The Seminoles hit the road for two crucial ACC games this week against two teams the Tribe has had some success against recently. Maryland and NC State are the only two original ACC schools that FSU has a lifetime record of .500 or above against. The Seminoles, with two wins over the Terps last season, are now 6-6-0 all-time against Maryland and the Tribe holds a 4-3-2 edge against NC State, which is the only original ACC school that FSU has a lifetime winning record against. FloridaState is 5-1-0 in its last six meetings with Maryland and undefeated in the last three conference matches. In those three ACC games, Maryland has managed to score just one goal. FSU has shutout the Terps in three of the last six encounters. Surprisingly, FSU has a better record at Ludwig Field than they do at home. The Tribe is 2-2-0 at Maryland all-time compared to 2-4 at home. The Terps will be on the lookout for senior Camie Bybee who has four career goals against the Terrapins including the game-winner last season in Tallahassee. Bybee’s four goals against Maryland are the most any player in FSU history has scored against one ACC team.The Terps are 1-1-2 at home this season and due to weather have played very few home matches. With 12 home games so far, the Tribe has played three times as many games at home as the Terps have. The Terrapins have recently defeated NC State at home and tied No. 3 Virginia 0-0 at Ludwig Field.
FloridaState has fared even better against the Wolfpack in regular season games over the last five years posting a 4-0-1 record. This senior class has never lost to NC State but with the exception of one game, every one of the last six meetings has either ended in a tie, gone to overtime or been a one-goal game. The only exception came the last time FSU visited Raleigh, NC. The Tribe exploded for five goals that day and downed NC State 5-1. It was the most goals ever scored by either team in the series. Jez Ratliff has been the most dangerous Seminole in the series recording two goals and two assists in three games versus NCSU. FloridaState has only ever won one game at Method Road and that came in 2002.
THREE IN SIX
Last week we talked about how important the three game-stretch that included USF, WakeForest and Virginia Tech was and Patrick Baker said it best when he surmised that the 3-0 week may have changed the complexion of FSU’s season. The two ACC wins in a three-day span were very impressive and put the Tribe in the thick of things in the upper half of the conference. It was the first time in program history that the Seminoles had ever won two conference games in a three-day span. It wasn’t the first time the team won three games in a six-day span though. That has happened on five occasions and on two other occasions the squad won three games in a five-day stretch. Since Patrick Baker took over the program, his squads have reeled off three wins in five or six days six times. The common denominator in all six of those runs was either Jacksonville or USF. Florida State has never won three games in less than a week when one of the wins didn’t come against the Bulls or Dolphins.
THREE IN A ROAD
This will be one of the toughest weeks of the season for FloridaState as they travel to three ACC away games in an eight-day stretch. The journey begins at Tuesday, October 12. The team will fly to Maryland and play the Terrapins Wednesday night. The Tribe will catch an early flight back to Tallahassee Thursday and then hit the road again at Saturday morning as the team flies to Raleigh, NC. The Tribe and Wolfpack will play Sunday afternoon and the team will get back into Tallahassee at Sunday night. Less than 12 hours later it is back to the airport as the squad boards a plane for Miami Monday morning where they will play UM Tuesday night before returning home Wednesday to get one day of rest before North Carolina comes to town. This will be the fourth time in FSU history the Seminoles have played three consecutive ACC road games and the third time the team has done it in an eight day span. FloridaState is 1-7-1 in the previous three stints of three consecutive conference matches. The best such trip was in 1998 when FSU traveled to Maryland and beat the Terps (3-2), went to Durham and tied the Blue Devils (0-0) and then lost the finale to NC State (2-1). On top of the difficulty of playing three conference games on the road in just eight days, is the fact that FSU has played just once all season away from the Seminole Soccer Complex. That came at Duke in a 2-0 loss. On the bright side, FSU has won its last two games in Miami, it last two games in Maryland and is 1-0-1 in its last two trips to Method road. When you add it all up, in its last two trips to NC State, Maryland and Miami, FSU is 5-0-1.
A JOY-US OCCASION
Last week was a pretty good week for goalkeeper Joy McKenzie. The senior picked up the first ACC Player of the Week award of her career and McKenzie is now the second Seminole to win that award this season, more than any other school in the conference. She also picked up FSU’s first-ever SoccerFLA.com player of the week award as well. The awards are the first weekly honors McKenzie has ever received in her career and come on the heels of an outstanding week in goal for FloridaState. McKenzie shut out back-to-back ACC teams and did not allow a goal in 225 minutes of action. The Houston, TX native has now recorded six career ACC shutouts after blanking No. 22 Wake Forest and Virginia Tech in a three-day span. No other keeper in FSU history has ever recorded more than two ACC shutouts in a career and McKenzie equaled that in just one weekend. Her goalless streak now stands at 237:28, which is very impressive but nowhere near what she did in 2003. Last season, McKenzie went 739:22 without giving up a goal and 532:29 in ACC play between goals allowed. Despite just a season and a half between the pipes, McKenzie owns the records for shutouts in ACC play, consecutive shutouts, consecutive shutouts in ACC play, scoreless minutes, scoreless minutes in ACC play, career GAA and ACC wins. She is closing in on two other huge records. McKenzie is three wins away from setting the career record for victories and two shutouts away from setting a career record in that category as well.
(IN A) ROW-(IN A) ROW-(IN A) ROW YOUR BOAT
With its three wins last week, FSU has already tied the record for the third-longest win streak in school history. Earlier this season the Seminoles tied the record for the second-longest win streak ever when they won four straight matches. If the Seminoles were able to continue their success on the road this week, they could come home with the longest win streak ever beating the 2003 team who won five straight matches. FloridaState has won three straight road games twice before, once in 1996 and once in 1999. The 1996 run came against South Alabama, Jacksonville and North Florida. In 1999, Patrick Baker‘s first year on the job, he won at Stetson, at USF and at FIU. The back-to-back ACC wins last week constituted the second-longest win streak in ACC history so FSU will have a chance to match that record Wednesday night in Maryland. A winning streak isn’t the only streak on the line either. With three straight shutouts last week, FSU will have the chance to possibly set two records for consecutive shutouts and consecutive ACC shutouts as well.
Senior Joy McKenzie had a huge week in goal for FloridaState shutting out back-to-back ACC teams and not allowing a goal in 225 minutes of action. The Houston, TX native has now recorded six career ACC shutouts after blanking No. 22 Wake Forest and Virginia Tech in a three-day span. No other keeper in FSU history has ever recorded more than two ACC shutouts in a career and McKenzie equaled that in just one weekend. She started the week off by playing a half in FSU’s 2-0 win over USF giving back-up keeper Ali Mims some meaningful minutes as the redshirt sophomore made her first start in over two years. McKenzie returned to the net in FSU’s showdown with No. 22 Wake Forest and the keeper was brilliant in the shutout victory. With the Tribe ahead 1-0, Wake had two great chances in the first half but could not figure out a way to solve McKenzie. The first Demon Deacon chance came in the 22nd minute on a shot by Kristen Kemp. Kemp bent a dipping ball to the back post that McKenzie had to dive backwards to save. The all-region keeper got a fist on the shot and punched it out of danger. Wake’s next chance came in the 28th minute as Kemp and Melanie Schneider combined to send Kemp in all alone with McKenzie. McKenzie immediately charged to try and cut down the angle on the 1v-1. Her sliding save preserved the 1-0 edge and ultimately the win. The keeper then extended her personal shutout streak to 237:28 with a perfect 90 minutes in another key ACC win versus the Hokies. The 225 minutes of shutout ball last week lowered McKenzie’s GAA to 0.78 for the season and improved her career shutout total to 11.5, just two away from setting a new career record at FSU.
The center piece of an FSU defense that shutout three opponents last week as the Seminoles posted a 3-0 record with two wins coming in ACC play. Rowland not only anchored the stellar FSU defense but she recorded two assists, both game-winners. The two assists raised the defender’s assist total to seven on the year, the most of any FSU player. FSU started the week with a 2-0 shutout of USF Tuesday where Rowland and the FSU D limited USF to just two shots on goal. She then assisted on FSU’s first goal in the 27th minute as her long throw-in led to a goal for the eighth time in her short career. Versus No. 22 Wake Forest in a key ACC game, Rowland and the FSU defense shutout the Demon Deacon offense for just the second time all season. Rowland recorded another game-winning assist in FSU’s 1-0 victory but this one came on the ground. Rowland played a great ball from about 35 yards out on to the foot of Julia Schnugg inside the Wake penalty box where the sophomore scored the only goal of the night. Just a day later Rowland and her backline mates shut down a Virginia Tech offense that came into Tallahassee averaging 2.5 goals per game. They limited the Hokies to only two shots on goal. Despite being carted off the field with an injury, Rowland would return to the game and help preserve the shutout.
With consensus All-American forward Leah Gallegos out of the line-up all week, Schnugg became the focal point for the FSU offense and she stepped up to the challenge. The sophomore recorded a game-winning goal and a game-winning assist leading FSU to a 3-0 record last week with two wins coming in conference. Schnugg led FSU in goals, points, shots and shots on goal last week as she moved into a tie for the team lead in points with 11. Schnugg opened the week with a game-winning assist versus the Bulls. The play started with a long throw-in from Kelly Rowland. She found Schnugg near the right side of the 18. Schnugg flicked her service to Rachel McDowell in the middle of the box. The sophomore trapped the ball and volleyed her shot past the keeper. The goal was all FSU would need in the 2-0 win. The Tribe then faced off with No. 22 Wake Forest in a key ACC battle and Schnugg came through once again. Her goal came in the 16th minute and the play started with Kelly Rowland picking up a loose ball about 35 yards out and serving it into the WakeForest penalty box. Schnugg shielded her defender on the left side of the box allowing her to win the 50-50 ball and fired to the back post for her fourth goal of the season. The Tribe went on to make the goal stand up in a 1-0 win. Schnugg finished the week with three shots and a shot on goal in another ACC win over Virginia Tech.