BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Florida State coach Mark Krikorian commented all weekend long at the Women’s College Cup that his team would win a national championship when it was ready.
The Seminoles (24-1-1) did just that, picking up its first soccer title ever with a 1-0 win over Virginia (23-3-0) on Sunday.
Florida State had reached the final three times, including last year when it lost to UCLA 1-0 in overtime. This was Virginia’s first trip to the final.
“I think this is the most complete team that we’ve had,” said Krikorian, the head coach since 2005. “I think we have so many different attacking options and defending options than ever before. I think our group was as prepared, or better prepared, than we’ve ever been for this moment.”
Florida State is the third school in NCAA history to win a national title without conceding a goal throughout the tournament.
Seminole goal keeper Cassie Miller, 24-1-1 for the season, had little work to do. She never faced a shot on goal from Virginia.
“There weren’t many shots,” Miller said. “Our defense is great and they’re the ones who make me look good.
“That’s what makes my job easy.”
The Seminoles increased their winning margin over fellow ACC foe, Virginia, to 3-0 this season. They were the only three losses the Cavaliers suffered this year. In all three meetings, the Seminoles blanked Virginia 1-0.
“It was a tough game for us,” Virginia coach Steve Swanson said. “There was not much separating us. We played them three times and they were all one-goal games.
“You have to give them credit because we couldn’t get a goal against them. We put ourselves in position to win today, but we just didn’t have enough at the end.”
Virginia’s been shut out five times in its last 87 games — all at the hands of Florida State.
All-time, Virginia leads Florida State 18-6-4 in meetings, but the Seminoles have won both times the teams met in the NCAA tournament.
Jamia Fields scored the winning goal at 82:50 in the match. All four of her goals this season came in the postseason, which has led Krikorian to give her a seasonal nickname.
“We knew coming into the game it would be a one-goal game,” Krikorian said. “Fortunately for us, we had Ms. November-Ms. December with us.”
Fields, a right flank midfielder, scored the winning goal with her left foot from the outside top of the box into the inside of the right post.
“I’m in that position a lot that the ball is by my left foot when I cut inside,” Fields said. “I just took a chance at making the shot. I think at this level in college, you should be comfortable taking a goal with both feet.”
Shayna Williams was credited with an assist, her sixth of the season.
The first shot on goal in the match came just a minute before Fields’ goal on a penalty kick by the Seminoles’ Megan Campbell that Morgan Stearns saved.
The final was a physical and action-packed battle primarily fought in the midfield. In total, Florida State narrowly outshot Virginia, 8-7.
Florida State joins an elite group of 10 schools to win the coveted national championship title: Florida, George Mason, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Portland, Santa Clara, Stanford UCLA, and USC.