Nov. 10, 2001
When the 19th-ranked Seminoles step on the field at Spry Stadium to face consensus No. 1 North Carolina Sunday, FSU will have faced the No. 1 team (UNC), the No. 2 team (Santa Clara) and the No. 3 team (Portland) in the nation and all of them at Spry Stadium. Florida State faced Santa Clara and Portland September 7 and 9 at the Wake Forest/Nike Invitational. No other team in the nation has faced the top three teams in this week’s polls. Not only has FSU played the three highest ranked teams in the country but this will mark the second time this season they have faced ACC-foe and No. 1 North Carolina. How’s that for schedule strength?
SEVEN IS THE TICKET
The Seminoles entered the 2001 ACC Tournament as the No. 3 seed after finishing a program high third in the conference but last year, despite a record-breaking season, FSU came into the 2000 tourney as a seventh-seed. Florida State is the second straight team to reach the ACC Championship game after being a seven seed the previous season. In 2000, Duke reached the ACC final held in Durham after being a seventh seed in 1999.
OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME
W. Dennie Spry Stadium is like a second home for the Seminoles. The ACC Championship match with North Carolina will be the sixth game FSU has played at Wake’s home field compared to the eight games FSU played at its own home field, the Seminole Soccer Complex, in all of 2001. Florida State played No. 2 Santa Clara and No. 3 Portland at the Wake Forest/Nike Invitational, No. 19 Wake Forest in ACC play, No. 24 Maryland and No. 14 Virginia in the ACC Tournament and now No. 1 North Carolina. Before getting a 7-2 win over Maryland, FSU was 0-3-0 in their first three trips to the host site of the 2001 Women’s Soccer Championships. Their luck seems to be changing though with a win, a tie and a berth in the ACC finals this time around.
Florida State and North Carolina are the only two teams who made iit to last year’s ACC semi-finals and this year’s semi-finals. Florida State advanced past Wake Forest in sudden victory shootouts before facing UNC in the semi-finals of last year’s tourney. That is a giant leap for a Florida State team that had been ousted in the first round five straight times since joining ACC play in 1995.
STILL NO LOSSES IN OT
Since Baker took over the Seminole program in 1999, Florida State has never lost an overtime game posting a record of 4-0-4 in extra frames. The Seminoles had to survive four overtime periods against Virginia before they advanced to the ACC finals on penalty kicks but once again the team did not allow a golden goal. In fact, Florida State had already won two ACC games in overtime this season against NC State and Duke.
IT’S BEEN THAT LONG
The University of North Carolina is the premier NCAA women’s soccer team and they are on an unbelievable roll. The Tar Heels have won 27 straight games including an NCAA Championship and an ACC Championship since October 27, 2000. Did you know that before UNC started its undefeated run they lost back-to-back games for the first time since 1982. The first of those two losses came at the hands of Florida State in a 3-2 double overtime win in Tallahassee, Fla. It was FSU’s first-ever win over the then second-ranked Tar Heels and was a turning point in the young program’s history.
WHO SAYS EXPERIENCE COUNTS
When you consider what Florida State has accomplished in just the third year of it’s renaissance under head coach Patrick Baker it is just amazing but even more so when you consider who this team has done it with and without. Florida State starts the youngest line-up in the ACC with four freshmen and three sophomores starting almost every game for FSU this season. Katie Beal, Camie Bybee, Ali Mims and Kerry York have started in almost every match while sophomores Summer Corum, Amber Tollefson and Kristin Boyce have started every game in 2001. Florida State starts just three seniors but has been without starting midfielder Marte Vik Edvardsen for the last eight straight games due to a knee injury. The heart and soul of the Seminoles midfield was replaced by another young player in redshirt-sophomore Jenny Garcia. Florida State has also had to play without the team’s first -ever All-American and Southeast Region Freshman of the Year Emma Breland. The Trelleborg, Sweden native did not play in 2001 due to the death of her father but FSU some how found a way to replace her 31 points and 12 goals. Add to that the loss of senior forward Shane Gallo who fractured her leg in a training session near the end of the regular season and FSU has made its run to the ACC Championship severely under-manned. That’s what makes Friday’s 150-minute game with Virginia even more amazing.
WHEN SHE SHOOTS SHE REALLY SCORES
All-ACC second teamer Amber Tollefson is in the midst of an amazing season against ACC teams. The wide midfielder from Boca Raton, Fla. is leading FSU in points (16), is tied for the lead in goals (5), is first in game-winning goals (2), first in assists (6) and first in shot percentage (.625) in games against ACC teams. As amazing as that is, it isn’t even close to her most impressive stat. Tollefson has taken six shots on goal versus ACC teams and scored five goals. She recorded two goals against Clemson in the Seminoles’ biggest regular season road win in program history, she recorded a goal against Duke in FSU’s largest comeback in program history and also go e game-winner versus Maryland in the regular season that assured the Seminoles of their best-ever ACC record (4-3-0) and highest finish (third place). She then came back and scored one of FSU’s seven goals in a quarterfinal win over the Terrapins Friday.
WHERE DID THAT COME FROM
Considering FSU had never won an ACC Tournament game in its six-year history, they sure got that first win in amazing fashion. When the Seminoles downed Maryland 7-2 just a week after beating the Terps 2-0 at home, it marked the largest margin of victory ever for an FSU team playing away from home and it was the most goals Florida State had scored in a game since an 11-0 win over Jacksonville in 1996. In fact, this season’s FSU team has scored three of the six highest single game goal totals posted in the last five years. Florida State scored seven against Maryland and five goals against UCF and Jacksonville in 2001. Since the 1997 season, only two Seminole squads have ever scored five or more goals in a game and those came in 5-1 wins over Wofford in 1997 and South Alabama in 1998 and a 6-1 win over Auburn in 1998. The win was also the 14th of the season tying a record set in 2000 when FSU posted a 14-8-2 mark.
SAVING THE DAY
Anybody who follows Seminole soccer shouldn’t have been so surprised when freshman keeper Ali Mims saved three of Virginia’s five penalty kicks in shootouts. Mims saved the first two shots she saw against UVa extending her streak to four straight PK saves. She saved one against Duke to keep the Seminoles alive in OT and also stopped a Maryland PK in FSU’s conference finale. Mims has now saved an amazing 67% of the penalty kicks she has faced this season (4 of 6). Fellow freshman Kerry York ain’t bad either saving the only PK she has faced this season.
The only time FSU and UNC haven’t met in the ACC Tournament was in 1998 when FSU was ousted in the first round by Virginia…At this point last season, FSU was 12-7-2 compared to 14-6-1 this year…FSU placed two players on the All-ACC Tournament team for the first time in school history in 2000.