Nov. 14, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
In front of the largest crowd to ever watch an NCAA Tournament game at Florida State (1003), the sixth-ranked Seminoles exploded for four second half goals as they defeated Ivy League champion Dartmouth (9-6-2) 5-0. The five goals were the most ever scored in an NCAA Tournament game by FSU as the Seminoles moved to 4-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament openers.
“We opened the game up tonight because we came here to win not to look good,” said Dartmouth head coach Ben Landis. “We didn’t come her to look good and lose narrowly. We were here to win. Things got opened up when we tried to do that. Their athleticism certainly showed through.”
For the first 45 minutes, the Big Green held a Seminole offense averaging 2.25 goals a game and 2.66 goals per game in the last 16 matches to just one goal but in a scene reminiscent of FSU’s first ever NCAA game, Florida State came out on fire in the second half as three different Seminoles accounted for four goals, three of which came in a span of 5:48.
The five goals were the most ever allowed by Dartmouth in their 15 NCAA Tournament games, which includes matches versus North Carolina in 1998 and Santa Clara in 2001. Both of those teams went on to win the National Championship those years. The five goals were also the most Dartmouth had given up this season.
“We started out not really playing as well as we could,” said McKenzie. “In the second half we were a totally different team offensively and defensively. The way we played in the second half was great and it was fun to have my first game in the NCAA Tournament be like this.”
Junior Camie Bybee scored two goals as she became the first Seminole to ever score multiple goals in a NCAA Tournament game and took over the career lead with four postseason goals. Jez Ratliff and Leah Gallegos each recorded two assists moving them both into a tie for first with three career NCAA Tournament assists.
The Seminole defense recorded their school-record ninth shutout of the year and junior Joy McKenzie posted a clean sheet for the seventh time moving her within a half a shutout of the single season record. This is the ninth time in 13 games that FSU has held an opponent without a goal.
“The defense was amazing again tonight,” said McKenzie. “Their ability to contain balls from getting through and stopping plays before they even develop makes my job so easy. The credit doesn’t just go to the back four though. All 10 players on this team are defending and nine shutouts this year is proof of that.”
“Joy (McKenzie) wasn’t tested too much except for late in the game when we tried to save our legs and had a whole different cast of personnel on the field,” said Baker. “She and the defense did a great job. I told Joy that she did a great job in her first ever NCAA Tournament game. Regardless of how the game was unfolding I wanted to give her those 90 minutes tonight and she had a wonderful effort.”
The Tribe’s four second half goals equaled a mark set in the team’s first-ever NCAA appearance against Jacksonville in 2000. Freshmen Julia Schnugg, Rachel McDowell and India Trotter joined Bybee by scoring a goal in the second half, which was the first time in FSU postseason history that three freshmen scored in a single game. Leading goal scorer Gallegos was held without a goal is still one shy of tying the single season record but as her teammates proved she isn’t the only player that can be a threat to opposing teams.
“It is exciting to see so many teammates score tonight,” said Gallegos. “I believe on any day anyone on this team is capable of scoring and eight of our ten starters have scored in the last 10 games coming into tonight. There is so much talent on this team and it was great to see people step up to the challenge in a big game like this.”
The loss was the first for the Big Green in 10 games and moved FSU to 13-3-1 since starting the year at 1-4. This is just the third FSU team to ever record 14 wins in a season and the Tribe is just one victory away from equaling the mark for most victories in a year.
“I would like to compliment Dartmouth on the way they played tonight. I thought they did an exceptional job in the first half of keeping the ball and making us work without the ball. We were fortunate to be up a goal early,” said head coach Patrick Baker who improved to 6-3 in the NCAA Tournament as FSU’s head coach. “They are a fine compliment for the Ivy League and are a true champion.
“As the game wore on I think our speed, endurance and athleticism took over a little bit. We challenged our kids at halftime, some individually and some collectively and I think that showed in the second half.”
As effective as FSU was in the second half, it was Schnugg’s goal in the 10th minute that turned out to be the game-winner. Defender Teresa Rivera made a great run up the left side line and fed Gallegos the ball. The sophomore sent it across the face of the net and right on to the foot of a wide open Schnugg standing in front of an empty goal.
“T (Teresa Rivera) did a great job of pushing the ball up from the back up to Leah (Gallegos) and she did a great job getting the ball in front of the goal,” said Schnugg. “I just needed to finish it off. It was open and I put it away. We have been working a lot on bringing the ball up from the back and I am just glad I could get the first goal of the night.”
“I thought the first goal was crucial,” said Baker. “It was a great sequence and Julia (Schnugg) stepped up. She has been fairly close as of late but to step up and hit one early was great.”
The Seminoles couldn’t add to their lead in the first half as Dartmouth remained within striking distance as the teams went to the locker room.
“At halftime we came into the locker room with a lot of confidence. I thought we played with them really well,” said Dartmouth senior Janet Light. “We came into the game and we weren’t sure what we were going to find. We were expecting a good team and they were a very good team. We definitely had a fair amount of possession. We wanted to go at them in the second half.”
As much as Dartmouth wanted to attack and play for the win in the second 45, it was the Tribe who came out looking to build on their lead. Just 12 minutes into the period Gallegos gutted the Dartmouth defense with a ball straight down the middle of the pitch and right in stride to a streaking Schnugg. The freshman carried the ball into the box where goalie Anne Marbarger was charging. The keeper was able to just slide at Schnugg’s feet and stop the breakaway opportunity.
Six minutes later the Tribe would capitalize. The goal came on a poor clearance by the Big Green defense that was due to Schnugg’s pressure. The Alamo, CA native charged the defender causing her clearance to go way into the air but barely outside the 18. Bybee was there waiting for the ball to come down and she knocked her header shot over the keeper and in at the far post.
“I thought Camie’s (Bybee) was the one that put us in a great position. It gave us the cushion and from there we started to play like we are capable of playing and that was exciting to see. The goals then just continued to come.”
The goals did begin to come and at an alarming rate for Dartmouth. Within six minutes starting at the 71 minute mark, FSU had gone from a 2-0 lead to 5-0 ahead. The third goal came off a deflected Gallegos shot. The ball caromed off a DC defender and ricocheted to Trotter. The freshman took one touch through the defense and scored at the far post.
Three minutes later Oklahomans Ratliff and Bybee combined to put FSU in front 4-0. Ratliff made a great run down the right side and sent a long pass through the middle of the field and about 22 yards from goal. On its way to Bybee, Schnugg stepped over the pass, holding the Dartmouth defense for long enough that Bybee could get a touch. Her first touch split the defense right down the middle and she stuck the goal at the far post past the charging keeper.
“I saw Jez coming down the side and with her pace I knew she was going to get a good cross off,” said Bybee. “Julia stepped over the ball and I saw it coming. I some how beat the defender and the keeper charged. I put it in the right corner.”
“Camie tries that move all the time in practice and it never works,” said Baker. “I could tell it was coming from seeing Camie play enough. It was set up beautifully for that and as soon as she rounded her Camie was able to tuck the keeper and that showed a lot of composure.”
The last goal of the evening came just 1:33 later and it was started by a great Amber Tollefson pass to Ratliff on the left side end line. The junior used her pace to turn the corner and fired a shot that was deflected across the goal and right to a wide-open McDowell. The freshman was all alone and tapped in the first goal of her career.
“I was really nervous about hitting it over. It felt like it was in slow motion because I was concentrating really hard on just getting it on frame,” said McDowell. “It was a great ball by Jez (Ratliff). It was a great run by Jez. Pretty much, it was all Jez and I just toed it in. It is always exciting to get your first collegiate goal no matter when it comes. What made it so special for me was that three freshmen (Trotter, Schnugg and McDowell) all got their first ever NCAA Tournament goals on the same night.”
The Seminoles advance to face Auburn (14-3-3) in the second round of the Tallahassee regional. This is third straight year that the Tigers and Seminoles will face off in the NCAA Tournament. Last year FSU moved into the round of 16 after a 2-1 win over the Tigers in Tallahassee. In 2001, Florida State opened the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 win over Auburn at Clemson, SC. Both times FSU has moved into the round of 16, the win has come against an SEC school (Florida in 2000 and Auburn in 2002).
“On paper, these were the two teams most people thought were going to advance. I am sure they feel there is some unfinished business because when they looked at the scoreboard during the national anthem and saw the 2002 Sweet 16 banner, that win last year was one of the steps for us,” said Baker. “I am sure they feel it is fitting that they are back here in Tallahassee in position to put themselves in the round of 16.”
The round of 32 game is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. and tickets are $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for students (3-18) and for seniors (50+). For more information on the NCAA Tournament or Seminole soccer, please log on to the official athletic site for the Florida State University Department of Athletics at www.seminoles.com.