FSU soccer looks to continue shutout streak at Virginia Tech
By Bret Clein
Neither of FSU’s first two opponents has been able to score on the Seminoles during their opening matches of the season. Another team won’t get a shot at breaking the shutout streak another week when they travel to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech on Oct. 1.
The Seminoles opened the season with a 5-0 win over Notre Dame, then wrapped up last weekend by blanking Louisville 1-0.
Last Sunday’s match has a different score but same result, as FSU (2-0) had another dominating performance at home against Louisville (1-1), possessing the ball for 69 percent of the game.
The Seminole defense remained dominant, holding Louisville to two shots the entire game after the Cardinals scored three goals in their opener against Miami four days earlier. The backline led by first team All-American and redshirt senior Malia Berkely and redshirt junior Emily Madril along with freshman goalkeeper Cristina Roque held preseason All-ACC member Emina Ekic in check as she did not even get off a shot after scoring two goals at Miami.
The Seminoles have outshot their opponents 44-4 in the first two games of the season, with only two of those four shots on goal.
Florida State stayed with the same lineup as it had in the opener last Thursday, when they recorded four goals off the bench led by leading goal scorer Yujie Zhao who had two goals. On Sunday, the Seminoles did not need the bench scoring as they got their lone goal from starter and sophomore LeiLanni Nesbeth. FSU got off eight shots in the first half with four of those on target but could not get one to fall.
There were five more shots to start off the second half before the 14th shot of the game finally hit the back of the net. Nesbeth recorded her first goal of the season and just the second of her career. Nesbeth headed a ball into the box that was then deflected by Louisville’s goalkeeper who came off her line. Nesbeth was able to get the rebound just left of the PK spot and knock it into the back of the net.
Nesbeth has started both games this season after only playing in 12 games a season ago with no starts.
“Her fitness, her discipline, her commitment to using her physicality is the difference,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “Last year she came in as a young player and a big star with her national team but had not played at the speed and intensity here. She has quickly learned to adjust her play and demands that are going on here. I thought she played well and I am happy for her to see her knock in the goal but I thought she played well all game.”