Oct. 10, 2004
Tallahassee, FL – The 14th-ranked FSU soccer team completed its perfect week going 3-0 after recording its second straight ACC win, a 1-0 victory over Virginia Tech (7-5-0, 3-3-0) Sunday. The win moves FSU to 10-3-0 and 3-2-0 in the conference. The start is the best in program history and with three consecutive shutouts, the Tribe raised its goalless streak to 282:28. Florida State, after dropping back-to-back ACC games, now sits in fourth place in the conference and will hit the road for two crucial conference games next week.
“They talk about it in the NFL and college football, it is amazing what a week can do,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “I really believe that this week may have really changed the complexion of our season.”
Jez Ratliff (Norman, OK) scored her team-leading fifth goal of the season and her fourth game-winner as she scored in the 47th minute. Melissa Samokishyn (Littleton, CO) and Toby Ranck (Wayne, PA) assisted on the goal which came just moments after freshman All-American Kelly Rowland (Wallingford, PA) was carted off the field. The sophomore defender would later return to the match.
“Today was a huge win against a very good Virginia Tech team,” said Baker. “We played a lot of people today and got a lot of good play from a variety of good players. Like Friday’s win over Wake Forest, this was a team effort. It was great that Jez stepped up right after Kelly’s injury. It gave us a boost and changed the complexion of the game. I thought her goal came at a pretty critical moment.”
“Any time you see a teammate get carted off the field you want to respond to it,” said Ratliff. “After was watched Kelly leave the field, we all felt like we wanted to get something done quickly.”
Once again the Seminole defense led the way for FSU recording the team’s seventh shutout of the year, which is just two away from the single season record set by this same group last season. Joy McKenzie (9-3-0, 3-3-0) raised her shutout mark to four for the season and with 11.5 shutouts, she is just two clean sheets away from setting a new career record at FSU.
“Coming into this week it was a big team goal to record some shutouts,” said senior defender Katie Beal. “We were giving up some soft goals early on and this week has definitely boosted our confidence as a group. It was a very positive step going into two tough road ACC games this week.”
“With the back four the way it is, it is a pretty veteran group with such a good goalkeeper in Joy behind them,” said Baker. “We gave up some goals early we felt that we shouldn’t have allowed but we have clamped it down a little bit. But it is everybody. It is team defense and one of the most underrated defenders on this team is India Trotter. She tracks so well and just gets into great position to help the back four. When Kelly went down everyone stepped up and that was a great team effort in the back.”
Florida State held distinct advantages in shots (15-7) and shots on goal (8-2) and the Tribe started attacking the Hokies just nine minutes into the match. Julia Schnugg (Alamo, CA), who had both of FSU’s ACC game-winners coming into Sunday’s game, collected a long pass inside the Virginia Tech 18. She shielded a defender and fired from 16 yards out but Mallory Soldner, who recorded seven saves, was on the spot to haul in the shot.
Schnugg had another great chance in the 33rd minute when she picked up a loose ball about 40 yards from the Virginia Tech goal. She dribbled all the way to the top of the 18 and fired a dipping ball that just didn’t get down far enough and sailed over the crossbar.
Ranck had a chance at her second goal of the year when she picked the ball at the top of the 18 in the 41st minute. She freed herself and then shot at Soldner. The Tech keeper misjudged the ball and got crossed up but made a last minute adjustment allowing her to punch the attempt out of danger.
Just a minute later Florida State had another chance, this one coming off the foot of Armani Rice (Parker, CO). Camie Bybee (Oklahoma City, OK), playing in her second game since returning from injury, found Schnugg inside the right side of the penalty box. She back heeled a pass to Rice who blasted a shot across the face of the goal and to the backpost where it just missed the upper corner of the Hokie net.
With time winding down in the first half Beal had a chance to break the scoreless tie with a free kick about 35 yards out from goal. The senior put her shot right on frame forcing Soldner to make another save punching yet another Seminole shot out of danger.
The second half started ominously when Rowland was laid out for almost 10 minutes after injuring her lower leg. After Rowland, who arguably is the team’s MVP in 2004, was carted off the pitch FSU capitalized on its first chance of the half. Samokishyn, who came in to replace Rowland, picked up a ball on the right side of the pitch and played a ball to Ranck. The sophomore found Ratliff standing unmarked on the right side of the six-yard box and finished the chance off by scoring at the back post.
“The ball came out of the box to me and I just wanted to play it back in to keep the pressure on their defense,” said Samokishyn. “I saw Toby running in and played the ball on the ground to her. Toby hit it and Jez finished it off.”
“Melissa and Toby combined outside the box and Toby tapped it in to me,” said Ratliff. “I came back to get it and didn’t feel anyone on my back. I took a touch into space and hit it first time.”
The goal gives Ratliff five on the season and she has now scored at least five goals in all four of her seasons at FSU. She has 11 points and has moved into fourth place on the career goal and points list at FSU. She is now second all-time for career game-winning goals in ACC play as well. The goal was Ratliff’s first in seven games breaking a scoreless streak of almost a month.
“It had been a while since I scored but we haven’t been scoring goals in huge numbers as a team so we are all trying to improve in that area,” said Ratliff. “I just want to help this team get wins and today I was fortunate to be able to do that.”
The goal seemed to spark the Tribe offense as they went on the attack again and almost converted in the 50th minute. Ratliff was involved again as she took on a Hokie player on the endline and found Bybee inside the box. The senior back heeled a pass to Ranck who bent a shot just around the post.
In the 66th minute it was Alli Ferreri’s (Coral Springs, FL) turn to test the Tech defense. Bybee sent a great ball to Ferreri hitting the junior forward in stride. The striker’s shot was fired low to the backpost but just missed.
Soldner kept Virginia Tech in the game again in the 74th minute. Samokishyn played a ball into Bybee at the top of the 18. The attacking midfielder beat a defender, made some room for herself and fired on goal. Soldner once again dove and got a fist on the shot keeping it out of her goal.
The Tribe had one last chance in the 85th minute. Samokishyn played another great ball, this one a diagonal pass across the field and right to Schnugg. The sophomore settled it out of the air and fired but Soldner came up with the last of her seven saves.
Florida State heads on the road for two games this week. The Tribe will travel to College Park to face No. 23 Maryland (5-3-1, 2-3-1) Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. The Seminoles will finish off the week at NC State (7-4-2, 1-4-0) Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Game Tracker will be available for both matches through the official athletic website for Florida State University at seminoles.com.