Aug. 30, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The 2002 Seminole soccer team did everything they wanted to do on opening night except score a goal. Florida State (0-0-1) out shot Oresgon State (0-0-1) 23 to 10, took 11 corners compared to just two for OSU and recorded the program’s first-ever opening day shutout but the game ended in a 0-0 tie after 100 minutes. Beaver keeper Jo Fletcher saved 10 FSU shots and kept her team in the game after a relentless Seminole attack kept coming at her as the Beavers held on for the draw in front of the sixth-largest crowd in Seminole Soccer history (954) and the second-largest opening day crowd ever.
“I was really nervous coming into tonight because we hadn’t trained well on Thursday and based on our one meeting with OSU, I really rate Steve (Fennah) as a coach and his team,” said head coach Patrick Baker who remained undefeated in overtime (4-0-5) after Friday’s draw. “Their keeper played brilliantly. Fletcher was in a different class tonight. At times it seemed she was single-handidly keeping them in the game. When we create that many chances we usually are able to score against most teams.”
All-ACC first team forward Cindy Schofield showed the form that made her an honorable mention All-American in 2001 as she lead the squad with six shots and four shots on goal. The ACC’s leading goal scorer in 2001 had her chances Friday but was just unable to sneak one past Fletcher.
“We created opportunities and did everything possible except score,” said Schofield. “We had chances from everywhere on the field but we just have to stick it when the opportunity is there.”
The Seminoles came out of the box with surprising consistency and effectiveness for the first 10 minutes of the season. In just the fifth minute of the match junior midfielder Amber Tollefson sent sophomore Jez Ratliff down the left wing. Ratliff sent a high cross into the center of the 18-yard box that Schofiled headed just over the crossbar.
After two more well organized attacks in the first 10 minutes, FSU almost jumped in front again in the 14th-minute. Camie Bybee connected with fellow Oklahoman Ratliff behind the Beaver defense just to the right of the goal. The sophomore turned to goal and fired a shot that was deflected and headed into the side of the net but was just inches wide.
“I think we played so much better tonight as a team than we did a week a ago when we beat Georgia in the preseason,” said Schofield. “During the first 15 minutes I was like, ‘wow, we are a good team’. I think we just have to do a better job of putting it in the back of the net.”
After surviving the initial offensive barrage by FSU, Oregon State responded with a chance of their own in the 35th minute. Midfielder Lindsey Beem sent a laser from outside the box that Seminole keeper Kerry York saved by knocking into and over the crossbar.
The Tribe responded immediately as two Seminole newcomers hooked up in an attempt to put FSU in front. Freshman Leah Gallegos sent Ali Ferreri down the right side of the pitch where she drove endline and sent a dangerous cross that was headed to two charging Seminoles in the center of the box. But Fletcher once again saved the day as she was just able to get to the cross before it reached its intended targets.
York, who recorded seven saves on the night, came up big again for Florida State in the waning moments off the first half. Oregon State forward Katie Henderson found Beem at the back post where the sophomore attempted to slip the ball into the side netting before York made the diving save.
“I was very excited about what we were able to do tonight especially defensively,” said Baker. “I thought they were really dangerous just four or five times tonight and in 110 minutes against a good team, that’s not too bad. I thought our midfielders and forwards played very well. Jenny Garcia had a great game and everytime we defended well we were able to get out quickly in transition and start to make things happen.”
One of the few serious chances OSU created came right off the bat in the second period. York came up with another big save from close range but she was unable to hold on to the rebound as the ball was sent back in heading to a vacated part of the goal. Before Oregon State could celebrate, all-region defender Kristin Boyce swept the ball off of the line to keep the game tied.
Florida State applied the pressure again and in the 64th minute as junior Summer Corum made a brilliant run down the far sideline as she made two Beavers miss and then found Schofield at the top of the 18 where the senior was making a run to goal. Schofield fired a low hard shot but Fletcher was there once again.
The Seminoles then began a flurry of close chances beginning in the 75th minute when Tollefson lofted a soft touch pass over the OSU defense and right to Schofield. The senior was unable to get much power on the shot as Fletcher hauled in the attempt.
Just a minute later, Schofield sent Corum in behind the Oregon State backline. The junior made a long diagonal run to goal with the ball and seemed to have solved Fletcher but the senior keeper from England made a sliding stop once again.
“The last game I had that was this frustrating was probably Jacksonville last season,” said Schofield. “I know it will come and I’m not really worried. I’m sure I’ll take advantage of these opportunities Sunday.”
Florida State had one last chance to end the game before OT in the 88th minute. With her back to the goal, Tollefson turned on a pass in the center of the box and had Fletcher beat but the shot sailed just wide at the near post as the game moved into extra time.
Just eight minutes into the first overtime, Bybee nearky ended the game off of another brilliant feed from Corum. Bybee gathered the pass inside of the 18-yard box and lost the defender marking her with a great spin move. After creating some space for herself, she fired a shot to the far post the beat Fletcher but the OSU defense was able to clear the ball off of the goal line.
Just two minutes later, Bybee once again almost put the nail in OSU’s coffin as she sent a brilliant pass to Schofield that freed the senior alone behind the OSU defense. Fletcher charged Schofield and was just able to deflect the shot wide of the goal.
Oregon State had one last chance to pull off the upset and it came just two minutes into the second overtime period. Stacey Mescher broke free of the Seminole defense and charged the Seminole goal just outside of the 18 in the center of the field. York immediately charged the freshman from California and stopped the point blank blast and preserved the tie.
“If we can continue to create quality chances, I think the results will be there,” said Baker. “I was very excited by tonight even though we are probably a little disappointed we didn’t get the result.”
Florida State put its quality bench on display Friday night as 18 players came into the game without the attack or defensive effort dropping off at any point in time. While Teresa Rivera was the only first-year player to get a start, four other freshmen played versus Oregon State.
“If we can continue to create quality chances, I think the results will be there. I was very excited by tonight even though we are probably a little disappointed we didn’t get the result.”
Head coach Patrick Baker
“Everyone who played showed well tonight and there were a lot players who unfortunately didn’t get into tonight’s game who worked extremely hard in training, did the fitness and are ready to play at this level,” said Baker. “It just didn’t call for those players tonight but their time is going to come.
“The one thing about playing a Sunday afternoon game after a Friday night match is you better have a deep team and find new ways to play. Those players will get their chance and we will get tested Sunday but I am excited about our depth. I am also excited that we will be able to showcase some of the depth you didn’t see tonight versus Oregon.”
Florida State returns to action Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in the final game of the 2002 FSU/Nike Invitational. The Seminoles will play host to the University of Oregon (0-1-0) who lost to Wake Forest 3-0 in Friday’s first game. The Demon Deacons will square off against OSU Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m. All games will be played at the Seminole Soccer Complex where are regular season games are free. For more information on FSU soccer, please visit www.seminoles.com.