After a two-hour rain delay, No. 16 Auburn soccer (2-0-1) went toe-to-toe in a 1-1 draw against the reigning national champions, No. 2 Florida State (1-0-2), Thursday night at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, FL.
“I thought our team did a great job growing into the game, getting better as time progressed,” said Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa. “We played an excellent game, certainly had our chances to win it. A tie is not always what you want, but at the end of the day, that’s a really good result against the defending national champions.”
It was a tightly contested battle the whole way through. The Seminoles came out firing early, taking several shots on-goal in the opening frame, but the Auburn defense was able to hold strong and knock the attempts away.
Florida State was able to break through the Tigers' defense in the 29th minute with a goal from Heather Payne off a penalty kick to take the 1-0 lead.
Auburn continued to fight, though, and got on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute. Junior Anna Haddock took the tigers free kick, placing a precision ball inside the box which found sophomore Sydnie Thibodaux for a header into the back left of the net.
“Anna (Haddock) played it perfectly to me and I’m glad I was able to finish it,” Thibodaux said. “Today is going to be a big piece of momentum going into the next game and the rest of the season. Everyone says that they can hang with the best, but tonight we proved that Auburn truly can.”
Auburn’s defense held strong the rest of the game, with goalie Maddie Prohaska having a phenomenal outing with seven saves in the second half. Prohaska ended the game with a total of nine saves, one shy of tying her career high.
“I think that our defense showed tonight that we can hang with any championship-caliber team,” Prohaska said. “Our defense is more than the back four it’s all 11 of us. We showed just how gritty we are and that we do focus on the details.”
The Auburn offense came away with three shots on goal compared to Florida State’s 10 shots on goal.
Florida State’s Cristina Roque recorded two saves in the net. Both Prohaska and Roque went the distance and allowed one goal a piece.
Auburn will be back in action Sunday, Aug. 28 with another road game at Wake Forest. Game time is set for noon CST.
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Donavan Weaver is a senior at Auburn, majoring in journalism. He is from Brewton, Ala. and started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.