October 25, 2002 - by
Seminoles On The Road For Crucial ACC Battle With No. 16 Terps

Oct. 25, 2002

College Park, MD –
Photo Gallery: FSU Soccer At The York’s House

For the second consecutive week, the 24th-ranked Seminole soccer team (9-4-3, 2-2-1) is on the road to face a higher-ranked ACC opponent. Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Florida State will face 16th-ranked Maryland (10-5-0, 3-2-0) in a crucial game for positioning within the conference. The Seminoles, looking for their third consecutive win over the Terps, could take a huge step towards locking up at least a third place finish in the ACC with a victory. The Tribe currently holds a tie-breaker advantage over Clemson and NC State and a win over the Terrapins would give FSU an edge over all the teams in the conference with two losses.

“Every conference game is big but as the season goes on and you start to establish your position in the conference, it becomes even more meaningful,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “Maryland feels that if they can run the table they can potentially win the regular season title. We, on the other hand, were below .500 and got back to even and we know the importance of moving a game over that mark. That is what tonight’s game represents for us.

“We have done a good job on the road this year. I hope our mental state of mind is there. Due to what has occurred in the last 48 hours with the events surrounding this area we have to be mentally into tonight’s game. Physically we’ll be there.”

The Seminoles are coming off back-to-back wins in which they have outscored the opposition 8-2. Last weekend, FSU went into Raleigh, NC and handed then 19th-ranked NC State a 5-1 loss. On Tuesday, the Tribe defeated a Jacksonville team that was unbeaten in 15 straight games 3-1. Over the last nine matches FSU is averaging over three goals a game and the Seminoles are in the midst of a school-record 15 game streak in which they have scored at least one goal.

“I think it is just the amount of time we have spent together,” said central midfielder Jenny Garcia. “At the beginning of the year we were experimenting up top. Leah (Gallegos) is a freshman and Cindy (Schofield) is a senior so they just needed some time to click with one another. Things are coming together really well right now. I think our confidence is building as an offense.

“There was a lot of frustration with the offense at the beginning of the season. We were creating so many chances but not finishing. Now we are creating the same amount of opportunities but are finishing at a much higher rate. There is a lot less frustration now.”

Seminole keeper Kerry York, a former Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year, and the FSU defense are also peaking at the right time. The group has allowed just one goal in five of its last seven matches and 2001 first team freshman All-American Katie Beal is now back in the mix after battling mono most of the season. York is 2-0-0 All-time versus her hometown school and she recorded the first conference shutout of her career in Tallahassee, Fl versus the Terps last year.

The FSU defense and York will need to be up to the task Friday evening versus a Maryland team that is rejuvenated offensively. Last year, UMd scored just 24 goals in 19 matches. This season the Terps have scored 36 times in just 15 games. Maryland is led offensively by junior Audra Poulin (8G 3A), freshman Ali Andrzejewski (7g 2A) and junior Katie Ludwig (7G 2A).

“I think we are playing better and it is the time of the year when we need to step it up,” said senior right back Ashlee Fontes. “I don’t thin we are there yet. The goals being scored on us, for the most part, are due to our own mistakes. If we can clean that up, we will be in good shape.”

The Florida State offense will counter with 2001 All-ACC first team selection Cindy Schofield. The senior forward has scored nine goals in the last 10 games after being held without a goal through the first six games of the year. She is joined up front by standout freshman Leah Gallegos. The Los Angeles native is the team’s second leading scorer with six goals and five assists.

Schofield, junior Amber Tollefson and sophomore Camie Bybee combined to score seven of the nine goals versus Maryland last year. Those three players accumulated 21 points in those two games versus UMd last season.

“I think we had some success against them last year because they play a flat back four and they hold their retraining line,” said co-captain Amber Tollefson. “We were able to solve that last year. We were able to play early balls in and get over their defense.

“We are going to have to match their intensity tonight. They always come out 100 MPH so we will have to match their emotion. If we can survive the first 15 minutes, I think we will be OK once the game settles down. They are a scrappy team that thrives off emotion it will be very important for us to match that.”

The game against Maryland will give FSU the chance to accomplish something that has never been done in the history of the program. If the Tribe is able to defeat the Terps, it will mark the first time in program history that a Seminole squad has won three straight games versus any ACC team. Florida State defeated Maryland 2-0 in the 2001 regular season and then defeated the Terps 7-2 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. The Seminoles have already won back-to-back regular season ACC games versus Clemson and NC State for the first time in team history and could add Maryland to that list with a win at Ludwig Field Friday.

During the last two seasons under Baker, FSU has more than doubled its win total in games versus Duke, Maryland, Clemson and NC State in just a third of the games. In their last eight meetings with those four ACC teams, FSU has gone 7-0-1 for a winning percentage of .938. Prior to the 2001 season, FSU posted just three wins against those teams in 25 matches (.107 winning percentage).

“One of the things we’ve tried to do is play well at home and make Tallahassee a tough place to play,” said Baker. “I think we have done that. We beat Clemson at home in overtime and lost to Wake Forest at home in OT. Those are two very good teams.

“I have been very proud this year of the way we have gone on the road in the conference. We have gotten results on the road in the ACC and that is very tough to do. We tied a good Duke team. We beat a good NC State team 5-1. Now we have a great opportunity against a nationally ranked team in Maryland to do something we’ve never done. We have the chance to go undefeated on the road in conference and that is an amazing feat. We have found a way to get results on the road and that is something I am very proud of.”

The Tribe will complete their road schedule Sunday in Virginia versus George Mason. The team finishes the regular season at home against Virginia Saturday, November 11. The Garnet and Gold 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.

After facing Virginia, Florida State will host the 2002 ACC Women’s Soccer Championships for the first time in school history. The nation’s premiere conference tournament runs from Thursday, November 7 to Sunday, November 11 and tickets are now available on-line at www.seminoles.com or by calling the Seminole ticket office at 1-888-FSU-NoLE.

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