Sept. 24, 2004
Tallahassee, FL – Everyone involved with the fifth-ranked Florida State soccer team knows the numbers. The Seminoles (7-1-1, 1-0-0) have a 0-10-1 record all-time versus No. 3 Virginia. The Tribe has lost the last seven ACC meetings between the teams by one goal. In six of the 10 losses Virginia (8-0-0, 1-0-0) has either tied or won the game with less than 10:00 minutes remaining and in four of those six wins the Cavaliers scored with less than two minutes left in regulation. Florida State will take another crack at winning its first-ever game in the series Friday night at 7:00 p.m. when they host the Cavaliers at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
“We all know the history but we feel very confident in how we have played against them,” said head coach Patrick Baker, who has a win over every ACC team except Virginia. “The frustrating thing is that we have not been able to get a result. It will happen at some point. Whether it is Friday night, in the ACC Tournament, the NCAA Tournament or some time next year. Eventually it will happen.”
For the Seminole seniors, they hope some time is Friday night. This group has been involved in two of the most frustrating losses against the Cavs. In 2001 as freshman, the 2004 senior class saw Virginia equalize in the 69th minute and then win the game with 1:56 on the clock. Then last season FSU once again went up 2-1 only to see UVA tie the game with 5:00 minutes remaining and then win the game with just :27 seconds remaining. Making things even worse was the fact FSU quickly attacked and hit the post on its final chance with 12 seconds remaining.
“I think we have closed the gap between the programs over the last few years but we have not been able to get the result we are looking for,” said senior Marion Cagle. “History is on their side. We will be well prepared and I know everyone on this team will step up to the challenge.”
“It would be huge to beat them because we would be 2-0 in the ACC versus two of the best teams in the conference,” said Beal.
Starting 2-0 in the conference would be huge for the Seminoles considering Virginia and Clemson were both picked to finish in the top half of the ACC along with current-No. 1 North Carolina and FSU. The Seminoles have only started out 2-0 in conference play once in team history and that came in 2001 when FSU played in its first-ever conference championship game.
“It would be really big, no question about it,” said Baker. “Not from just an historic standpoint but from the here and now standpoint. We would have protected our home field advantage while beating two top 10 teams on back-to-back Friday nights. Putting ourselves in a 2-0 start in the conference would be remarkable.”
For FSU to get that second conference win, they will have to contain the ACC’s most potent attack. The Cavaliers lead the conference with 10.62 points per game and are seventh in the nation scoring 3.38 goals per game. They will go up against an FSU defense that has shutout four of its last six opponents coming into Friday night.
“We will have to close them, stay tight and just try to limit their chances because they are a dangerous team,” said Beal. “We need to compete because we will take their best shot and they’ll take ours. Playing at home on a Friday night will be an advantage but they beat us here in 2000 on a Friday night so they know how to win here.”
Virginia has only been shutout 12 times in its last 94 games dating back to 2000 so FSU’s offense will need to help out. The Cavalier defense has allowed the second fewest goals in the ACC and they currently rank eighth in the nation in goals allowed per game. Senior Camie Bybee is the only current Seminole who has ever recorded a point against UVA as she has a goal and an assist in four games.
“We need to do two things,” said Baker. “The first thing is defending against one of the best attacking teams in the country and second thing we need to do is create enough quality scoring opportunities to be successful.”
For FSU, getting a win over Virginia would be another major step in program history. Since Baker arrived at FSU the Tribe has beaten three ACC schools for the first time in program history and defeated 14 ranked opponents, including four in the top 10. The only win FSU has ever recorded over a top five team came against North Carolina in 2000. Beating Virginia would give FSU another top five win and allow the Tribe to take another step forward in the ACC.