That's strong character from these kids. I'm just so proud."
Neither side was able to generate much offense in the second half, as both teams struggled to develop consistency on the soggy pitch. But Schwitter's opportunistic ball in the game's final minute was converted clearly by Flinn to send Miami into celebration.
It was the first time all season Florida State was held without a goal. The win snapped a 12-game winning streak for Florida State in the head-to-head series; Miami had not beaten the Seminoles since a 1999 regular season match-up.
The seventh-seeded Hurricanes will travel to second-seeded Maryland for their ACC Championship quarterfinal match-up Sunday. Miami defeated then-No. 7 Maryland 1-0 in overtime in their regular season match-up on Oct. 18.
All of Sunday's quarterfinal matches will kick-off at 1 p.m. The winners advance to WakeMed Soccer Park at Cary, N.C., for semifinals on Friday, Nov. 2 at 5 and 7:30 p.m. The Championship will take place on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. The semifinal and championship matches will be shown nationally via ESPN platforms, with the semifinals set for ESPN3 and the title game for ESPNU.