Aug. 19, 2005
Knoxville, TN – After opening the preseason with a 6-1 win over the Pennsylvania Strikers club team, things got considerably more challenging Friday night for FSU. The Seminoles traveled to Knoxville, TN to face the 11th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols and came away with a tightly contested 1-1 draw in front of over 350 fans.
“I thought there were some very good moments for us throughout the game,” said FSU Head Coach Mark Krikorian. “I think we need to clean it up technically and get to the point where we are able to link some passes together. Overall it was a solid performance.
“We knew Tennessee was a good team and they showed that tonight. I thought they were good in the second half getting the better of the play.”
The match was somewhat a tale of two halves. Florida State stormed out early and controlled much of the play for the first 30 minutes. The play leveled at that point but Tennessee was able to generate a little more pressure on the FSU backline in the second 45:00.
“I think in the first half we controlled a lot of the tempo and in turn the run of play,” said India Trotter. “We were linking up and controlling the game. In the second half it kind of dried up. It is just going to take time. The more games we play and the more we play together, the easier that will come. For the most part it was pretty good but it can be a lot better. It was encouraging considering it came against a team ranked 11th in the nation.”
The Lady Vols were the biggest test of the preseason for FSU and the game was considered a measuring stick of where the side was two weeks into training. With USC less than a week away, UT provided the Seminoles with a challenge that they didn’t get from the Pennsylvania Strikers on Monday.
“A this level the game is a lot more physical than what we faced earlier in the week,” said forward Sel Kuralay. “A team like Tennessee is a lot fitter and faster and is the type of team we are going to see when the season starts. We had a lot more of the ball in the scrimmage Monday so this was a good way to see our progression leading up to USC.”
“I feel really good about the result versus a team as good as Tennessee,” said Trotter. “It gives us confidence that we can play with a team that is in the top 15 in the country.”
Offensively, Florida State came out very strong to start the game. Just three minutes in the Tribe put together a great attack as Mami Yamaguchi sent Kuralay in at the top of the 18. The Australian fed Melissa Samokishyn down the flank and her cross glanced off crossbar.
A minute later Yamaguchi picked up the ball at the top corner of the 18. She fired a shot on frame forcing the Lady Vol keeper into a diving save to keep the score even.
Just five minutes later FSU went up top 1-0. Katrin Schmidt sent a great ball from the far left wing to the top of the 18. Viola Odebrecht took one touch between two defenders and then fired a shot near post beating the UT keeper.
Later in the half Schmidt played another great ball from the left wing. This time she found Yamaguchi at the top of the 18. The striker couldn’t get a shot off but Odebrecht won possession and just missed over the crossbar on her attempt.
Tennessee got back in the game in the 32nd minute on a set piece. Kelly Rowland got whistled for pulling down a UT attacker just outside the 18. The free kick was sent in on net and redirected in by Kylee Rossi making it a 1-1 game.
With just five minutes remaining before half, it looked as if FSU had gone back in front. As Schmidt, Yamaguchi and Odebrecht combined to send the Japanese National in all alone with the keeper. Yamaguchi scored only to see an offsides flag raised nullifying the goal.
“I thought we penetrated and got in behind the defense,” said Kuralay. “We need to link up a bit more with the midfielders. That is something we need to work on. We need to continue to develop a better understanding of each other’s strength’s and weaknesses and keep moving forward. We will build on the positives from today as we head towards USC.”
The Seminoles had another great opportunity to break the tie in the 53rd minute. Trotter made a brilliant run down the center of the pitch and sent Yamaguchi in all alone with the Tennessee keeper. The forward decided to take the ball wide as was unable capitalize from that angle.
Starting keeper Ali Mims made a couple of big stops to ensure the draw. The redshirt junior stoned Tennessee on a 1-v-1 at the near post in the 65th minute. Two minutes later a corner kick turned into a dangerous chance for UT when they collected the loose ball and fired at Mims who was still on the ground. The keeper came up with the stop ensuring the tie as FSU finished off the scrimmage without allowing a goal in the run of play.
“It was encouraging that we did not give up a goal in the run of play but then again we did give up some chances,” said Krikorian. “We have to limit those opportunities in the future. Overall, it was a good effort in the back.”
“We have been doing a lot of work in practice on defending as a unit in the back four,” said senior Teresa Rivera. “It is a good sign that we didn’t allow a goal in the run of play. It shows our hard work is paying off. Now we just need to be more technically sound on free kicks and put a zero up on the scoreboard.”
Krikorian’s squad will continue practicing next week as they prepare to officially get 2005 underway in Los Angeles versus USC. Game Tracker will be available for the contest.