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Florida State knocks Tech out of NCAA tourney

Posted: November 17, 2012 - 1:28am  |  Updated: November 17, 2012 - 1:37am
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Texas Tech midfielder Hannah Devine and FSU defender Casey Short  Jim Lamar/Tallahassee Democrat
Jim Lamar/Tallahassee Democrat
Texas Tech midfielder Hannah Devine and FSU defender Casey Short

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — She’s an All-American for a reason. And Florida State forward Tiffany McCarty reminded the Texas Tech women’s soccer team of that Friday night.

McCarty’s goal in second overtime lifted the top-seeded FSU to a 3-2 victory over Texas Tech and sent the Seminoles to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.

FSU (18-3) plays host to Texas A&M (19-4-1) on Sunday at 2 p.m. for the right to advance to the Elite Eight. Texas Tech (16-6-1) heads back home with an appreciation of playing two games in the NCAA Tournament.

“This season meant a lot for us, especially since it was our first time in the NCAA Tournament,” Texas Tech defender Jaelene Hinkle said. “We played all season for our seniors in particular and this was the year we finally got into the tournament.”

Texas Tech freshman Janine Beckle nearly pushed her team into a third game in this tournament by scoring two goals, including one with three minutes left in regulation that tied the game at 2-2.

The second goal was her 14th of the season and came against a defense that has recorded 15 shutouts this season.

“Our mentality was to never give up,” Beckle said. “It was a hard-fought battle and what a great goal (McCarty) scored. We gave it our all and we’re looking forward to next season already, but what a great game.”

McCarty’s 14th goal of the season and the 69th of her career came with 6:09 left in the second overtime and prevented a penalty-kick shootout to decide the game.

It ended a scary night for the top-seeded Seminoles, who struggled to cash in as many as a dozen promising scoring opportunities in the game’s final 25 minutes.

“I’m a senior, so it flashes before your eyes,” McCarty said. “I kind of took a deep breath and I’m glad we’re on to the next round.”

McCarty had already produced some All-American magic when she broke a 1-1 tie 20 minutes into the second half. That goal seemed to open up the field for the Seminoles, who were forced to take a patient approach to attacking the Texas Tech defense.

The Red Raiders (16-6-1) had 10 defenders compacted in the back half of the field and forced the Seminoles’ offense to slow down and show patience.

FSU coach Mark Krikorian said that defensive strategy tested his team.

“That was the message we kept giving them at halftime and going into the overtime,” Krikorian said. “Patience, patience and it will come. Be deliberate in the way we play and we didn’t show our emotion a whole lot. We wanted to use our skill and craft and at the end of the day it worked out well for us.”

Texas Tech countered FSU’s possession-style attack with an flurry of over-the-top passes that stretched the Seminoles vertically.

And both teams seemed hard-pressed to find the game-winning goal in overtime before a penalty-kick shootout could decide the outcome.

“Overtime, it’s one of those things where you want to be smart and conservative,” Texas Tech coach Tom Stone said. “You don’t want to give up the goal, but at the same time you want to win the game. So players were making decisions with two mindsets.

“Nobody was holding off for penalty kicks. Both teams were trying to win and I think fans and players appreciate that.”

The Red Raiders return to Lubbock after winning a program-best 16 games and winning a first-ever match in the NCAA Tournament. That, Stone said, will not soon be forgotten.

“I could not be more proud of our effort all year,” Stone said.

“I thought that was one of the top two or three teams in the country, and we went toe-to-toe and were six minutes away from penalties,” he added.

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CONGRATULATIONS LADIES!

This was a fantastic year, and everyone in Raiderland is extremely proud of this program and you. All season you have played your hearts out, trained hard, and represented this university extremely well. To have played so well against a top ten team illustrates how far this program has come, how solid it is, and how many great things we can expect in the future. THANK YOU for your many hours of hard work, sweat, and dedication.

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Great job, ladies!

Hats off to all the coaches and players on the soccer team and Congrats on a fine season!

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