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Seminoles kick Cavs out of ACC tournament

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - After two halves of regulation play and four sudden death overtime periods, the Virginia women's soccer team remained tied with Florida State in the semifinals of the ACC tournament on Friday night, 0-0. But the Seminoles advanced to the championship game when they beat the Cavaliers, 3-2, in a round of penalty kicks.

After the Cavaliers outshot the Seminoles, 36-3, without putting one into the back of the net over the course of the 150 minute match, it came down to the last of five penalty kicks for No. 19 Florida State (14-6-1)finally to top No. 14 Virginia (14-3-2). After ACC player of the year Lori Lindsey's kick was blocked by Florida State goalkeeper Ali Mims, Seminoles defender Ashlee Fontes put her shot past Virginia goalie Jodi Clugston for the Seminoles' right to play No. 1 North Carolina in their first ever appearance in the ACC finals.

"I thought we played very well, even in the overtimes," Virginia coach Steve Swanson said. "I think sometimes soccer is not a very forgiving game. You look at the shots and the way we played tonight and I guess you'll feel bad for our team a little bit, but you've got to give credit to Florida State. I think they fought really well. I thought their goalies played well and their team defended very well. They got the job done in the penalty kicks."

But the frustrating part for the Cavaliers was just that: Florida State waited until the penalty kicks to pour on any offensively competitive juice. For much of the game - especially during the overtime periods - the Seminoles kept nine or 10 out of their 11 players on defense, seemingly playing not to win, but to keep Virginia from winning. Their defensive strategy served as bumpers for any of the Cavaliers' shots and stumbling blocks for any fancy footwork.

Meanwhile, Virginia's aggression never stopped. Swanson substituted often during the longest scoreless match in ACC women's soccer championship history to keep the Cavaliers fresh with new energy, but in the end it just wasn't enough. An overwhelming Florida State defense and stellar goalkeeping from two Seminoles' keepers, who totaled 18 saves, kept Virginia from getting the ball in the net.

"I don't know if we're the better team," Florida State coach Patrick Baker said. "If you look at the shots and the time of possession it's extremely lopsided. But I do give our team a lot of credit defending - not playing particularly well - but to play that long and not give up a goal against a very talented Virginia team. I think that says something about us. At this time, I don't know yet what that is, but it does say something."

It was the second year in a row that Virginia had been knocked out of the ACC tournament on penalty kicks. In 2000, the Cavaliers dropped a first-round match against Duke to fall out of the conference tournament. The Cavaliers faced the Blue Devils again in this year's tournament, but beat them, 2-1, in overtime on Thursday night to advance to the second round.

Yesterday, No. 1 North Carolina claimed it's 14th ACC title and an automatic bid to the NCAAs by defeating Florida State, 4-0. The Tar Heels were led by sophomore forward and ACC tournament MVP Alyssa Ramsey, who had one goal and two assists. Ramsey also scored two goals on Friday night in North Carolina's 3-0 win over Wake Forest in the second round.


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