Oct. 19, 2004
Coral Gables, FL – It took four tries but the ninth-ranked FSU soccer team will finally square off with the University of Miami tonight at 7:00 p.m. in Coral Gables, FL. The game will complete FSU’s three-game road trip and bring to a close the Tribe’s regular season road schedule for 2004. This is first conference meeting between the two schools and the game was postponed twice due to hurricanes.
“I can’t believe we are finally going to play Miami,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “This game was supposed to be the third game of the season and due to various factors – it ends up being played in the last two weeks of the regular season. It is a very important ACC game for both teams and it will be our third in six days – this has not been an easy week.”
The Seminoles are currently 11-3-1 on the season and 4-2-1 in the ACC. Florida State will have a chance tonight to record the school’s fifth ACC win in a season for the first time in school history on top of adding to the best regular season a Seminole squad has ever put together. The Seminoles record for regular season wins currently stands at 12 and the Tribe will have a chance to tie that record tonight as well.
“Setting those types of records are important to our senior class but we really are just staying focused on tonight’s game versus Miami,” said senior Marion Cagle. “We can’t afford to look at setting records or look past any opponent, especially Miami. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves but it is important for each senior class to raise the bar just that much higher and we would like to do that as well.”
Despite Miami’s 3-8-0 record and 1-6-0 mark in the ACC, the series has been very close over the years. After Miami won the first two games in the rivalry, FSU has won four straight including the most lopsided result in any of the meetings, a 7-1 FSU win in Tallahassee last season. Before that game, the last three matches had been decided by two goals or less.
“Whenever we play Miami there is always a rivalry but I am sure this year they will have the result from last season in their heads,” said Katie Beal. “We will take their best shot tonight and we are expecting a very tough game that will be as close as all our other ACC games.”
Adding to the rivalry is the familiarity between the teams. Five FSU players are from south Florida and four Hurricanes call the Miami area home. The Tribe is anticipating a large pro-Seminole crowd due to the number of family members and friends in the area.
“It is always exciting to come back to your home town to play,” said south Floridian Alli Ferreri. “All of the south Florida players have friends and family coming and that makes for an exciting atmosphere. We obviously will want to perform well in front of that type of crowd.”
Florida State will enter tonight’s match coming off its most productive offensive outing of the season since a 5-0 win over Jacksonville September 14. Florida State entered its last game versus NC State with just eight goals in its previous eight matches. Versus the Wolfpack the Seminoles exploded for three goals from three different players. Both Julia Schnugg and Jez Ratliff recorded goals and the pair have combined to score five of the Tribe’s last six goals.
“Jez and Julia have combined for 8 of our 11 game winning goals so far,” said Baker. “Jez is playing like a senior should be and is making a difference in us winning and losing. Julia has picked up her play since Leah’s (Gallegos) injury and has really started to emerge as one of the conference’s best front runners. We need them to continue to create and produce in the final third of the field.”
Florida State will have a chance to not only set a record for ACC wins and tie a record for regular season wins but the team could also set a new record for an unbeaten streak in conference games. The Seminoles are 3-0-1 in their last four ACC games tying a record set last season when the Tribe went from 1-1 in the ACC to 4-1-1. Both streaks included two road games and two home games and both streaks took FSU on the road with the possibility of setting a new unbeaten record.
“The ACC is so tough and every team is competitive year in and year out so it would be an accomplishment we could be proud of if we are able to get a win tonight,” said senior keeper Joy McKenzie. “We have played well in the conference this year and we want to just keep our level of play consistent. That is our main goal.”
The next time the Tribe will be at home is this Friday, October 22 when top-ranked North Carolina comes to town. The Heels and Seminoles finished 1-2 in the ACC regular season and conference tournament last year and the squads played two one-goal games last season. Live play-by-play through Game Tracker will be available exclusively by logging on to seminoles.com, the official athletic website for Florida State University.