Aug. 25, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla. – It was well worth the wait. After three days of non-stop rain courtesy of Tropical Storm Fay which resulted in a pair of cancellations, the 2008 season finally got under way as No. 4 Florida State blanked UCF 5-0 Monday afternoon at the Seminole Soccer Complex. With five goals on Monday, the Seminoles set the school record for the most goals scored on opening day surpassing the previous mark of four set on three separate occasions.
Sophomore Amanda DaCosta and freshman Casey Short each tallied two goals to start the year, while junior Lauren Switzer tied a career-high with four points on a goal and two assists. Kate Milstead and Kimmy Diaz combined for the shutout as it was the fifth time in 10 meetings that the Seminoles have held the Knights without a goal.
“Overall it was a good performance for us, particularly the first half where we were pretty solid in our defending,” explained head coach Mark Krikorian. “We created some great counter attack opportunities. It’s nice to be able to put the ball into the back of the net. Again, we have a lot of young players that we are integrating into the team. It seems like the transition for many of them was pretty smooth.”
“It was brutal,” added Krikorian on waiting until Monday to kick-off the season. “The last few days we have all been sitting around…and I’m sure for UCF it was tough too. You’re just waiting and waiting and waiting and you want to get the game in; fortunately Mother Nature finally smiled at us and gave us a little window to get the game in before more rain and wind hit the area.”
As was the case in last year’s home opener against Francis Marion, DaCosta notched the first goal of the game in the 12th minute of action scoring off a UCF turnover inside the Knight’s zone. The reigning Soccer Buzz Freshman of the Year stole a pass from inside 25 yards, beat a Knight defender and blasted a shot into the upper left corner for the first Florida State goal of the year.
“It was a solid way to start,” said DaCosta. “I had a goal for myself…I really wanted to get after it today. Overall, the team looked really good. I was so impressed with everybody, the way we were clicking, the way we were attacking. We just got after it. I thought it was a tremendous start for us.”
The Seminoles would break the game wide open late in the first half scoring three goals in a seven minute span. Switzer made the Knights pay for yet another costly turnover stealing a pass from inside the box and connecting on a cross from about eight yards out to push the score to 2-0.
Less than three minutes later, DaCosta would add her second goal of the game one-timing a shot just inside the left post from 20 yards. Off a goal kick, Switzer went high and won the ball with a header directing the ball to the left side of the pitch. DaCosta out raced a Knight defender and sent a low kick past a diving Aline Reis to find the back of the net for her first career multi-goal game. Switzer was credited with an assist on the play, the first of two on the day.
FSU added to its lead in the 39th minute as Short registered her first collegiate goal to push the Seminole lead to 4-0. Annie Stalzer began the play sending a cross into the middle of the field where Rachel Lim redirected the pass after being tied up with a UCF defender. Short gathered the loose ball, made a quick turn towards the goal and fired a shot from 12 yards out finding the inside left portion of the net for the fourth Seminole goal of the first half.
The Seminoles almost added to their lead in the waning seconds of the first half, but a header by Stalzer off a pass from Switzer sailed just wide of the net.
Out of the locker room, UCF got the first scoring chance of the second half as Brianna Schooley fired a shot on goal. Milstead made a great save as she climbed the ladder and punched away the ball headed just inside the crossbar to keep the Knights off the scoreboard.
FSU would increase its lead to 5-0 in the 66th minute on Short’s second goal of the afternoon. Switzer sent a shot on goal from just outside the box where it was blocked by a UCF player. Short collected the rebound and one-timed a shot into the right corner for the score.
Along with tying her career-high in points on Monday afternoon, Switzer set a career-high with two assists in the win over the Knights. The junior midfielder tallied four points on two goals in the Seminoles’ semifinal victory over Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament a season ago. Switzer came within one point of matching her total season output of five points in 2007.
“It was exciting; it’s always good to start off with a good first game,” explained Switzer. “It definitely helps build the confidence for the rest of the season.”
Short led all players with four shots on Monday including a game-high three shots on goal.
“It was a good start,” added Short. “We were all very excited to play and yeah, we are very happy with the win.”
With the win, Florida State improved to 8-5-1 on opening day including a mark of 6-1-1 when opening the season at home. FSU is now 3-1-0 on opening day under head coach Mark Krikorian.
The Seminoles out shot the Knights 20-7, while maintaining a 7-2 advantage on corner kicks. Reis finished the contest with a game-high four saves for the Knights. Milstead registered a pair of saves in over 73 minutes of action. Diaz closed out the game in goal for the Seminoles playing the final 16 minutes.
“I think it was very good for us to have this game before we head off to State College,” said Krikorian. “It gave us a chance to see some of the things that we need to continue to work on to develop.
UCF is going to win their share of games. Again, you need to have special players make big plays and I thought DaCosta showed that a couple of times today. Overall, it was a solid performance by the whole team.”
Florida State will hit the road for its next two games as the Seminoles travel to State College, Pa., to face Penn State and Connecticut on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Seminoles and Nittany Lions will kick-off at 5:00 p.m. on Friday inside Jeffrey Field. Seminoles fans can catch all the action over the internet as Gametracker will be available for both contests.