NCAA Women’s Soccer: No. 4 Florida State Upsets No. 1 Virginia In ACC Championship Game

The No. 4 ranked Florida State Seminoles will receive the ACC’s automatic bid in women’s soccer after beating the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers in the conference championship game in Cary, North Carolina.

Florida State (14-2-4) earned the ACC automatic bid with a 7-6 shootout victory after regulation ended in a 2-2 tie. The conference championship is Seminoles third straight and fourth overall, according to the Florida State Athletic website.

After surviving two scoring opportunities by Virginia star striker Makenzy Doniak in the early going, Florida State struck first when ACC Tournament MVP Natalia Kuikka banged home a goal from the top of the box in the 12th minute. The goal was Kuikka’s sixth goal of the season.

Virginia (16-1-2) got on the board in the 32nd minute, when a Cavs corner was banged around by both teams before Doniak, the ACC’s Offensive Player of the Year, was finally able to poke the ball into the net.

All-Tournament selection Kirsten Crowley scored during the 55th minute to give the Seminoles the lead once again. Doniak knotted the game in the 67th minute with her 60th goal of her career after getting the ball at the top of the box with assists from Megan Cox Veronica Latsko.

Neither team scored in either 10 minute overtime periods, so the match went to penalty kicks. All five kickers from both teams netted goals during the first round portion of the penalty kicks, meaning that the game would move onto sudden victory.

Virginia’s Betsy Brandon was first and knocked her shot past FSU goalie Cassie Miller. All-Tournament choice Cheyna Williams sent the game to another round by booting her attempt into the back of the net. That’s when Miller, who finished with four saves, came up with the biggest stop of the game as she denied Cox’s shot to her left. Berglind Thorvaldsdottir gave the Seminoles the victory by putting the ball over the goal line on her attempt.

“We Know Virginia is an excellent team and we saw that today,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “We came out here and battled hard. The goal was to compete and give ourselves a chance in the end, and I think we did that.”

He added, “Virginia is an excellent program. (Coach Swanson) and his staff do a great job with their kids and they are going to make a heck of a run in the NCAA Tournament. Who knows, maybe we’ll see these guys again.”

Kristen McNabb, Alexis Shaffer, and Emily Sonnett joined Doniak on the ACC All-Tournament team for the Cavs, per the University of Virginia Athletic website.

Florida State, which is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA RPI, and Virginia will find out their place in the bracket during the NCAA Selection Show on November 9, noted Newsplex.

There were four other conference championship games held on Sunday. reports that the Cincinnati Bearcats (14-5-4) will be in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002 after upsetting No. 25 ranked South Florida 4-2 in penalty kicks to claim the American Athletic Conference Tournament crown. The game ended 1-1 in regulation as Jaycie Brown netted the equalizer in the 88th minute.

Olivia Chance scored for USF in the 59th minute. The Bulls are 15-3-3 on the season, which ties the school record for the most victories in a season. South Florida has posted three straight 10-win campaigns and four in the last five seasons.

Penn State (16-3-2) claimed its first Big Ten crown since 2008, and sixth overall, with a 2-0 victory over Rutgers (16-3-2). Elizabeth Ball and Emily Ogle each had a goal for the Nittany Lions.

The ScarletKnights were making their first appearance in the Big Ten Championship game.

The Florida Gators earned the SEC’s automatic bid by defeating Texas A&M 2-1 in the conference tournament title game. The Aggies (15-6-1) had won the previous two conference tournament crowns.

All three goals came in the first half. Texas A&M got on the board first with a goal by Haley Pounds. Brooke Sharp and tournament MVP Christen Westphal scored for the Gators.

Florida (17-3-1) won its 11 SEC tournament crown, and this season marked the sixth time the Gators have won both the regular season and postseason crowns. Florida is headed to their 19th NCAA tournament appearance.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders picked up their first Big 12 conference tournament title with a 1-0 win over the Kansas Jayhawks.

[Image via Florida State Women Soccer Twitter]

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