Florida St, Virginia in NCAA women’s soccer final
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Florida State is hoping its third journey to the Women’s College Cup final will deliver a first championship title on Sunday.
The Seminoles (23-1-1) will have to upend ACC Conference foe Virginia (23-2-0), also in the hunt for a first NCAA title.
“Now it’s time to make sure all our focus is on Virginia and giving ourselves the best opportunity to be successful tomorrow,” said Florida State coach Mark Krikorian. “When we deserve to win, we’ll win.”
Florida State has played in seven College Cups. They’ve been in the final the past two years, losing 1-0 in overtime to UCLA last year.
The only two games the Cavaliers lost this season were identical 1-0 defeats to Florida State.
“Virginia is a very good team and I think the fact that we’ve been able to beat them twice to this point goes out the window at this stage,” Krikorian said.
Virginia is hoping its first appearance in the final will avenge those losses.
“I think the two games we played were very competitive,” said Cavaliers coach Steve Swanson. “Hopefully, it will fuel us that we didn’t win those last two games. I think that could help us in terms of our mentality.”
Swanson understands his team will have to bring its best to push aside a determined Florida State.
“A critical reason they’ve been successful is they haven’t conceded too many goals,” Swanson said. “They’re organized and have a lot of quality players. It’s a strong challenge for us.”
Florida State hasn’t given up a goal en route to the final. The Seminoles scored 16 goals in the last five games.
Krikorian doesn’t believe his team has to shut out Virginia to win.
“At the end of the day, if we give up a goal, that’s not going to kill us,” he said.
Virginia, which earned a 3-1 semifinal win over Texas A&M on Friday, has scored 23 goals in the championships. The Cavaliers allowed just two goals in the last five games.
Nine different schools have been College Cup champions since the competition started in 1982. North Carolina holds the most titles at 21, winning 13 of the first 15 years.
On Sunday, either Florida State or Virginia will increase the list of national champions to 10 schools.
“I think it’s great for the game that there’ll be a new champion,” Krikorian said. “I think it shows that the quality across the country continues to get better and the talent is better spread out.”