Oct. 5, 2004
Tallahassee, FL – The last time the Florida State soccer team lost back-to-back matches was 32 games ago when the Tribe started the 2003 season at 1-4. The Seminoles responded to that adversity by going 16-3-1 on the way to the school’s first ever College Cup. The Tribe (7-3-0, 1-2-0) is at another crossroad this season despite equaling the best start in school history through 10 games. The Seminoles have been shutout in consecutive losses for the first time in 137 straight games and they are below .500 in the ACC for the first time in two years.
“I hope we can respond to adversity like we did last season,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “We talked about being a good loser after the Virginia game and by that I mean we need to learn from a loss. Due to the competitive nature of this conference there are going to be a couple of losses but you don’t want them back-to-back. Can we learn from the previous game and step out and make sure those things don’t happen again. For whatever reason it did happen again versus Duke.
“By no means are we back to square one. We are going to wipe the slate clean a little bit. We had a great day of competition Sunday and we refined some things Monday. Hopefully we can step out and just play good soccer. If we play the way we are capable of playing, a lot of other little things will fall into place.”
Florida State will get a chance to avoid the first three-game losing streak of Baker’s FSU career tonight at 7:00 p.m. when the Seminoles host USF (1-4-2). The Tribe has won five in a row against the Bulls and FSU leads the all-time series 6-0-1. The game comes just three days following the 2-0 loss to No. 9 Duke. A stark contrast to the week the team had to wait to play after a loss to No. 3 Virginia.
“I think for this group it is probably a good thing we get to step back out tonight,” said Baker. “I think last week we had wished we could have had a game a little quicker than we did after the Virginia loss. Any time you have a disappointing loss you want to get back out there and play somebody to try and change the complexion.”
“I think it is good to get back out on the field,” said Julia Schnugg. “We need to improve on a lot of things that weren’t working at Duke Friday night. USF will be a great test for us after a couple of hard losses.”
The main area of concern for Florida State is an offense that was shutout in back-to-back losses for the first time in six years. The Seminole defense is giving up less than a goal per game and is facing a USF squad that is scoring just 0.43 goals per contest. The Seminoles 1.6 goals per game is the lowest average in school history.
“Last year as an offense we did a great job of getting behind defenses,” said Schnugg. “We need to work on that aspect of our game this year. We need to concentrate on the things we do well while continuing to improve in other areas. I think we need to utilize our strengths.”
A couple other factors have contributed to the Tribe not scoring a goal in the last 227 minutes of play. First, Duke and Virginia, both top 10 squads, have shutout 16 of the 22 opponents they have faced in 2004 and secondly, the Tribe is realizing how difficult it is to generate offense with Camie Bybee out of the line-up due to injury and Leah Gallegos playing but on an injured knee.
“We played to very good teams in Virginia and Duke who have shutout a lot of other good teams,” said Baker. “Not having Leah at 100% and not having one of the best attacking minds on your team (Camie Bybee) available means you are going to have a different look and that’s what we have right now. We are trying to make it work. We were able to do that to a certain degree up until Virginia. We need to put a line-up out there that will give us the best chance to be successful.”
Despite the losses, Baker feels the team is not down on itself but they are upset about the losses even if they came to two top 10 squads. The Tribe head coach has had a chance to talk with numerous players since the team played Duke and he feels this team has too much pride to not respond with three huge games this week starting with USF tonight.
“Based on a lot of heart-to-heart discussions and phone calls since Friday night, we have some pretty accomplished and proud players,” said Baker. “Maybe Virginia was written off as a team we have never beaten before but then you lose to a very good Duke team on the road and you are 1-2 in the ACC. There are a lot of big games out there still left and it is a huge wake up call. The players are realizing that last year there was so little room for error. Maybe they thought we had a bigger margin of error this season but we don’t. We are doing ourselves a disservice if we approach it that way.”
“It is really important to step out tonight and find a way to get a win,” said senior captain Katie Beal. “We need to boost our confidence, which will be tough to do versus a tough team like USF. We need to let the country know that we are still a top team.”
Tonight’s match will kick at 7:00 p.m. and there is never an admission charge to regular season games at the Seminole Soccer Complex. For more information on Florida State soccer, please logo on to the official athletic website for Florida State at seminoles.com.