Sept. 19, 2004
Tallahassee, FL – The fifth-ranked FSU soccer team (7-1-0, 1-0-0) is off to the best start in team history after downing FIU (2-5-0) 1-0 Sunday afternoon. The win was the fourth in a row for FSU and the Tribe shutout its fourth opponent in the last six matches. Kelly Rowland (Wallingford, PA) scored her first goal of the season as FSU out shot the Golden Panthers 23-4 and held a 10-0 edge in corner kicks.
“It is a confidence builder to start off the year at 7-1,” said senior captain Katie Beal. “We don’t have to worry about where we are at unlike last year. It is important to us to step out on the field and win every game. As a senior class it is special to make history and set the bar high for the classes to follow.”
“For our seniors, they have continually set the bar pretty high and they have accomplished quite a bit,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “It seems fitting that this would be the group to set the mark for the best start ever. It was one of the things still out there for them to accomplish now all that is left is to win some championships. I am happy we are healthy and fit and we hope to have a great week of practice as we turn our attention to No. 3 Virginia.”
Joy McKenzie (Houston, TX) and Ali Mims (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) combined on FSU’s fourth shutout of the year as the Seminole defense has now allowed just one goal in the last 392:49. The Seminoles recorded 20 or more shots for the fourth straight game and the Tribe has 100 shots in the last four contests. Florida State did struggle in the final third again as the team could not finish off its many chances.
“This was different from the Clemson game where we created a large number of chances as well,” said Baker. “Finishing has to be the key for us. It is one thing to get the chances and another thing to finish them and that is what gets frustrating. I told the team that despite being off to the best start ever at 7-1, nobody feels like celebrating based on how we preformed.
“It was very much like Stetson. We did a lot of good things from the back up to the 18 but were unable to finish. We had some players out but everyone has their situations and there are good enough players that made this team that need to step up. They better be ready versus Virginia next week.”
While the offense struggled to finish, the Seminole backline is taking shape once again. Coming off the most successful season in team history, the back four and goalkeepers are in the midst of four shutouts in the last six games. Versus FIU, the defense limited the Golden Panthers to no shots in the opening half and the keepers were forced to make just three saves all game.
“I think we are starting to mesh really well as a group,” said Rowland. “We are on the same page and have an understanding among one another. Joy and Ali are doing a great job back there and hopefully they keep coming.”
While FIU was struggling to generate offense, FSU attacked the FIU defense all afternoon. Just 14 minutes in Golden Panther keeper Madeline Gannon (2-3-0) was tested and as she did most of the afternoon, the freshman came up big. Marion Cagle (Tallahassee, FL) sent a great ball inside the right portion of the FIU 18-yard box. Jez Ratliff (Norman, OK) ran on to the pass but Gannon charged out and slid at the feet of the senior just before she could reach the service.
Julia Schnugg (Alamo, CA) set up another chance when she played a ball to Toby Ranck (Wayne, PA). The sophomore sent a service through the center of the box where two Seminoles were waiting but neither was able to get a shot off.
Rowland, who had the game-winner, was close to putting FSU on top in the 24th minute. Beal (Alexandria, VA) sent a long ball over the top of an FIU defense that was pulling out of the final third. Rowland, who held up to beat an offsides call, got to the pass ahead of Gannon and fired a shot from the endline on the far right side that grazed off the cross bar.
Ratliff and Schnugg almost combined on a goal in the 27th minute as Ratliff got around the defense on the far side endline. She played the ball back to Schnugg who one-timed the shot over top of the goal.
Rowland had her hand in another close call as she slid a great ball down the middle of the pitch and into the box. Holly Peltzer (Lake Mary, FL) ran onto the service but Gannon was once again quick off her line and just beat the streaking freshman to the pass.
FSU finally broke on top just 2:23 before half. The goal came off a short corner when Sage Sizemore (Cape Coral, FL), playing in her first game of the year due to injury, played a ball to Schnugg at the edge of the box. She passed it right back to Sizemore who launched a cross to Rowland at the backpost. The sophomore buried the header for seventh goal of her career.
“It was a good feeling to finally play,” said Sizemore. “Getting into the game meant more to me than the assist did. I saw Kelly open and I remember coach telling us to find Kelly’s head inside the 18 and I got it there fortunately. Kelly had a great header to finish it off.”
“Sage played a great ball and all I had to do was look up and head ot back the other way,” said Rowland. “We had 23 shots today and one was bound to go in sooner or later. It feels good to help the team get a win. We should have had a few more but it just takes one to win sometimes.”
Gannon frustrated the Tribe offense again in the second half. In the 66th minute Ratliff centered the ball to Rachel McDowell (Littleton, CO). The sophomore got the shot on goal but Gannon was right there to make the stop with a diving save.
In the 68th minute it was FSU put back-to-back shots right on the goal frame. The first came on Alli Ferreri’s (Coral Springs, FL) wide-open header shot that banged off the crossbar. McDowell then followed that shot with one of her own that hit the post and bounced out of danger.
McDowell had another opportunity in the 74th minute. A throw-in was played across the top of the box to McDowell. The midfielder got a crack and went near post but the shot was inches wide beating a diving Gannon.
Florida State’s next scheduled game will be versus No. 3 Virginia Friday, September 249 at 7:00 p.m. Virginia is the only ACC team that Florida State has never defeated. A win would give the Tribe just its second-ever 2-0 start in ACC play. The game will be played at the Seminole Soccer Complex and admission is free to all regular season games. Live Internet audio and Live Stats will be available on the official athletic site for Florida State, www.seminoles.com.