Nov. 9, 2001
Winston-Salem, NC –
Another game and another program first for No. 19 Florida State soccer. The Seminoles (14-6-1, 4-3-0) needed a complete game, four overtimes and a shootout but they advanced past No. 14 Virginia (13-3-2, 5-2-0) into the school’s first-ever ACC Women’s Soccer Championship Friday night in Winston-Salem, NC. Although the Cavaliers controlled the match, FSU goalkeepers Ali Mims and Kerry York kept Florida State alive all night and into sudden-victory PK’s where Mims saved three UVa shots and junior Ashlee Fontes netted the winner sending FSU into Sunday’s final versus North Carolina.
“That is a great Virginia team,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “We were outplayed in every facet of the game but for 150 minutes neither team could score. I give our team credit because we bent but never broke. We never stopped believing in ourselves and we kept trying to find a way to win.”
After facing Virginia just over a week ago and taking a 2-1 lead before falling with just under two minutes remaining, Friday’s semi-final couldn’t have been more different. The Cavaliers out shot FSU 35 to five, took 20 shots on goal compared to just two for the Seminoles and held a 13 to three edge in corners but keepers York and Mims made one huge save after another to keep FSU alive through 150 minutes.
“I felt good out there even though there was a lot of pressure being the ACC semi-final and due to the fact that we had never beaten Virginia,” said Mims. “I have 100 percent confidence in myself and a great defense that backed me up and bailed me out when I needed them.”
Florida State had its best chance to get on the board in the first half when freshman Camie Bybee sent the ACC’s leading goal scorer Cindy Schofield in behind the Cavalier defense. Schofield was one-on-one with Virginia keeper Jodie Clugston but Clugston was able to come off of her line and picked up the pass before Schofield had a chance to get the shot off.
Virginia kept pressuring the Seminole defense and keepers but York, the Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year, made six saves in the first half including three that she tipped over the bar to keep Florida State alive. The most dangerous of which was off of a free kick from 19 yards out off of the foot of two-time ACC Player of the Year Lori Lindsey. At the end of the first half, the game was tied 0-0 but Virginia held a nine to one edge in shots but just a three to one edge in corners.
The second half was similar to the first with UVa once again holding a large edge in shots (10 to three) but the Seminoles kept fighting to stay alive. Freshman keeper Mims came in to replace York and picked up right where her fellow freshman left off recording seven saves and coming up big on one play after another.
Mims was tested severly in the 47th-minute when Sarah Lane got off a dangerous shot to the near post, which Mims smothered. Lindsey tested Mims again in the 64th minute on a blast that the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. native once again corralled. Just a minute later, Virginia had a great chance to take the lead but their own player blocked a shot that seemed to be heading into the Seminole net keeping FSU in the match.
In the 71st-minute, the FSU defense once again stepped up when freshman Katie Beal blocked a Virginia free kick from about 20 yards out. The Cavaliers collected the rebound and fired the shot back at the Seminole net where Ashlee Fontes saved the ball off of the line. The Seminoles saved another shot off of the line when Summer Corum blocked Gillian Hatch’s shot at the far post.
“There was a lot of pressure on us (the defense) tonight,” said Fontes. “We were trying to attack and playing to win but that allowed them to do some things against us. We played solidly as a defense and got fortunate.”
After withstanding 89 minutes of pressure yet keeping the game scoreless, Florida State almost ended the match with just 29 seconds remaining on the clock. Freshman Camie Bybee sent a high pass over the top of the Cavalier defense right onto the foot of senior striker Maren Vik Edvardsen. The Oslo, Norway native caught Clugston off of her line and arched a shot over the keeper that bounced off the crossbar sending the match into overtime.
“We just didn’t have any build-up or rhythm tonight,” said Baker. “We couldn’t find our forwards and at times couldn’t even get out of our end.”
Both teams lumbered through four overtime periods with neither team having the energy to really test the other defense. Virginia once again held a huge edge in shots through the four overtime periods adding another 16 to Florida State’s zero but the Cavaliers were unable to really test Mims as the game headed to sudden-victory shootouts.
“With as many shots as Virginia had you’d figure we’d be down a couple of goals,” said Baker. “As we entered the final 15 minutes, I told our kids just don’t give it away here and we’ll take our chances in penalty kicks. We did a great job considering how under-manned we are. It is a great testament to our team’s heart and determination.”
Virginia took the first shot and Mims once again came up huge saving Lane’s kick to the left side of the net but Clugston matched Mims saving FSU’s first shot off of the foot of senior Heather Dyche. Kelly Worden was next up for UVa but Mims once again stopped the PK before Meredith Jones knocked in her kick putting FSU up 1-0.
Virginia evened the shootout when its third shooter, Hatch, scored the team’s first goal and the Seminoles’ Jenny Garcia sent her shot wide of the left post. Both teams converted their next kick as Virginia’s Ashley Meeker and Schofield both scored their PK’s.
Virginia then sent back-to-back ACC Player of the Year Lori Lindsey to the line for the team’s fifth kick. The midfielder, who recorded nine shots and five shots on goal during the match, sent a hard shot right down the middle. Mims, who was already diving to her right, stuck her foot out and kick saved the shot giving FSU an opportunity to lock up a trip to the finals.
“When I saw her coming up to the line to take the kick, I knew I would have to make a quality save or she would pound the back of the net,” said Mims. “I didn’t expect her to shoot where she did and sometimes shooters can get away with putting it straight down the middle but I had no idea where she was going with it by watching her body language. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
With a ticket to the ACC Championship on the line, Fontes stepped up to the line to take the first penalty kick of her career. The junior right back from Rochester Hills, MI had never recorded a point in her three year Seminole career but was taking arguably the most important kick in the history of the program.
“I asked the kids who wanted to take a PK and I took the first five who raised their hands,” said Baker. “In a lot of our conversations, I learned that Fontes relishes pressure situations. You would never know it unless you really talked with her but she lives for those big time pressure situations. I remembered that little bit of information when I was setting the order.”
Fontes stepped up to the line and sent the game’s final PK to the left side of the net beating Clugston and sending FSU into the championship match in the nation’s premiere soccer conference.
“I was excited to take that kick and I love those situations,” said Fontes. “As soon as the shot hit the back of the net, my first thought was to get away from the dogpile. It was a great moment because we are going to the finals but me making the final kick was no more important than the one Cindy and Meredith made or the saves Ali came up with.”
After never winning an ACC Tournament game before this season and advancing to the second round for the first-time in school history last year, FSU finds itself in the finals just three years into Baker’s tenure. The Seminoles will face North Carolina with the chance to gain the school’s first conference title.
“The goalkeeping for us tonight was awesome,” said Baker. “Both York and Mims were wonderful tonight. Both deserve unbelievable credit for getting us to our first ACC final and shutting out one of the nation’s best teams.
“This is probably the biggest result in our program’s history despite the fact that it was a tie. We found a way to get something done that is very special. We have been the perennial doormats in the conference year after year after year and it was a huge step to get to third place this year. We relished the opportunity to get our first win over Virginia but they were just phenomenal tonight. We are such a young team and this make-shift group has done unbelievable and it is a credit to them.”
Florida State will face 17-time National Champion North Carolina in Sunday’s final after the Tar Heels downed Wake Forest 3-0 in the ACC’s other semi-final. The game is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. and will be carried live in Tallahassee by the Sunshine Network. For more information on the Seminoles and the ACC Championship match visit the official athletic website of Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.