The junior midfielder scored the lone goal off a set piece in the 87th minute.
By Christa Salerno, FSU SID Assistant
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Junior midfielder Marta Bakowska-Mathews lifted No. 3 Florida State (8-0-2, 3-0-1 ACC) to a 1-0 victory over NC State (6-4-2, 1-3-0 ACC) scoring off a free kick in the 87th minute on Sunday afternoon inside the Seminole Soccer Complex. The goal was the first of the season for the English native.
“I thought it was a nice finish by Marta,” head coach Mark Krikorian said. “She trains it all the time. She’s capable of taking the ball and spinning it into the corner and this time it was fortunate that she was able to bend it right in.”
The chance was created after Nickolette Driesse looked to dribble past an NC State defender when she drew the foul just outside the 18-yard box. Bakowska-Mathews broke the stalemate on the free kick, bending the shot into the upper left corner for her first career game-winning goal.
“I’ve practiced free kicks for hours,” Bakowska-Mathews said. “It was so close to the goal and I knew I could make it. It felt really good (about it). I am really happy with my free kick and the practice really paid off.”
With the win, the Seminoles extended their home unbeaten streak to 25 (24-0-1) which sets a new school record. The old mark of 24 (22-0-02) was set over the course of three seasons from 2005-2007. It also marked the 13th consecutive win over the Wolfpack.
FSU possessed the ball for a majority of the game, tallying 29 shots on the match as Driesse led the team with 10 blasts, three of which were on goal and two more off the post and crossbar. The freshman midfielder tied a school record for shots in a game, becoming the fourth Seminole to perform the feat and first since Mami Yamaguchi registered 10 shots against Jacksonville on October 24, 2007.
“I think 29 shots is a little misleading,” Krikorian said. “We took some shots that I thought were naïve. As I said before, we’re a young team and our young kids are going to make different tactical mistakes through the course of time.”
The chances were limited for the Wolfpack, however senior goalkeeper Kelsey Wys came up with a clutch save in the 60th minute as Kaley Shlaes dribbled into the box looking to sneak one past Wys but she was there for the save. The ball deflected out to Jackie Stengel, who pushed her shot wide.
Stengel had another opportunity late in the game with a header that was hauled in safely by Wys. The Coral Springs, Fla. native finished the day with two saves.
“I thought their coach had them very well organized,” Krikorian added. “They put together a game plan that was exceptional and they executed it. It was frustrating at times, but my hope is that if we continue to get enough quality chances, we’re going to score some goals. Our defending again was solid and Kelsey was there when we needed her.”
In the 71st minute Jamia Fields looked to have an opportunity to score by taking a pass just outside the six yard box; however her shot went wide of the left post.
Driesse opened the second half with a low lining shot from the right side, but NC State’s Mackenzie Stelljes made a diving save. The Wolfpack keeper was credited with eight saves on the day.
“I think we did a really good job in the final third being patient,” Driesse said. “I think we were just really unlucky with finishing our shots. I felt really unlucky, but everyone told me to keep going and that it’s going to come. So, I wasn’t going to stop.”
In the first half, the Seminoles amassed 13 shots in the first half, five coming from the foot of Driesse.
After missing a long shot high, the Wayne, N.J. native came right back and ripped a blast from 30-yards out off the cross bar. Anna McClung ran in on the rebound but could not find the back of the net as she one-timed a shot high and out of play in the 30th minute.
Driesse had another look in the 43rd minute from the right side of the 18-yard box that curled around the Wolfpack keeper and off the left post.
“Nikki is maturing quickly,” Krikorian added. “I think she’s brought elements to the game and certainly her possession play is very good. She had the ability to join the attack today and her willingness to go to the ground, tackle and compete for air balls is very promising. I think she is a great young player.”
The Seminoles closed out the week with a perfect 2-0-0 record and now sits atop the ACC standings with 10 points (3-0-1)
Florida State closes out its three-game home stand on Thursday, September 26 when the Seminoles host Miami at 1:00 p.m.
Live stats for the match will be available via gametacker. As always, Seminole fans can follow the Noles on twitter @FSU_Soccer and remember to like the Seminoles on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FSUSoccer) and Instagram (NoleSoccer).