November 2, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
There have been a lot of amazing stories written in just two short years at the Seminole Soccer Complex. There was a win over No. 2 North Carolina and No. 6 Florida last year just to name a few but what happened Friday night might have been the most important chapter of all. The 24th-ranked Seminoles (12-6-0, 4-3-0) not only upset another ranked opponent at home, No. 21 Maryland (10-5-2, 3-4-0), but they wrapped up third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference and secured their best conference season ever with the win. Florida State’s four conference victories this year are just one shy of the five the program had amassed in the previous six years combined.
Not only did the Seminoles set records for the best conference record ever and the highest finish in the conference, the team also completed its regular season home schedule undefeated with a perfect 8-0 record. On a night when 825 fans came out to honor the 2001 senior class, the team paid its biggest tribute with the record-setting win.
“With what was on the line tonight, this win is the ultimate tribute to this senior class that was here through some really hard times,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “This win is a compliment to our seniors. To be able to finally finish a conference season in the upper echelon of the ACC is such an amazing accomplishment if you look at were this program came from. Its remarkable to think that four wins this year almost matches what we had accomplished in six previous years combined. A lot of people probably don’t understand the magnitude of what this group has accomplished.”
After an emotional ceremony honoring FSU’s five seniors, the Seminoles found it tough creating many dangerous chances against a Terrapin defense that had allowed just 10 goals before tonight’s match and was ranked in the top 10 in the nation for allowing the fewest goals. After 20 minutes, both teams had gotten just one shot off and Maryland’s Audra Poulin had the only real chance but her re-direction of a Kim King pass was pushed wide of the Seminole net.
“It was a little hard at the start because we were all pretty emotional,” said senior defender Christy Peacock. “Seeing all of our parents and teammates on the field just before the start made it kind of tough to get out there and start quickly.”
After a little bit of a sluggish start, Florida State began to settle into an offensive rhythm and broke on top 1-0 in the 22nd minute. Sophomore Summer Corum fought off three Maryland defenders on the right side of the Terrapin penalty box and was able to touch a pass over to senior Maren Vik Edvardsen on the end line. Vik Edvardsen then sent a high lofting ball to the back post over Maryland keeper Ali Wolff’s head. Sophomore Amber Tollefson was waiting at the far post and was able to knock in the goal past Wolff whose was scrambling to get back into position. The goal was her team-leading fourth of the season in ACC play and the assist extended Vik Edvardsen’s single season record to nine on the year.
“That was really exciting,” said Vik Edvardsen. “I was happy to be able to contribute to the win tonight considering how big of an accomplishment this was for our program.”
Florida State took the 1-0 lead to the half with two huge statistics backing them up on their way to the locker room. The Seminoles, under head coach Patrick Baker, were 26-1-1 when they scored first and 18-1-1 when leading at half but that one loss came at Virginia the last time the Seminoles stepped on the field.
“We’ve been up 2-1 to Wake and 2-1 to Virginia and lost both of those games,” said Baker. “I told our group at half that we have to close the deal tonight. I told them that we had to learn something from our last two ACC games because outside of North Carolina anyone in the ACC can beat anyone else on any given day. We knew Maryland was going to play with a lot of pride in the second half and they did.”
The Terps came out immediately in the second half and began pushing for the equalizer and their chance to wrap-up third place in the conference. Just six minutes in, Valerie Lawerence latched on to a cross at the back post of the FSU goal and sent a header wide keeping FSU in front 1-0.
Florida State countered Maryland’s pressure and almost made it 2-0 just nine minutes in. Florida State was awarded a free kick after freshman Camie Bybee dribbled past four Maryland defenders and was then pulled down about 22 yards away from the Terrapin goal. Senior Heather Dyche sent a free kick to the back post where Bybee headed the shot just wide of the Maryland net.
Just nine minutes later though, the Seminoles padded their lead as Cindy Schofield tied FSU’s single season goal record with her ACC-leading 14th goal of the year. The play began with Tollefson sending Schofield in behind the Maryland defense on the left wing about 30 yards away from the Terps net. As the junior striker attempted to run on to the pass, Wolff came off of her line to try to beat Schofield to the ball. By the time the Seminole forward got to the ball, Wolff was already 23 yards out of her goal and Schofield pushed the ball around the senior keeper firing into the empty Maryland net. The assist was the fourth for Tollefson in ACC competition this year and it extended her team leading point total in ACC games to 12 for the season. With the goal, Schofield now has set the single season record for points, tied the record for goals and is on the verge of establishing an FSU record for goals per game.
Once again Maryland fought back and almost got back into the match in the 64th minute when Lindsay Niehaus’ shot to the far post was blocked right in front of the goal by the FSU defense. Maryland had its best chance though in the 71st minute when they were awarded a controversial penalty kick off of a questionable call at the top of the FSU penalty box. Niehaus sent a blast to the left post but the ball hit the frame and bounced all the way to the other side of the field keeping the Seminoles in front.
After Schofield just missed putting FSU up 3-0 and scoring her 15th goal of the season on a chip shot over a charging Ali Wolff in the 75th minute, Maryland mounted a last ditch effort to get back into the match. In the 83rd minute, sophomore Katie Ludwig picked up a loose ball at the top of the FSU box and fired a shot that bounced off of the crossbar and bounced out of play.
“A lot of our players stepped up tonight,” said Baker. “We bent and almost broke on a few occasions. We were good and lucky tonight, which isn’t a bad combination at the end of the season. Give Maryland a lot of credit for the way they fought tonight. They created chances and never stopped fighting to get back into the game but it just didn’t happen for them tonight.”
Besides the PK, freshman keeper, and Maryland native, Kerry York wasn’t seriously challenged on too many occasions. It was the first start for the Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year since suffering a knee injury almost a month ago against NC State and wound up being the her first career conference shutout.
“This is exactly what I was hoping for,” said York. “The defense deserves so much credit and they help me out so much. They basically shut down their offense. Heather (Dyche) and Christy (Peacock) were big in the back tonight so that helped me so much. It feels really good to get my first ACC shutout the first night out after coming back from an injury that was the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome in this sport.”
With the win, Florida State secured third place in the conference after never finishing higher than seventh in any of the previous six seasons. The Seminoles, who were tabbed to finish fifth in the preseason conference coach’s poll, now face a rematch with Maryland in the first round of the conference tournament that begins next week in Winston-Salem, NC.
“It is awesome to finish third in the conference after all we’ve been through here,” said senior Heather Dyche. “What we accomplished in the conference this season means all of the hard work we put in meant something. We didn’t want to leave this year with the same type of conference record we had when we first got here so this win tonight makes everything worthwhile.”
The Seminoles will look to finish with the best regular season record in program history when they travel to Jacksonville Saturday, November 4 to face the JU Dolphins at 2:00 p.m. A win would move the team to 13-6 on the year besting the previous record of 12-6-1 set in 2000 and 1996. For more information on the Seminole soccer team, visit www.seminoles.com.