Sept. 23, 2001
TALAHASSEE, Fla. –
When Florida State and NC State (2-4-0, 0-2) meet it usually means overtime and for the third straight year that was case but this time the Seminoles scored just 5:32 in to extra time to down the Wolfpack 2-1. By virtue of the win, Florida State (5-2, 2-0) sits alone atop the ACC standings and is off to the best start since the 1996 squad began the year with a 6-1-0 record.
“Part of me is excited, part of me feels fortunate and part of me feels like we should have put the game away early when we had the chance. Needless to say I am experiencing a lot of different emotions right now,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “We found a way to win again. I am so excited that we are 2-0 in the ACC for the first time ever. It’s hard to believe since we are so accustomed to being seventh or eighth every year. There are still a lot of games left and you could easily start 2-0 and end up 2-5 when all is said and done but this has been a great week with wins over Clemson and NC State.”
The Seminoles bucked a recent trend of falling behind early in games and took a 1-0 lead on the Wolfpack with just 2:02 off of the clock in the first half. Senior Maren Vik Edvardsen found Camie Bybee who sent Jez Ratliff in behind the NC State defense. Wolfpack keeper Gretchen Lear came off of her line to make the save but Ratliff pushed it past her and buried the ball into an open net on the right side of the field. The goal was the second for the highly recruited freshman and Bybee’s assist put her in the team lead for points in 2001 with nine. Vik Edvardsen, also credited with an assist on the play, now has five through six games, which beats her previous season high of four set during the 2000 campaign.
“I hope my mom was watching and didn’t get up and walk away from the TV set,” said Ratliff. “That was really exciting.”
Ratliff almost recorded her third goal of the year just moments later when she sent a volley from right in front of the Wolfpack net just over the crossbar. The Seminoles once again threatened to extend their lead when Kristin Boyce’s header off of a Vik Edvardsen corner banged off of the NC State post into the waiting arms of Lear.
NC State evened the score less than eight minutes before half off of a Lauren Bendahan corner kick. The ball was sent into the box where Kelly Blaggie collected it and sent it over to Jordan Allison who knocked it past freshman keeper Kerry York for her first goal of the year. The goal seemed to spark the Wolfpack as they came out in the second half and almost took the lead when Lydia Bojcun made a run at the Seminole defense at the top of the box. York came out and made a one-handed save sending the ball wide of the net and keeping the Seminoles even at 1-1.
The Wolfpack weren’t done yet as they staged a furious flurry of shots that started with a shot from the top of the box banging off of the Seminole post. NC State gathered the rebound and took another dangerous shot that sophomore defender Kristin Boyce blocked three yards from the goal. The Wolfpack once again picked up the rebound and pushed the shot just wide of FSU’s goal ending the threat.
York, who seemed to injure herself during pre-game warm-ups, found a way to start the game for the Seminoles but may have re-aggravated her right knee in the 57th-minute when she covered up a loose ball off of an NC State corner kick. Back-up keeper Ali Mims came in and made back-to-back big saves in the 78th-minute that kept FSU alive. German National team player Annika Schmidt tested Mims with a blast from the top of the box that Mims charged and punched out of danger and she then saved a header shot by Erin Bushey on the ensuing corner.
“This is the most exciting day for me,” said Mims who picked her first career win Sunday. “Kerry hurt herself in warm-ups and when she went down in the game I knew it was my time to step in and help my team out. I wanted to show the fans, the coaches and the whole program what I could do. It is very difficult mentally to come in during a tie game but I knew the team needed me to step up and that is what I tried to do.”
Florida State began to reassert itself and again dictate the flow of play as time wound down in the second half but was unable to find the net and get the game-winner. The Seminoles headed to overtime for the first time in 2001 but were buoyed by the fact that they had never lost an overtime game since Baker took over the squad in 1999 (2-0-3).
“I think our team’s fitness is a key in overtime games,” said Baker. “Even against North Carolina last year, who is one of the deepest and fittest teams around, we were able to pull it out in extra team. I feel good about our team’s depth. I feel good about our team’s fitness. We know some of the best fitness standards in the country and we collectively do them better than even what the national standard is. Our depth helped us Friday and I think it definitely helped us again today.”
The Seminoles immediately came out in the first overtime and dictated play and seemed to be re-energized. After both teams exchanged corner kicks the Seminoles pushed up field where Cindy Schofield broke down the NC State defense and played a perfect ball between two defenders into Ratliff. Ratliff collected the pass 10 yards in and beat the keeper as she came off of her line to close down the angle. The goal was the first game-winner of the Oklahoma native’s career and pushed her point total to eight for the season. She is now tied for the team lead with three goals.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Ratliff. “Overtime is cut throat. If they get off a good shot the game is over but it worked out for us this time thankfully.”
Despite being out shot 20-11, FSU once again controlled the play of the game for large stretches at a time and found a way to get a victory and score goals. Florida State is now one win away from tying the record for the best start in team history and has already equaled their season-high win total in conference games.
“NC State could have won this game,” said Baker. “We probably aren’t playing the best of soccer right now but when we score first we seem to do pretty well. Even though they had 20 shots, I thought they were spraying the ball around from some pretty deep parts of the field. We only had to make five saves so that’s not a bad percentage in an ACC game.”
The Seminoles return to action Friday, September 28 when they renew what has become a heated rivalry with the 20th-ranked Florida Gators (3-2-1). The Seminoles will travel to Percy Beard Stadium on the UF campus for an 8:00 p.m. game that will be televised throughout the state on the Sunshine Network. This is the first meeting between the teams since FSU traveled to Gainesville last season and knocked the Gators out of the NCAA Tournament by the score of 2-1. The Seminoles have won the last two meetings in the series after losing to the Gators the first five times the teams met.