The University of Miami women’s soccer team had never knocked off the No. 1 team in the nation until Thursday night, when it got a late score from sophomore Ashley Flinn, who now owns two of the most dramatic and important goals in program history.
In the 89th minute, junior Tara Schwitter slipped a pass ahead to a charging Flinn, who scored to give the host Hurricanes a 1-0 win over top-ranked Florida State.
It was Flinn’s biggest goal since she scored in overtime to beat Alabama last year in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. That still stands as the Canes’ only win ever in an NCAA tourney.
Had the Canes (9-6-2, 4-4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost or tied in Thursday’s regular-season finale, they would not have made the eight-team ACC tournament. Now they play an ACC quarterfinal match Sunday.
The Canes honored their five seniors Thursday, but it was the younger players who did the most damage. Miami outshot FSU 9-4 and outplayed the Seminoles (16-2, 8-2) in the wet and windy conditions.
FSU goalie Kelsey Wys, who had allowed only six goals all season entering Thursday, stopped Schwitter on two excellent first-half opportunities to keep the game scoreless at the break.
But in the game’s decisive sequence, the Canes won the ball in the middle of the field and got it to Schwitter.
“As soon as I picked my head up, I saw Ashley making a diagonal run,” Schwitter said. “Ashley is one of the fastest players we have. I knew I could give it to her in space.”
Wys got her right hand on Flinn’s shot, but she didn’t get enough of it to prevent the goal.
“It was rolling really slowly, and I was just hoping it would go in,” Flinn said. “When it finally did, it was a great feeling.”
Miami’s defense was excellent, especially against an FSU offense that had not been shut out all season. Even in its loss to Boston College, FSU scored twice.
Backup Paula Forera Cabrera, a freshman, played the first 10 minutes in goal and combined with Emily Lillard on the shutout.
UM coach Tom Anagnost said he did not start Lillard because she was late to a meeting.
Lillard, who had the Canes’ only save on the day, has now gone 398 minutes without allowing a goal. During that streak, she has shutouts over No. 1 FSU, No. 7 Maryland, No. 24 Boston College and No. 19 Virginia Tech, as the Canes went 2-0-2 in that span.
Before beating FSU, Miami’s biggest win over a ranked opponent came in 2009, when the Canes upset No. 2 North Carolina. The Tar Heels went on to win the national title that year.
• Preseason — Barry men 80, Chile 70: In their only exhibition of the season, the Buccaneers beat Chile’s national team at Health & Sports Center. Barry made 11 of 31 three-point attempts and outrebounded the bigger Chilean team 46-38.
Bryan Van Cott scored 17 points and had eight rebounds as five Barry players reached double figures. Chad Renfro had 13 points and five rebounds, Vladimir Raymonvil had 10 points and five assists, Justin McCoy scored 12 points and Filip Toric added 11 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
• Preseason — FIU women 80, Quebec 57: The Panthers won their first exhibition game of the season, beating University of Quebec at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
Junior Marita Davydova led FIU with a game-high 22 points, also adding eight rebounds. Junior Jerica Coley scored 14 points and posted team-high totals of nine rebounds and four blocks.
The University of Miami recorded a department-wide school-record Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 93 percent, according to the rates released Thursday by the NCAA. UM ranks fourth among ACC schools and eighth among FBS schools.