Dec. 2, 2005
College Station, TX – For the second time in three years the Florida State soccer team has seen its hopes of playing for a National Championship come up just one game short. The fourth-ranked UCLA Bruins (22-1-2) continued their dominant run through the NCAA Tournament Friday night with a 4-0 victory over FSU (20-4-1) in front of 6,701 fans at the Aggie Soccer Stadium. The loss put an end to the most successful season in the 11-year history of Seminole soccer.
“I am really proud of our team,” said first year FSU Head Coach Mark Krikorian. “When I look at the balance of the season it is hard because I don’t have a lot of perspective yet. I don’t think any of us would have predicted the conclusion we came to. It’s hard. It hasn’t really sunk in yet after losing 4-0 to a very good team.”
“First off I’d like to congratulate Florida State on an excellent season,” said UCLA Head Coach Jill Ellis. “They got to this point and I watched a lot of film on them and they’re a very good team. So I’d like to congratulate them on their season. I’m just very proud of my players. I thought we prepared very well. I thought we had some challenging games along the way but we’re playing good soccer. Ultimately I’m pleased but now we have to move forward to Sunday.”
The Bruins used a two-goal spurt in the final 6:52 of the first half to break open a game that saw FSU have more of the game through the first 20 minutes. Both goals came off set pieces. The Bruins built on the lead 13:35 minutes into the second half forcing Florida State to change its personnel in hopes of getting back into the match but they were unable to get on the board becoming the fifth straight shutout victim for UCLA in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
“UCLA is a good team,” said Krikorian. “There were moments of the game I thought we played very well but we just weren’t consistent enough in clearing balls in different situations. We gave them opportunities on two set pieces, which you just can’t do to good teams. Credit to UCLA for taking advantage of that.”
For just the third time all season Florida State was held without a goal. UCLA joins Virginia as the only teams this year to post a clean sheet against FSU. With its 4-0 win, the Bruins have now won their five NCAA Tournament games by a margin of 25-0 and the team now has 18 shutouts on the year.
“They are very athletic and have good organization,” said Krikorian. “That combination usually means stingy defending. I think that they have good players all over the field and good athletes as well. Teams score goals because they have talented players in the right spots and prevent goals by being organized and competitive. I think UCLA certainly has those traits.”
“Their backline, as Mark said, are very athletic,” said Seminole junior India Trotter who was held without a goal for the first time in the tournament. “It was going to take more than just playing it behind their backline to get through. We tried get behind them tactically rather than just hitting the ball behind them but we just weren’t successful. There backline being so athletic was a key to help them win today.”
The game started well for Florida State as the squad generated two good scoring chances in the first 20 minutes of the match. The first came when Libby Gianeskis sent India Trotter down the right sideline. The junior got endline and served a ball to the back of the box. Mami Yamaguchi latched on to the pass and sent a driven shot to the far post but it was blocked by a UCLA defender about eight yards from the net.
The second came in the 17th minute. Yamaguchi collected the ball about 40 yards away and took a chance from distance. She laced a dipping shot that was just high over the crossbar.
Then came two costly whistles for FSU. A foul just outside the 18 helped the Bruins break on top in the 38th minute. The UCLA free kick was blocked but FSU was unable to clear the loose ball. After a scramble, Christina DiMartino got a shot off to the backpost putting the Bruins up.
With just over two minutes remaining in the half another set piece cost the Seminoles. This one came from farther out but the service found the head of UCLA star Danesha Adams. With her back to the goal, she flicked a high header that ranged over the top of Mims and bounced into the net for the second goal of the match.
“Their first and second goals were both scored off set pieces,” said Mims. “On that second one, the ball was floated up in the air. I thought I could get under it. By the time I got to where the ball was going to land there were four or five people around me. UCLA’s (Danesha Adams) got to it first and the header dipped right underneath the bar. It was tough. Looking back on it I probably made the wrong decision coming out but you can’t go back on it now. I thought I could get to it because it was floated.”
“I thought in the first half we had pretty good rhythm going,” said Krikorian. “It is hard giving up goals in those time periods, right before half and right after half.”
The two goals FSU gave up in the first half were the most the team had allowed in any NCAA Tournament game and the team hadn’t come back from a 2-0 deficit since they defeated Duke 3-2 in overtime in Tallahassee in 2001.
“I think once we got the first goal it gave us more confidence,” said Adams. “We just needed to keep pounding, keep going and not stopping, keep pounding to the end and we’re just going to come through and that’s what happened when we went into halftime. We were up and coach told us don’t take our foot off the gas just keep going because a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead in soccer so just keep going after it.”
The Bruins didn’t let up and DiMartino got back in the action versus the Seminoles just under 15 minutes into the second period. The freshman got a clean look at the Seminole net from the top of the box on the left side. She bent a beautiful shot to the back post leaving Mims no chance to make the save. The four goals were the most ever allowed by a Seminole team in 19 NCAA Tournament games.
“We came out in the second half and did fine, created some decent chances,” said Krikorian. “Probably not dangerous enough though. We had some good possession and some good movement. We just weren’t quite sharp enough around the box. When they scored that third goal then it is really a very difficult situation.”
With the Seminoles pushing forward in an attempt to get back in the game UCLA got back on the board. Stephanie Kron sent a great ball to the back post where Kara Lang was making a run. The Canadian National team player beat her defender to the ball and got off a shot to the back post netting the Bruins fourth goal of the match. It equaled the most goals FSU had allowed all season in a 4-1 loss to North Carolina September 22.
Tonight’s FSU match will be rebroadcast Saturday, December 3 at 12:00 pm EST on ESPN2. The Seminoles will return to Tallahassee Saturday afternoon.