Oct. 13, 2004
College Park, MD – Last week the 11th-ranked FSU soccer team took a big step towards positioning itself for thee ACC Tournament when it defeated No. 21 Wake Forest and Virginia Tech at home. This week it gets a lot more difficult as FSU has to travel to three ACC venues starting with a crucial road trip tonight at 7:00 p.m. versus No. 23 Maryland. Both teams come into tonight’s match undefeated in their last three games.
“This game is so important because we are both jockeying for position so we don’t have to play that opening weekend of the ACC Tournament,” said India Trotter. “We also need this game because we are coming off a great week where we went 3-0 at home and it is important to try and build some confidence on the road.”
“Anytime you play an ACC game it is an intense game,” said Teresa Rivera. “Both teams are going to be up for this game tonight and so will their crowd.”
This is just the second road game of the year for FSU. The only other time the Tribe has played away from the Seminole Soccer Complex came at Duke where the Blue Devils handed Florida State (10-3-0, 3-2-0) it worst loss of the season.
“I hope we have learned a lot since the loss to Duke,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “That trip opened our eyes to a lot of things on and off the field. Collectively as a group, coaching staff and players, we have tried to change the complexion of what we were doing and how we were doing in hopes of ultimately changing the end result. I feel like everyone had a wonderful week in getting three wins but that doesn’t make everything better. We have to build on that and continue to move on. I feel we have done that but tonight we will see if we can do that on the road.”
“Being able to play at home is great and we were fortunate this year to have as many home games as we do,” said Rivera. “Because of that, this is just our second road game and obviously things didn’t go that well in the first one when we played Duke. We need to come out and prove we can win on the road this year because we have yet to prove that.”
Maryland comes into tonight’s match at 5-3-2 and 2-3-1 in the ACC. The Terrapins have posted some big results as of late including a win over Clemson, a tie with No. 4 Virginia and a loss in overtime to No. 1 North Carolina. The Terps also posted a 2-1 win over No. 6 UCLA earlier in the season. Maryland is 2-1-1 this season against teams that are or were ranked.
“We have found out by this point in time that we are going to take everybody’s best shot because of the success we had last year,” said Baker. “There has been very little separation between us and our opponents this year based on the one-goal games that we have been in. Tonight will be no different. We have the utmost respect for Maryland’s staff and team and both squads need a win that is the bottom line. It will be very similar to our last two games.”
While the Seminoles have won three straight games, they are still looking for to find some separation during games. Ten of FSU’s 13 games this year have been one-goal games. While the Tribe is 8-2 in those contests, the team is looking to find a way to create more separation but know that won’t be easy tonight against Maryland. The Terps are fourth in the ACC allowing just 1.10 goals per game and they recently held UNC, the nation’s ninth rated offense, to one goal in 90 minutes of regulation play.
“You always go into a game hopeful that you can get some separation and not be in a one-goal fight all night,” said Camie Bybee. “We haven’t been able to get that separation from teams this year. It is something we would obviously love to do but doing that at Ludwig Field tonight is a hard place to start. We just hope we can play well and somehow find a way to win a tough ACC game in a tough play versus a very good opponent.”
“Our confidence is building but we are not over confident and we know that Maryland is a great team,” said Trotter. “We have respect for every opponent and especially our ACC opponents. We know how good this conference is. We want to just keep the same mentality that worked well for us last week and hope we can compete well versus Maryland.”
Florida State has experienced recent success against the Terps winning five of the last six games. The Tribe has recorded three shutouts in that span and FSU is 3-0 against Maryland in the last three conference meetings. FSU also has played well at Ludwig Field where the team is 2-2-0 all-time.
“Going on the road in the ACC is one of the toughest things you have to do,” said Bybee. “Their fans are great and they have a wonderful soccer environment. We have had some success there in the past but that won’t mean anything when we step out tonight.
“This year they (Maryland) took Carolina into overtime and tied Virginia so I know this is going to be a battle. Every time you step out it is a new game and you can throw out the window everything that has happened before. We are both fighting to get to the upper half of the ACC and I think that is more important than anything to both sides.”
Last season the Seminoles won both meetings between the squads. They downed the Terps 2-1 in Tallahassee and then defeated Maryland 1-0 in the ACC Tournament semifinals. The last time FSU played at Ludwig Field, the Tribe won another close match. Cindy Schofield converted a penalty kick just 1:58 into the game and the Seminoles held on to the 1-0 victory.
“As difficult as it was to play at Duke, playing at Maryland is tough because it is a great venue and another very good team,” said Baker. “There is usually a great pro-Maryland crowd and it is not an easy place to play. We were very fortunate the last time here to score a goal early. Then we held on literally to get a win that night. You are talking about a team that has got some tremendous results this year. We are just trying to improve since the losses to Virginia and Duke. We did that with a big three game home stand last week. Now we have to carry that into a big three game road trip. Tonight is the first step and it is going to be a very difficult one.”
Florida State will continue to rely on its defense, which has been stellar this season and especially as of late. The Seminoles come into tonight’s game without allowing a goal in the last three matches and starting goal keeper Joy McKenzie (9-3-0, 3-2-0) has not allowed a goal in the last 237:28 seconds. The Tribe rank 21st in the nation in shutouts with seven and are currently 23rd in the NCAA with a team GAA of 0.69.
“Defensively we feel pretty confident just about our capabilities together as a group,” said Rivera. “We put together three consecutive shutouts last week and it feels really good that we have been able to keep the ball out of the back of the net. We have been more consistent lately and the result has been three shutouts in a row. There is still room for improvement and we will be tested tonight against a strong Maryland line-up.”
Game Tracker will be available for tonight’s match through the official athletic website for Florida State University at seminoles.com. The Seminoles will finish off the week at NC State (7-4-2, 1-4-0) Sunday at 12:00 p.m.