April 10, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
The 14th-ranked Florida State soccer team is in California this weekend as it warps-up the 2003 spring season. The Tribe is in Los Angeles Thursday to face Loyola-Marymount and then will travel to San Diego Saturday to play USD. The Seminoles are undefeated this spring and have not allowed a goal, outscoring the competition 16-0.
“This year we were able to take Leah (Gallegos) home to play in Los Angeles versus Loyola-Marymount. Then we are going to travel down to beautiful San Diego and play USD,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “It’s a great trip and we are getting to see two teams we don’t normally face. They are very good squads and we don’t know much about them. It will be fun to see how we fare versus their systems.”
The Seminoles latest spring victory came Saturday afternoon as FSU defeated Jacksonville University 5-0. Camie Bybee and Leah Gallegos each scored twice and Jez Ratliff added a goal in the win. Joy McKenzie and Ali Mims combined to shut down the JU offense and raise the team’s shutout streak to 470 minutes this spring.
“I was really pleased with a majority of the game,” said Baker. “I thought we possessed really well. There were large stretches during that game where we were doing some really good things. At the same time we are on the verge of being that much more dynamic at other times. It was great to see us get out to a good start early on. Camie (Bybee) and Jez (Ratliff) both scored great goals.”
With the loss of two-time 1st Team All-ACC selection Cindy Schofield up top, the Tribe seems to still be finding a way to score goals. One of Bybee’s two goals came as she beat two or three Dolphins on the dribble. She then tucked the keeper with the inside of her foot. Ratliff’s goal was a laser shot in the upper 90 after dribbling her way across the top of the box.
“Leah (Gallegos) and Alli (Ferreri) have been working so well together up top and have been very dangerous but I have been so impressed with our midfield play. It is one of our strongest areas,” said Baker. “With three starters in Jez, Camie and Amber (Tollefson) returning and Erica Lewis and Sarah Rosseau also in the mix and doing a great job, we are really in good shape.
“Jez has manufactured some goals for herself. Amber had two goals last weekend in Boca and played well. Then she probably played better against Jacksonville but didn’t score. So much of our play making came from our backs in Boca. Against Jacksonville, there was a much better balance. We were able to mix up what we did and that made us a better team.”
The one player Baker has been very pleased with in the midfield is Bybee. The junior-to-be saw her numbers fall off from her spectacular freshman season when she scored 10 goals and tallied 27 points. She was named a 2nd Team Freshman All-American by SoccerBuzz and was a member of the All-ACC Rookie Team and this spring she seems to be playing the best soccer of her FSU career.
“Camie is one player who is really playing up to her capabilities this spring. Ever since the alumna game, she has made her presence felt. Not just in the way she has played but the fact that she is scoring goals,” said Baker. “We recruited her because she was one of the few play making midfielders that had the intangible of being a great scorer. She strikes the ball so well and can create chances for herself and others on a regular basis. She has scored some very good goals this spring.”
Another theme this spring has been focusing on defense with the loss of Ashlee Fontes and Meredith Jones who combined to start 44 games for the Tribe last season. While Katie Beal, Kristin Boyce and Teresa Rivera are returning, Baker is still working on getting the entire team back to the level they played at in 2000 when they set the program record for fewest goals allowed.
“Jacksonville was close to breaking us down a couple of times but we either made a good play or there was a minor mistake by them. Besides that, I thought we did a good job in the back again,” said Baker. “It is really starting to solidify itself back there. That’s exciting because we lost two players due to graduation in our backline. For that group to be doing what they are doing now is a good sign early on.”
Despite over 400 minutes of shutout soccer, defense will still be a theme this weekend in California. That is one area Baker will be watching closely but not the only area of emphasis. There are still some things he would like to see his offense do better.
“The biggest thing we want to accomplish is to continue to build upon the things we have worked on during training,” said Baker. “If you are going to travel that far, you want to play well and hopefully get results but as long as we work on the things we have stressed that will be enough. I want to see them focus on the defensive principles we have tried to integrate all spring. I want to see them working on combination play with our second and third attacker. If they show that those things are being layered into the game, I will be happy.”
This is the fourth straight year Baker has taken his team out west for spring games. The Seminoles have played the likes of USC, UCLA, Santa Clara and Cal in their two previous trips to California. Last year the team played at Nike headquarters in Oregon versus the Ducks and Oregon State.
“We started taking big trips in the spring in part for recruiting. We needed to create an awareness in California,” said Baker. “From a competitive standpoint, that is where some of the best soccer is being played. A lot of California players stay in state so there are a lot of very good teams. We are going to see two good teams this weekend.”
Ultimately the spring games will give the coaches a better idea of where the players stand when they break for summer Monday. With only two starting positions open in the field, a spot as the team’s holding midfielder and at right back, the five play dates are invaluable to the staff in evaluating how the team will open in the fall.
“These games are providing the coaches with feedback on who should start, what roles are changing, what new roles are emerging and it is going to allow us to let players know where they stand when they leave the spring and begin to prepare themselves for the fall,” said Baker.
For information on how the Seminoles fare in California and a complete wrap-up of the spring soccer season, please check seminoles.com for all of your FSU soccer information. Florida State’s official athletic home on the web is located at www.seminoles.com.