Oct. 22, 2002
Tallahassee, FL –
The 24th-ranked Seminole soccer team ended one streak and continued another versus Jacksonville Tuesday night. The Seminoles (9-4-3, 2-2-1) downed the Dolphins (13-2-2) 3-1 ending JU’s 15-game unbeaten streak, which dates back to the opening day of the 2002 season. The Tribe, on the other hand, set two important records Tuesday as they scored at least one goal in their 15th straight game and also established a new single-season attendance record with 8,904 fans so far this season. The win over Jacksonville also pushed FSU to 5-0-0 versus in-state competition in 2002 and marks the second time in three years that the Tribe has swept its in-state rivals.
Cindy Schofield, a 2001 All-ACC first team selection, recorded the sixth multi-goal game of her career as she tallied goals number eight and nine on the year. The All-American has now scored all nine of her goals in the last ten games. Sophomore Katie Beal, a 2001 first team freshman All-American, recorded the first multi-point and multi-assist game of her career in just her second start and sophomore Jez Ratliff recorded her third and fourth points in the last two games. The Oklahoma native, playing primarily in the midfield, scored her fifth goal of the season, which equaled her goal total from her freshman season when she was named to the All-ACC rookie team.
“Katie Beal set up our first two goals versus NC State in a very similar fashion as she did tonight with Cindy (Schofield) to put us up 3-1,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “It is also great to see Cindy playing strong here at the end of the season. She is really starting to come out of her shell and we are starting to score a lot of goals, which is nice. We fell like we have that type of firepower and we proved that last year. We were a little hit-and-miss for a while but it seems we are getting hot at the right time.”
The Tribe dominated statistically Tuesday night out shooting the Dolphins 17 to 7, taking eight corners compared to just three for JU and the FSU defense limited Jacksonville to just two shots on goal. This is the 11th time in 16 games that FSU has limited its opponent to less than five corners in a game.
“This was a good win for us,” said head Baker. “They are a great team and they came in with a great game plan. They were patient defensively and they didn’t allow us to get in behind them. I thought they did a good job.
“Fortunately, we were able to solve their midfield and their backline tonight. We got great service. We had a great ball from Summer (Corum). Amber (Tollefson) went end line and served in a great ball for Cindy (Schofield). Then Katie Beal had a nice service for our third goal of the night.”
Florida State opened the game by possessing the ball and choosing their moments to run at the patient Dolphin backline. The first chance of the match came for FSU in the 12th minute. The initial service was cleared out by JU but junior Kristin Boyce headed the ball back into the box and towards the goal. Schofield then headed the ball into the middle of the penalty area where a group of players, including three Seminoles, were fighting for possession. Jacksonville was unable to clear the ball but none of the Seminole players were able to get off a clean strike.
Three minutes later JU’s Inge Heiremans sent a dangerous cross from the far left side through the FSU 18-yard box. The ball was headed to Vanessa Illanes, JU’s leading scorer, but sophomore keeper Kerry York (9-3-3) made a tremendous dive to cut off the cross and end the threat.
On the ensuing counterattack, freshman sensation Leah Gallegos won a loose ball down in the right corner of the pitch. She worked her way into space and found Schofield eight yards out from goal at the far post. The senior one timed the shot but JU keeper Stephanie Fowler (13-1-2) was there to make the stop.
Just moments after Schofield’s volley, the FSU offense would get on the board. Beal started the play by sending junior Summer Corum endline. Corum looked up and found Ratliff making a run at the back post. The Oklahoma native sent her header shot back to the other side of the net easily beating Fowler and staking FSU to the 1-0 lead.
“I saw Summer (Corum) getting endline and I know when she does that she usually gets a good cross off,” said Ratliff. “She hit a great ball and I tried to get to it as fast as I could. I think I could have hit it with my foot but I was able to slip it in at the backpost off the header.”
Ratliff, making her first career start in the wide midfield after starting 16 games up top, has been a nightmare for opposing defenses since making the switch last week at NC State. In two games, she has a goal and two assists and is now just two points shy of equaling her total from last season in eight fewer matches.
“That was the position (wide midfielder) I always played before coming to Florida State,” said Ratliff. “Last year I was able to get some playing time up front coming in behind Cindy (Schofield) and Maren Vik Edvardsen. This year I’ve had the opportunity to get back in the midfield a little more and it has been working out so far. I think my greatest asset is my speed and I am able to utilize it a little more out wide.”
Just under two minutes later though, JU was able to get the equalizer tying the game at 1-1. The play started with Illanes making a left side run. The senior then found Heiremans at the top of the box just to the right side of the goal. The Belgium native fired a wicked shot to the backpost that caught the iron and bounced into the net evening the match.
“We scored a really nice goal and then unfortunately we made a mistake in the back and they made us pay for it,” said Baker. “We gave up another big five goal. We seem to have given those up all year.”
Florida State looked to reclaim the lead in the 24th minute. Midfielder Amber Tollefson made a great run down the left side of the pitch and served a ball into the box that Fowler charged out to cut off. The cross bent away from the keeper as it traveled to the backpost. Fowler was able to get a hand on it but it landed at the feet of senior midfielder Jenny Garcia. The Miramar, FL native fired a shot at the vacated net but it was blocked before it got in.
Five minutes later Tollefson would once again set FSU up with the chance to move in front. The Boca Raton, FL native befuddled three JU defenders on the left side of the pitch as she worked herself into open space. She served another beautiful ball towards the far post where Schofield was waiting. The most prolific goal scorer in Seminole soccer history headed it into the empty side of the net pushing the Tribe back into the lead.
“That goal was all Amber (Tollefson),” said Schofield. “She and Boyce ran a nice piece of combination on the far side and then she just did her player and served the ball. I knew it was coming if I sat at the backpost and she served a great ball in. It was an easy goal due to the play Amber made.”
The Garnet and Gold almost moved out to a 3-1 lead on another Meredith Jones corner kick. The senior, who recorded a goal and an assist of her corners versus then No. 19 NC State, looked to get her second assist of the season as she drove a low-liner to the near post. Schofield was there waiting for the cross just as she was in Raleigh, NC but her deflection went just wide of the goal.
With under 10:00 remaining in the half, Schofield was at it again. Beal made a run down the center of the pitch and split the JU defense with a pass down the seam right onto Schofield’s foot. The striker took a couple of steps and then drove a shot to the far post beating Fowler.
“We both picked our heads up and saw each other,” said Schofield. “I saw her look and I was going. Honestly, I had no idea where the defender was and she hit that ball so hard that I just kind of got a touch on it. All of a sudden I was past the defender and the keeper stayed on her line and I went far post. But Beal played such a great ball in that I didn’t have to do much with it.”
“We worked a lot on that over the last three or four practice sessions and it just carried over into the game,” said Beal. “It seemed to work tonight. Cindy (Schofield) and I made eye contact and there was a big hole in the defense. I just played it and she made a great touch and scored.”
After recording one assist all of last season when she was named to the All-ACC rookie team, Beal recorded two in one game Tuesday night. The Alexandria, VA native missed almost half of the 2002 season due to mono and has been working to get back into playing shape over the last month. She returned to the starting line-up versus JU for only the second time this year and made an immediate impact.
“I feel a lot better,” said Beal. “I feel like things are finally starting to come along and I am getting back to where I was before I got sick.”
Schofield’s two goals gave her six multi-goal games in her career, an FSU record, and after going goal-less in the first six matches of the season, the senior from Lakeland, FL has scored all nine of her goals in the last ten games. On top of that, FSU has scored three or more goals seven times in that same span.
“The team is starting to find a groove offensively,” said Schofield. “We are starting to find out what works for this particular group and how we are going to be successful. I think that is why the goals are starting to come for everyone. It is a total team effort. We are playing well and finding ways to win.”
For the fifth time in the last seven games the FSU defense and York limited an opponent to just one goal. They also held JU to just two shots on goal, which tied a season-low the FSU defense set back in September versus USF. The Dolphins seven shots were just one more than the season-low six shots that FSU limited NC State to just three days before.
“Our offense is creating good quality chances and I think we are getting better defensively each time out,” said Baker. “We are still giving up a goal here or there but we are still working at it and the defense is doing enough to allow us to be victorious.”
Florida State has now posted back-to-back wins by a combined score of 8-2. After falling to No. 2 North Carolina and No. 14 Wake Forest, the Garnet and Gold has responded over the last two matches.
“The Wake Forest loss was heart-breaking because we fought back from being 2-0 down and then they get the game-winner with less than three minutes left in double OT. That was tough,” said Baker. “A lot of people look at the 5-1 score with UNC and think we got our butts kicked. On the scoreboard we did but anyone who saw that game knows we were in that thing. We know scores mean a lot but I think this group has responded very well to that.
“Everybody is asking what’s wrong with Florida State. We have a win over No. 17 Clemson, we’ve beaten Florida and we have a good win over an NC State team that beat Carolina and was ranked 19th when we played them. With tonight’s result we’ve now defeated all five teams on our schedule from Florida. We feel like we are doing pretty good. We’ve played teams from the Pac-10, the SEC, the Big 12 and obviously from our own conference. At the end of the season, we have responded very well to the adversity we have faced.”
The Seminoles will travel to Maryland this Friday to face the 16th-ranked Terps in a crucial conference match. Maryland is 3-2-0 in the ACC and is currently sitting just a half a game in front of FSU in the standings. The Tribe will complete their road schedule two days later in Virginia versus George Mason. The team finishes the regular season at home against Virginia Saturday, November 11. The Tribe 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. For more information on the 21st-ranked FSU soccer team, please visit the official website for the Florida State University athletic department at www.seminoles.com.