Oct. 21, 2005
Tallahassee, FL – For the first time in 2005 the sixth-ranked FSU soccer team will play a home game on Friday night. What was once a tradition in Tallahassee and all across the ACC has disappeared for the most part with conference expansion. Friday night games were moved to Thursday’s but when 18th-ranked Wake Forest (8-5-1, 3-4-0) comes to town, the Seminoles (12-2-0, 5-2-0) will get another chance to experience one of the great traditions of FSU soccer.
“I am excited for Friday night because the atmosphere is so great,” said senior Teresa Rivera. “We have had some great crowds this season especially on Thursday nights but there is just something special about Friday’s here. It adds to the excitement that this is a huge ACC game.”
Under previous head coach Patrick Baker, the Seminoles made their living playing on Friday nights. Since 1999, the Seminoles are a stellar 18-4-3 at home on Friday nights. At one point, FSU was undefeated in 14 straight Friday night games from 1999 to 2002. In the last seven years, Florida State is 8-4 on Friday nights at home versus ranked opponents. Not only have Friday night games been a showcase for big wins, they have always been the best nights for attendance as well. Since 2002, there have been 13 crowds of 1,000 or more fans for Friday night games at the Seminole Soccer Complex and FSU has posted a 10-3 record in those matches.
“Friday nights are always really special,” said senior Alli Ferreri. “There is always a great atmosphere and great crowds. We have preformed well in those games over the years as well. It is just a different experience.”
“It helps playing on Friday’s because you really get a full week of preparation,” said Rivera. “We have had some success in those games too because of the fan support we get. Our fans motivate us and get us excited to play. That translates to good performances.”
Florida State will need to continue its Friday night success if the team has any hopes of extending its record four-game ACC win streak. In its last four matches, FSU has scored three goals in each game and won all those contests by at least two goals. Those are all program records. Florida State’s ACC win streak is currently tied with Duke’s as the longest active streak in the conference.
“This is a big ACC game for both teams,” said Rivera. “These games can go either way. It will come down to who shows up the most prepared to play. We are all looking forward to playing Wake. We played them in the spring and they beat us. We want to prove we are a different team than they saw earlier this year.”
The Wake Forest game is one of three straight home games for FSU that will all be played in a span of six days. The first two, versus Wake and Duke, will be crucial matches as far as seeding goes for the upcoming conference tournament. The Seminoles have shown no signs of letting down this season. After falling to top five squads North Carolina and Virginia in a span of a week, FSU has responded with this record four-game winning streak.
“Everyone is looking forward to closing out the regular season strong,” said Ferreri. “We have some important ACC games left and that starts with Wake on Friday. We are fighting for our place in the standings right now. The team is up for the challenge and it seems that there is a good energy right now. We got over that midseason hump and are ready to play.”
The Seminoles enter Friday night in the midst of the best offensive roll in program history in ACC play. In all five of FSU’s conference wins this season, the team has scored three goals and in each of those games they have won by at least a two-goal margin. Florida State has already set a new record for goals scored in a season in ACC play and they have won more games by multiple goals just this year than in the 10 previous years combined.
“We have been putting the ball in the back of the net lately and that feels good,” said sophomore Libby Gianeskis. “It gives us confidence to know we are not only creating opportunities but finishing them as well. The more we do that the better our chances are throughout the game.
“I see so much talent on our offense and so many players are capable of putting the ball in the back of the net. With India (Trotter) attacking more she is a huge weapon. She is creating a lot of opportunities for us. Then you have Sel (Kuralay) who has been amazing this year. She can play with her back to the goal and is doing a great job getting in the box. Viola’s (Odebrecht) services have been perfect. She can thread a needle with her passes.”
While the offense has been cruising, the defense has held up its end as well. The Seminole backline along with keeper Ali Mims have allowed just four goals in their last six conference matches and only two during the four-game win streak. The team is allowing just 0.78 goals per game and is threatening to become the first team in school history to average giving up less than a goal per match.
“I think one of the reasons we have been successful is that we approach each game with the same mentality defensively,” said Rivera. “We want to be technical and we need to stay focused. It will be important to limit their chances because they are a dangerous team. We know that our offense will give us a chance to win the game if we do our job in the back.”
“Our defense has been on all season,” said Gianeskis. “They are so organized in the back. We always have confidence in that group. They not only keep the ball out of the net but they are helping us be successful offensively in getting forward.”
After opening this important home stand versus Wake Forest Friday at 7:00 p.m., eighth-ranked Duke (11-2-1, 5-2-0) comes to town for a Sunday afternoon showdown between the two teams tied for third in the conference. The home schedule wraps-up Tuesday night versus the Citadel. Florida State will honor its two seniors before the 7:00 p.m. match.
Live radio coverage will be available for the games versus Duke and the Citadel. Game Tracker will be available for all three matches. Both services are free and available at www.seminoles.com, the official athletic website for Florida State athletics.