The No. 1 Florida State soccer team (15-2-3) defeated eighth seeded LSU 4-1 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the 20th time in program history. The win also marked head coach Brian Pensky’s 200th career win.
The Seminoles improved to 20-2 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and to 74-18-5 all-time in the tournament.
For just the third time all season the Seminole opponent scored first. LSU (10-4-7) scored in the 10th minute on a goal from Wasila Diwura-Soale. The goal came off a cross from the right side by Angelina Thoreson.
The Seminoles tied it up in the 21st minute after Jenna Nighswonger scored her sixth goal of the season off her left foot. LeiLanni Nesbeth passed the ball into the box to Beata Olsson who one touched the ball out to Nighswonger at the top left of the box. She fired it right over the head of the LSU keeper extending her team lead in points to 27.
“They’re a good team,” Pensky said. “But I thought our response was fantastic. Obviously to get one back before half is always a big deal for our team morale and confidence. And also it impacted their morale and confidence.”
Florida State took its first lead of the match in the 52nd minute on a goal by Ran Iwai, her first of the season. Onyi Echegini bombed one down the field to a streaking Jody Brown who got off a shot the rebounded into the field of play. Iwai hustled down the entire length of the field finding the back of the net to give FSU a 2-1 lead.
The lead expanded after Echegini scored her team-leading 10th goal of the season. Nighswonger swung a ball into the box off a corner kick and Echegini went aerial heading the ball in. It was Nighswonger’s 16th assist of the season.
The net continued to be the Seminoles’ best friend as they found it for the fourth time in the 79th minute. Amelia Horton scored her first goal of the season and became the Seminoles 16th goal scorer of the year, tying for the second most in a season at FSU.
Florida State will take on Pitt on Sunday at 5 pm in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.