Sept. 29, 2004
Tallahassee, FL – For the eighth time in a row, the fifth-ranked FSU soccer team lost by just one goal to Virginia in an ACC game Friday night. The third-ranked Cavaliers (9-0-0, 2-0-0) scored just two minutes out of the locker room in the second half and held on to the 1-0 lead sending FSU (7-2-0, 1-1-0) to just its third loss in the last six years at home on a Friday night. The third-largest crowd in program history (1,307) turned out and saw sophomore Ariel Thompson score the game-winning goal for UVa for the second year against the Seminoles.
“Hats off to (Virginia head coach) Steve (Swanson) and his staff, they were just a joy to watch,” said FSU head coach Patrick Baker. “They worked the ball around individually and collectively like nobody we’ve seen in a long time. I have not seen us chase the ball here in a long time and that is a credit to Virginia. We had a great crowd tonight and unfortunately we couldn’t send them home happy but I thank them for their support.”
“It was extremely frustrating out there tonight,” said senior Jez Ratliff. “The last few losses to Virginia have been heartbreakers but tonight they outplayed us. You can’t cry too many tears when you get outplayed. Losing four times in the regular season by a goal is frustrating though.”
Neither team put a lot of shots on goal Friday night in a defensive battle that saw two of the best back fours in the ACC square off. Virginia, the nation’s eight-stingiest defense, put just four shots on frame while the Tribe could muster only two. FSU was also held without a corner kick for the first time since September 17, 1999 versus North Carolina, a string of 110 games.
“They have four accomplished seniors across the back it was going to take something pretty special to score on them,” said Baker. “They are not No. 3 in the nation for nothing. We hoped we’d be peaking tonight but that wasn’t the case.”
“I think they (Virginia’s defense) were extremely organized,” said Ratliff. “It was up to us to find a way to get behind them and exploit their weaknesses. If there were any there, we didn’t do a very good job of finding them and then exploiting them. They have four seniors in the back who are very composed and know what they are doing. That was evident tonight.”
Florida State came out strong in the first few minutes creating a couple of quality chances. Just one minute in India Trotter (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) sent Ratliff (Norman, OK) down the right wing. The senior sent a cross through the box that was dummied to two Seminoles making runs but neither could get a foot on the ball.
In the fifth minute Trotter found Camie Bybee (Oklahoma City, OK) 25 yards from goal. The senior popped a pass up and over the Virginia defense to Leah Gallegos (Los Angeles, CA). The All-American couldn’t beat a charging Christina de Vries to the ball. After those early chances the Virginia defense clamped down and limited the FSU offense to just two shots the rest of the half.
“Virginia played very well tonight and we, for a large majority of the time, chased the game and chased the ball,” said Baker. “It just wasn’t a good night for us. We told our team at halftime that we hadn’t played as well as we can but it was still 0-0. Maybe we sneak a goal in the second half and hold on but that didn’t happen.”
It only took two minutes for Virginia to jump into the lead in the second half as Thompson capitalized on a Seminole defensive mistake right in the middle of the field. The turnover allowed Thompson to run 60 yards free to goal and beat keeper Joy McKenzie (Houston, TX) scoring her first goal of the season.
After falling behind, the Tribe had its first opportunity to equalize in the 53rd minute when Oklahoman’s Ratliff and Bybee tried to make a connection. Ratliff got endline and played a ball across the face of the goal to Bybee in the middle but the senior was unable to get enough on her volley to beat de Vries.
As the Seminoles attempted to comeback, UVA did not stop pressing for some breathing room and senior goalkeeper McKenzie kept FSU within striking distance on two occasions. In the 79th minute Lindsay Gusick was played into the box by Noelle Kaselica. Gusick was 1-on-1 with McKenzie who came out and made a huge sliding save.
Six minutes later Shannon Foley fed Gusick again, this time she was about eight yards away from goal. She shot near post but McKenzie made a sprawling save punching the shot around the post recording her third save of the night.
The best chance FSU had all night came in the 88th minute with the team playing in a more offensive formation as they pushed for the equalizer. Freshman Armani Rice (Parker, CO) sent fellow rookie Sage Sizemore (Cape Coral, FL) into the Virginia box. Sizemore was all alone as she went endline. She had two Seminoles making back post runs but her service was too close to de Vries and the sophomore goalkeeper gobbled up the cross.
“We had a great chance to equalize,” said Baker. “We needed to make a play and we didn’t. At that point we had four freshmen out there in the heat of the moment and we are playing a system we are not comfortable with. We took some risks and were all over the place in the second half.”
Florida State will continue ACC play Monday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m. in Miami versus the Hurricanes (2-4-0, 1-2-0). With Hurricane Jeanne threatening, a decision will be made Saturday on whether or not the game will be postponed for the second time this season. Live Stats will be available on the official athletic site for Florida State, www.seminoles.com.