Nov. 18, 2001
Clemson, SC –
For the second straight season the FSU soccer team has seen its season come to a conclusion at the hands of the Clemson Tigers at Riggs Field. Last year, the Seminoles were eliminated 2-0 from the Sweet 16 by the Tigers and this year Clemson eliminated FSU from the round of 32 by scoring a goal on its only shot in the second half of a game dominated for the most part by Florida State. The 16th-ranked Seminoles finish the season with a program-best record of 15-8-1 while No. 18 Clemson (14-4-1) advances to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of today’s Florida/Georgia match in Gainesville.
“First of all, I want to congratulate Clemson for playing a great game today,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “There wasn’t one point today that I felt we weren’t going to win this game. I feel for our kids because they did everything we asked of them and played a fantastic game but didn’t get the result.”
After a string of slow starts, FSU came out of the gate quickly against the Tigers Sunday morning. The Seminoles took the ball at the opening whistle and Clemson didn’t cross midfield until almost four minutes had passed. Although they didn’t establish a dangerous chance, FSU did set a tone for a match in which they controlled play for large stretches of the time. The Tigers had two dangerous counter attacks after FSU’s initial run but neither materialized into a quality scoring opportunity.
The Seminoles had their best chance to take the lead mid-way through the first half when a quick throw-in caught the Tigers off guard and sprung Maren Vik Edvardsen in alone behind the Clemson defense. She headed to the near post where Tiger keeper Katie Cason charged the senior from Oslo, Norway. The two collided near the end line but Vik Edvardsen somehow found a way to get a shot off that bounced off of the near post. All-ACC second team member Amber Tollefson picked up the rebound and fired another shot to the open net but the apparent goal was cleared off of the line by Clemson’s Paige Ledford.
As much as they dictated play in the first half, the Seminoles came out in the second period and totally clamped down on the Clemson offense rarely letting the Tigers even get near to their third of the field. For the half, Florida State out-shot Clemson nine to one, took three shots on goal compared to one for the Tigers and took two more corner kicks than did Clemson.
Just five minutes into the second 45 minutes, sophomore Summer Corum sent a high cross into the Tiger penalty box. Carson came out to collect the bouncing cross but misjudged it and couldn’t reel in the loose ball. All-ACC first teamer Cindy Schofield ran onto the ball and fired a one-timer that was headed into the Clemson goal but was once again cleared of the line by the Clemson defense this time by Audria Lyons.
Three minutes later senior Heather Dyche collected the ball after Clemson attempted to clear a corner kick out of its box. The defender beat two Tiger defenders on the left side of the pitch and sent in a perfect cross to Schofield sitting in front of the Clemson net. The junior took one touch to settle the ball but couldn’t get a shot off before the Clemson defense swarmed around her.
Florida State continued to keep possession and won almost every 50/50 ball throughout the second half. The Seminoles defense held three of the conference’s best front-runners in check while continuing to send passes through the midfield that launched dangerous offensive attacks for FSU.
The Tigers didn’t get their first real chance of the second half until the 65th minute when Lindsey Browne tracked down an errant Clemson pass inside of the FSU 18-yard box. Freshman keeper Ali Mims, who entered the game in the second half in the Seminoles usual goalie rotation, charged the pass and knocked it away from Browne before smothering the loose ball
The Seminoles once again mounted a dangerous attack in the 72nd-minute when Kristin Boyce and Amber Tollefson combined on a beautiful give-and-go that sprung Boyce free down the left sideline. She made a run deep into the Clemson end and then sent a cross to a waiting Vik Edvardsen about nine yards out from goal. Vik Edvardsen volleyed a shot to the far post that seemed to beat Carson but went just wide of the post.
Less than five minutes later, Browne made just Clemson’s second run into FSU territory down the same sideline before getting end line and crossing a ball into the FSU penalty box. Both defender Heather Dyche and Mims seemed to think the other was going to clear the ball out of danger but neither did. The Tigers’ Paige Ledford snuck in between the two and redirected the ball to the far post scoring the only goal of the match.
“It seemed like there was a miscommunication between Mims and Dyche back there and give Ledford credit for getting in between the two and making something happen,” said Baker. “Clemson took advantage of its opportunity and that was th difference in the match.”
The Seminoles, somewhat stunned to find themselves down in the match, continued to put pressure on the Clemson defense as time wound down. With just over a minute remaining on the clock, FSU had another dangerous opportunity when Dyche sent a free kick from nearly 50-yards out into Vik Edvardsen inside the Clemson penalty box. Vik Edvardsen headed the shot towards goal but Carson was there to end the threat and the season for FSU.
“I really feel for this great senior class,” said an emotional Baker. “They came to this program when it was a joke and stuck with it and they leave here after gong to two NCAA Tournaments and to an ACC Championship. They are leaving us with a top 20 program and I really feel for them after today’s result.
. The loss Sunday put an end to the best regular season, best conference season, best ACC Tournament run and best overall record in the seven-year history of the program. In the past two years, Florida State soccer has made its first two trips ever to the NCAA Tournament, been to a Sweet 16, been to the ACC Championship and set the two best records in the history of the school. The Seminoles have also established more than 80 program firsts, team and individual records over the past two seasons under Baker. Florida State will lose five seniors and just three starters from this years NCAA Tournament team. The Seminoles will however return the leading point scorer in the ACC in Schofield, All-ACC second team selection Tollefson and three freshmen that were named to the All-ACC rookie team.