Sept. 29, 2005
Charlottesville, VA – The similarities between last Thursday’s game versus No. 1 North Carolina and tonight’s match with Virginia are eerie. Once again it will be a game between two top 10 teams and for the second consecutive week Florida State will be battling history. While FSU has a program win over the Tar Heels, they will enter tonight’s game with UVA 0-11-1 all-time against the Cavs. The Seminoles have lost seven straight one-goal decisions to Virginia in ACC play so for the second time in seven days the Seminoles won’t just be battling one of the nation’s top teams but their past as well.
“Those of us who have been around the program know the history and are aware that we have never beaten Virginia,” said redshirt junior Sarah Rosseau. “I think its going to be a challenge going to their stadium but I think this team can handle pressure well. We showed that against Florida, LMU and despite the final score, against UNC as well. We have talented players who can come in and get a feel for the game in the first 10 or 15 minutes and establish the type of game we would like to play.”
In six of FSU’s losses to Virginia, the Cavs have scored the game-tying or game-winning goal with under 10:00 remaining in the match. In four of those six losses Virginia has scored the goal with less than 2:00 remaining. While players like Rosseau, Kelly Rowland, Teresa Rivera and India Trotter have experienced the heartbreak first hand, the 2005 Seminoles enter the game with more starters that have never played Virginia than players who have. That unfamiliarity extends to the coaching staff as well.
“I didn’t even know this program had lost that many close games to Virginia until you just mentioned it,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “It doesn’t affect me at all. We are just looking forward to getting to Charlottesville, putting our group out on the field and competing. I like the psychological dimension of this team in close games. We have done well in those situations. I haven’t given the history of this series any consideration.”
While Krikorian may not be familiar with the series history, he is quite familiar with a number of Cavalier players. The former U-19 U.S. National Team boss coached many of the Cav players. He is also familiar with Virginia from his time as the head coach at the University of Hartford where he posted a 2-1 record versus UVA.
“I know a number of their players,” said Krikorian. “They are very talented but we probably know them a little more than the next person so we will need to use that familiarity to our advantage. They are so talented and they are also well organized and well coached. It will be a battle for us.
“It is going to be a great game. I have been to the University of Virginia a number of times and it is a great atmosphere. It is a nice play to play and obviously they have a nice team. So we are really looking forward to tonight.”
The Cavaliers are one of just two teams that rank ahead of Florida State for total ACC wins since the 2001 season. Virginia opened ACC play with two big wins over Wake Forest and Duke last weekend. The Cavaliers are the reigning ACC Champions and are a consensus top 10 squad. After starting the season 3-2-1, Virginia has now won four consecutive games while ranking 12th in the nation in scoring offense.
“They are a talented group,” said Krikorian. “They have a lot of attacking personalities. They can come at you in a lot of different ways and directions. We are going to have to slow them down a little bit. When we get the ball we are going to have to hang on to it. That will make them have to work on defending rather than coming at us. We will see if we can find some seams in their defense.”
This will be the first Thursday/Sunday ACC travel weekend of the season for Florida State. Over its first 10 seasons, FSU had only played back-to-back ACC road games nine times and only three times have the games come in a span of four days or fewer. Since 1998 the Seminoles have played three sets of consecutive conference road games and posted a 2-2-2 record in those matches.
“It is going to be a long weekend with two tough games,” said Rosseau. “We all enjoy being around each other so that is going to help. It can be really difficult playing two consecutive ACC games especially on the road. While Virginia is highly-ranked we know how tough Virginia Tech is as well. Being able to bring a high level of intensity and focus to both matches will be a key.”
Florida State enters the game 5-0 in 2005 on the road, which ties the school record for consecutive road wins. The record was first set in 1996 as that Seminole squad also opened the year 5-0 on the road before losing its first road game of the year in the conference at Duke. The Seminoles have gone almost a year since losing its last road contest. In its last eight road games, FSU has posted a school record mark of 7-0-1. The last time the Garnet and Gold lost a road game was October 1, 2004 versus Duke.
“We are pretty comfortable playing on the road,” said Rosseau. “We obviously love to play at home in front of our fans but it is always a good feeling to go into another team’s stadium and beat them. We have done a good job so far playing away from home. We have scored goals and been solid defensively. So there is a confidence level with this team playing away from home.”
Virginia will look to start its ACC campaign 3-0 for the first time since 1999 and go for its 11th straight regular season win versus FSU Thursday night. Live stats will be available via Game Tracker at the official athletic site for Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.