Oct. 27, 2002
Fairfax, VA –
The 24th-ranked FSU soccer team finished off a perfect 3-0-0 week with a 3-1 victory over George Mason (7-10-0) Sunday afternoon. Florida State used two goals from senior Cindy Schofield, her 11th and 12th of the season, and a Leah Gallegos goal, her third game-winner of the year, to move to 11-4-3 on the season. Florida State is now guaranteed of the fewest regular season loses in school history and with a win over Virginia in the season finale, FSU would complete the most successful regular season in program history.
The Seminoles dominated the game versus the Patriots taking a season-high 14 shots on goal and forced GMU’s two keepers to make a season-high 11 saves for a Seminole opponent. Florida State also held Mason to just two corner kicks, which is the second-fewest for any FSU opponent this year. Overall, the Tribe out shot Mason 20-10, took 14 corners to just two for GMU and held a 14-5 edge in shots on goal.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy with this being our third game in six days,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “I felt our legs were going to get heavy because it was a really soggy pitch and Mason didn’t have a game Friday. Conditions weren’t ideal but we tried to knock it around and play good soccer.
“I thought we started out well. They were dangerous on just one occasion. We had a great set piece where Leah (Gallegos) just ripped it at their goal. We were getting endline. We were getting corners and services into the box. We just weren’t clean enough to be able to manufacture a goal in that first 45:00.”
The win was the fourth in-a-row for FSU matching a season-high for consecutive victories. It is the second time in 2002 that FSU has won four straight matches. Florida State is now just one win away from equaling the longest winning streak in program history. The Seminoles are 8-2-1 in their last 11 matches and the Tribe also scored in its 17th-consecutive game Sunday, which is also a team record.
“Playing well at the end of the year especially in the conference is so important,” said Baker. “How you are playing at the end of the season is something the NCAA Tournament selection committee also looks at. We faltered down the stretch a little last year but I think we have done a lot of good things the last two weeks this year.
“Defensively we are playing much better. Cindy (Schofield) is getting hot and Leah (Gallegos) is elevating her game. Jenny Garcia has been a rock in the central midfield and our wide players are making a difference. We are hitting on more cylinders now than we were at the start of the year.”
In the first 10:00 Mason made just one run at the FSU goal and most of the action took place in the GMU end of the field with the Seminoles taking three corners in that span. In the 14th minute the Tribe had its first serious challenge on the GMU goal. Katie Beal served a free kick from about 23 yards out to the backpost. The ball was headed back to the center of the box by Schofield to a waiting Jez Ratliff. Ratliff got a look at the goal but her shot was blocked.
Just one minute later, Beal served another ball, this one off a corner, to Ratliff at the
near post. The sophomore volleyed a shot on frame but Patriot defender Kerri Beck saved the ball as it was heading into the net.
Just moments later, Gallegos went endline and as she turned to goal but the ball was knocked away by the GMU defender. Gallegos picked it back up and dribbled past two defenders to the right side of the goal about nine yards out. Keeper Naomi Hines came out to cut down Gallegos’ angle and was able to just clip the ball and knock it wide.
Florida State looked to take the lead again in the 19th minute. Jenny Garcia collected the ball 23 yards out on the right side of the penalty box. She pulled the trigger immediately but the ball just missed as it went wide of the upper corner at the near post.
The Patriots got their first dangerous opportunity in the 35th minute. Former Seminole Janet Burke found Katy Robertson making a run down the right wing and into the FSU 18-yard box. Goalkeeper Kerry York charged the streaking forward and blocked the shot but she couldn’t hold on to the ball. Burke followed up but her shot was blocked by Beal before it could get on frame.
Following GMU’s first serious chance, Gallegos went on the prowl again. She took the ball in on the right side at the top of the box. She put a move on her defender who fell down and started to dribble through the box to the six yard box. She laid the ball off to Alli Ferreri about 15 yards out but the freshman couldn’t get the shot off.
Gallegos had another chance as she once again dribbled through the GMU box beating four Patriot defenders. As she neared the goal she was unable to pull the trigger.
Florida State had its best chance of the half in the 43rd minute off a direct free kick from about 20 yards out. Gallegos took the kick and fired a line drive to the right side of the net. Naomi Hines made a diving stop but couldn’t corral the rebound. The rebound went right to Katie Talley but Hines got herself back in position and stopped the shot.
Just a minute later Shannon Coe got behind the George Mason defense. She attempted to turn to goal but slipped on the soggy Mason field. She regained control of the ball and pulled it back out finding Talley making a run on the wing. The midfielder went endline and sent a deep cross to the backpost but Hines hauled it in before the Seminoles could get to the service.
“We played pretty well in the first half. We moved the ball around but we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” said Schofield. “We had some chances but I don’t think we were pulling the trigger as much as we would have liked. We weren’t quite as dangerous as we were in the second half.”
In the second half, the Seminoles came out and immediately started attacking again. In the second frame, the Seminoles out shot Mason 13-4, took nine corners to none for GMU and forced new keeper Sarah Coughlin into seven saves. They also tallied all three of their goals.
“At halftime we talked about how it might be one of those one-goal days for them or for us,” said Baker. “I told our kids to keep doing what they are doing but just be a little more refined. Just be a little more accurate with the first touch, with the quality of the runs and with our services. I think a lot of those little things added up for us in the second half and we became real dangerous.
“Cindy (Schofield) and Leah (Gallegos) started to be a little more aggressive. They started to turn and run at them instead of having their back to the goal. Both of them made defenders miss. We did a lot of good things in the second half.”
Less than 10 minutes in, the Seminoles got the go-ahead goal. Gallegos started the play off by dribbling into the box. The keeper came out to cut the angle off but the forward dribbled around her. The Los Angeles native couldn’t get off a shot due to a group of Mason defenders rushing back to cover the open net so she sent a pass across the box to Schofield. She found the senior at the backpost and Schofield tucked it into the open net.
“There was a service in and I heard Amber (Tollefson) calling for it at the backpost,” said Schofield. “I flicked it on and Leah (Gallegos) got to it first and the keeper came out. She beat the keeper and played it across the box. The goal was wide open and I was able to stick it.”
Three minutes later FSU almost had their second of the game as Schofield sent Ratliff in behind the Mason defense on the right side. Ratliff sent a service to Gallegos at the far post and her sliding shot was just saved by Coughlin although the Seminoles felt it had crossed the line.
The Tribe attacked the Mason net again as Schofield came close to getting her second of the game. The 2001 All-ACC first team selection fired a shot from about 22 yards out that dipped over Coughlin but caught the crossbar and bounced out of play.
Just two minutes later, FSU went on top 2-0. Schofield found Gallegos behind the defense on the right side of the pitch. Gallegos immediately turned to goal and made a move on the keeper. Her shot found the back of the net and was the seventh goal of the year for the freshman.
“Everything went so quickly,” said Gallegos. “Cindy (Schofield) flicked it to me and I was able to get to the pass. I just touched it past the keeper. Cindy made that goal happen.”
The goal moved Gallegos up to fifth on FSU’s all-time goal scoring list for freshmen. She now has seven on the year and her goal versus the Patriots was her first in the last seven games.
“Something has been happening with me and the post lately. I’m not exactly sure what that is,” said Gallegos. “It just keeps getting in my way. It felt good to get that one and start to get back on track.”
Two minutes after the second goal, FSU almost had its third. Senior Meredith Jones sent a bending corner on goal but Coughlin was just able to get a fist on the shot and knock it over the crossbar.
Jones almost got FSU on the board again off another corner in the 71st minute. The Pennsylvania native sent this corner to the backpost where Schofield latched on to the service and sent the header toward the side of the goal. Before it could cross the line, Pamela Kent just knocked it wide of the post.
Amber Tollefson almost got one past Coughlin just a minute later. She collected the pass on the right side of the box about 19 yards from goal. She fired to the upper corner at the near post but the shot sailed just wide.
George Mason closed the gap in the 79th minute as they attacked down the right side of the field. The Patriots were just outside the 18 when York came out to try and stop the attack. With the ball just outside of the box, York was unable to collect it. GMU worked a pass to Katy McGee at the top of the 18 where she fired a shot into the net before York could get back into position.
In the 88th minute it looked as if the Seminoles would get their third goal off of a Beal corner kick. The service landed right at the feet of Ratliff in front of the keeper but Coughlin came up with a big save. The rebound went to Talley who dug the ball out from a group of defenders but couldn’t get it into the net.
With GMU just one goal behind, FSU went back on the attack in search of a cushion. In the 90th minute they got another one, this time off a Beal free kick. The Virginia native, playing in her home state, sent a perfect service down the center of the pitch to Schofield in the box. The senior pushed the header past the keeper for the seventh multi-goal game of her career.
“There wasn’t much time left on the clock and Katie (Beal) played a beautiful ball in,” said Schofield. “I don’t think the defender knew I was in behind her and the service kind of took an awkward bounce. It was too high to volley but too low to head normally. I kind of just bent down and redirected it with my head because the keeper was charging out to get to it.”
Florida State finishes the regular season at home against Virginia (9-5-2, 2-3-0) Saturday, November 11. After a 0-3-0 start in the ACC, Virginia has won back-to-back conference matches and is the only ACC team FSU has never defeated. With a win, FSU could finish as high as second in the ACC, which would be a program best finish. The Garnet and Gold is currently less than 1100 fans away from reaching the 10,000 fan mark for the first time in school history and will look to break that mark on Senior Night against the Cavs.
After facing Virginia, Florida State will host the 2002 ACC Women’s Soccer Championships for the first time in school history. The nation’s premiere conference tournament runs from Thursday, November 7 to Sunday, November 11 and tickets are now available on-line at www.seminoles.com or by calling the Seminole ticket office at 1-888-FSU-NoLE.