Castellanos is one of 18 Seminoles making their first College Cup appearance this weekend.
Curt Weiler, Tallahassee Democrat
CARY, N.C. — Florida State’s attacking players have picked up a lot of well-earned praise.
Against the third-ranked attack in the nation on Friday here at WakeMed Soccer Park, the Seminoles showed why their defenders are worthy of just as much recognition.
No. 5 Florida State’s back line rose to the occasion on offense and defense, providing two goals and holding the vaunted attack of the top-ranked Stanford Cardinal to just a single shot on target in a 2-0 victory.
First-half goals from right back Gabby Carle and centerback Malia Berkely provided the difference for the Seminoles as they punched their ticket to Sunday’s NCAA title game.
FSU (19-4-3) will face North Carolina (21-3-2) in the all-ACC College Cup finale at 1 p.m.
The Tar Heels beat Georgetown 1-0 in overtime in Friday’s first semifinal.
Julia Ashley notched the game-winner in the 108th minute, with just over two minutes remaining in the second of two 10-minute overtime periods.
FSU went 1-1 against UNC this season.
The Tar Heels won 1-0 in Tallahassee on Sept. 14, while the Seminoles won 3-2 in the ACC championship game at here at Sahlen’s Stadium on Nov. 4.
The Tar Heels are looking for their 22nd College Cup titles – more than any other school – while the Seminoles won their first and only title in 2014 with a 1-0 win over ACC member Virginia.
Sunday’s finale will be televised by ESPNU.
Defending national champion Stanford (21-1-2) entered Friday’s game averaging 2.65 goals per game and riding a 45-match unbeaten streak. Plus, the Cardinal had shut out four consecutive opponents in the NCAA tournament.
The Seminoles surrendered less than a goal per game prior to Friday’s semifinal match.
FSU opened the scoring thanks to a moment of individual magic from Carle.
The Seminoles had been playing through their left attacking side and midfielder Gloriana Villalobos, but Carle took matters into her own hands in the 29th minute.
The Canadian sophomore got by three defenders and fired a left-footed shot into the bottom corner past Cardinal goalkeeper Alison Jahansouz to put the Seminoles up 1-0.
It was Carle’s first goal of the season and the second of her career as a Seminole.
FSU’s second goal also came thanks to a player on the back line.
Berkely ripped a shot from long range right at Jahansouz.
The ball deflected off Jahansouz’s hands and into the goal, doubling FSU’s advantage in the 42nd minute. The goal was the first of the season for Berkely, too.
Stanford’s only shot on goal came in the 34th minute, and it was saved by FSU goalkeeper Carolina Jeffers.
Jeffers has been steady in goal since first-choice goalkeeper Brooke Bollinger went down in the ACC title game with an injury.
The Seminoles put five shot on target and controlled possession throughout most of the match.
The Cardinal didn’t threaten much in the second half with FSU winning the majority of the battles in the middle of the field.
It marked the third time in school history that the Seminoles have defeated the No. 1 team in the nation.
They also have beaten the last three national champions during this year’s tourney run.
Additionally, FSU has tied a program record with 16 different scorers this season.
FSU and UNC have turned the College Cup into an all ACC-final for the first time since 2014.
That was when FSU brought down Virginia in Boca Raton for the Seminoles’ first-ever national title.
NOTE: Carle was recognized on Thursday night as the recipient of the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Elite 90 award. A native of Levis, Quebec, Canada, Carle currently holds a 4.0 GPA as she pursues her degree in Exercise Physiology.