Oct. 28, 2004
Tallahassee, FL – Everything seemed to be going well for the 12th-ranked Seminoles on senior night. The Tribe took a 2-0 lead into half, they held UCF to one shot, no shots on goal and no corner kicks but they just couldn’t keep it up in the second half. UCF scored back-to-back goals in a span of 3:36 and then scored the game-winner with 45 seconds remaining to stun FSU at home 3-2 Thursday night.
It is the first time Florida State (12-5-1, 5-3-1) gave up a 2-0 lead and ended up losing a game since 2001 when the Tribe took a 2-0 lead into half versus Charlotte and lost that contest 4-3. It is the first time ever FSU has lost a home game after taking a 2-0 lead. The win was UCF’s (15-3-1) first over FSU since 1998 and the three goals scored by the Golden Knights were equal to the total they had combined to score in the previous five meetings between the schools.
“I told our players that at halftime the UCF coaches were challenging their players to step up,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “I thought the first goal really changed the complexion of the whole game for them. It got them back in it and they started to play at a much higher energy level. We struggled from that point on. We couldn’t get back in the game. They competed better than we did in the second half and once it was 2-2 it felt like they wanted it more. They found ways to be successful.”
The loss is the Tribe’s second loss in a row and it is the second time this year the Seminoles have had two, two-game slides. The last time that happened was 2002. Despite the setback, FSU still set the regular season record for winning percentage and tied the school record for fewest regular season losses.
“I hope this team can respond the way Florida State teams have responded in the past,” said Baker. “This season has been an interesting one. No matter who we have played, we have not been able to get any type of separation. The way the game unfolded in the second half – it has been that way all season so it shouldn’t have been a surprise. There were some good things to build on in the first half and some things we need to rectify from the second half before we head into ACC’s.
“We have no choice right now but to continue to work hard and prepare. As magical as last season was, this year every game is a battle. The difference between being successful and not is so small and we are finding that to be true. We could have lived with all the losses leading up to this point but this one will hurt for a lot of different reasons.”
Florida State dominated the first half of play and put together one of its best halves of the season. FSU led 6-1 in shots, 5-0 in shots on goal, 3-0 on corner kicks and 2-0 on the scoreboard. Golden Knight keeper Julie Snaman was forced to make three saves while Seminole keeper Joy McKenzie wasn’t tested once.
“I though the game was a tale of two halves,” said Baker. “I thought we were doing a lot of good things in the first half. We were moving the ball around. We were creating chances. We scored two nice goals. We were possessing and doing a lot of good things. We held a really good three front to just one shot.”
The Seminoles first chance came just eight minutes in on senior Katie Beal’s free kick. The central defender lofted a service to the back post and on to the head of fellow senior Camie Bybee. The Oklahoma native just missed scoring as her header was wide of the post.
Ten minutes later another Beal free kick put the Tribe in position to jump in front. She lofted another ball into the box and onto the head of sophomore Julia Schnugg this time. The Alamo, CA native was about eight yards out and blasted a header but Snaman was right there to make the point blank save.
In the 26th minute the Tribe broke through. Libby Gianeskis sent a short corner into Schnugg on the endline. The striker fed it on the first touch into senior Jez Ratliff. The wide midfielder just redirected the pass into the empty side of the net.
“That was a great pass by Jules (Julia Schnugg),” said Baker. “It was a great idea by Libby to play the short corner into Jules, which created a good chance.”
The goal vaulted Ratliff into the team lead as she notched her seventh of the year, a new personal single season high for the four-year starter. Her stay all alone atop the leader board for goals scored was short-lived as Schnugg added a personal-best seventh goal of her own just 10 minutes later.
The goal came off a Kelly Rowland throw-in to Camie Bybee. The senior was unable to get her head on the ball but the UCF defender marking her was forced to head the ball out but it came right to Schnugg. The striker one-timed a low drive to the back post scoring her seventh of the season.
After coming out of the locker room, the game changed in the 56th minute when UCF cut the lead in half. Jessalyn Withers pushed in a rebound of a blocked shot. Three minutes later it was Allison Blagriff who one-timed a failed clearance into the back of the net to equalize the game. The Golden Knights sealed the deal with less than a minute on the clock when Kendra Flock’s shot bounced off an FSU defender’s leg and ricocheted into the side netting.
UCF not only outscored FSU 3-0 in the second half but the Golden Knights out shot FSU 9-8, took three corners to just one for the Tribe and put five shots on goal compared to just three for FSU in a complete reversal of fortunes.
“In the second half it just seemed like we were too comfortable,” said Baker. “Once they got that first goal the whole game changed. We talked to our players about set pieces coming into play in the second half. When a team only gets one shot in a half, one way to get some scoring chances is on set pieces and two of their three goals came off set pieces.
“Give credit to UCF because they got three past us and a lot of teams aren’t able to do that. I feel bad for our seniors and for the team. If I know the character of this team, they will respond when we open up the ACC Tournament.”
The Seminoles officially finished in third place in the ACC after North Carolina’s win over Duke this evening. Florida State will open the conference tournament November 3 versus sixth-seeded and 21st-ranked Clemson. The Seminoles have played for two of the last three ACC Championships and the Tribe and Tar Heels are the only two teams to finish in the top four of the ACC in each of the last four years. Florida State will begin its quest to make a repeat performance in the finals, which will be staged at the SAS Soccer Complex in Cary, NC. Live play-by-play through Game Tracker will be available for all of FSU’s games at the ACC Tournament by logging on to seminoles.com, the official athletic website for Florida State University.