Sept. 2, 2003
FOLLOW THE GAME
If you can’t make it to Gainesville Friday night, there will be plenty of ways to follow the marquee match-up between the Gators and Seminoles. The game will be the first of four for FSU that will be broadcast live by the Sunshine Network. The game can be viewed locally on Comcast channel 28 or on DSS around the country. There will also be live stats and a live webcast of the match brought to you by GatorZone.com.
Seminole head coach Patrick Baker has completely re-invented Seminole Soccer since being hired in 1999 and that goes for turning around FSU’s fortunes against the Gators. It is hard to imagine that FSU was 0-4 versus UF and had never scored a goal against the Gators before Baker came to Tallahassee. Since then, the Tribe has a winning record versus Florida and if you take away a 5-1 loss in Baker’s first year against the defending National Champions, FSU has outscored the Gators 7-6 in the last four meetings. In the four years under Baker compared to the four years before he arrived, the Seminoles have three more wins…two fewer losses…are perfect at home…have eight more goals scored…four less goals given up…taken 31 more shots…given up 17 fewer shots…have taken 3 more corner kicks.
UNDERDOG IS THE FAVORITE
Coming into opening weekend, it looked like the Gators and Seminoles were heading towards the fourth straight meeting between ranked teams but after the Tribe’s 0-2 start, FSU will go in to Gainesville as a heavy underdog versus a now Top 10 UF squad. The last time the two teams met and Florida was in the Top 10 and FSU was unranked was 2000 and the Seminoles won that game 3-2. In fact the lower ranked team or unranked team has won the game the last four times the teams have played. Last season, the 25th-ranked Seminoles downed No. 21 UF 2-1. In 2001, 20th ranked Florida beat the 12th ranked Tribe 2-0 in Gainesville. In the 2000 NCAA Tournament, FSU came in No. 14 and UF was No. 11 but the Tribe won the only ever postseason meeting and only ever Top 15 showdown between the teams 2-1. The biggest win was probably in 2000 when an unranked Seminole squad opened the season in front of almost 1,300 fans with a 3-2, come from behind win. That season-opening win started three straight years of unprecedented success for the Seminole soccer program. After that game, FSU went on to win seven more games over teams ranked by the NSCAA, made three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to two Sweet 16’s. A win Friday night in Gainesville would go a long way to erasing two disappointing results for the Seminoles on opening weekend.
THIS & THAT
The Seminoles have won three of their last four games against the Gators, including a NCAA tournament game in 2000 to advance to the Round of 16…Florida State was ranked #12 in the nation when they faced Florida in 2001 which was its highest ranking ever coming into the rivalry game…Leah Gallegos and Jez Ratliff are the only current players to put the ball in the net against Florida…Camie Bybee, Teresa Rivera and Amber Tollefson are the only current players to record an assist versus the Gators…after allowing an average of 4 goals per game in the first five meetings between the schools, FSU has allowed just six goals in the last four games total, an average of 1.5 goals per game…Percy Beard has been a house of horrors for FSU during the regular season. Besides the one NCAA Tournament win, the Seminoles are 0-4 during the regular season and have been outscored 17-1 in those four losses.
TURNING THE TIDE
After going 0-5-0 against the Gators from 1995-1999, Florida State under head coach Patrick Baker has turned the tide and won three of the last four meetings with the Gators. The Seminoles swept the Gators in 2000, lost in 2001 and then returned the favor at home in 2002 with a 2-1 win. The victory improved FSU to 2-2-0 against UF all-time in Tallahassee and left the 2002 senior class at 3-2-0 versus the in-state rival. Those five seniors were the first group to ever finish their careers with a winning record versus UF. This year’s seniors (Amber Tollefson and Kristin Boyce) are 3-1 versus UF and will be the second ever senior class to graduate with a winning record against the Gators no matter what happens Friday.
WINNING THE HARD WAY VERSUS UF
Since 2000, the Florida State/Florida series has been highlighted by great comebacks by FSU. Two of the Seminoles three wins since 2000, have come due to three comebacks. In 2000, the Seminoles showed incredible resiliency in recording their first ever win versus UF. Not only did the Tribe stage two comebacks but it was the way they came back against a team they had never defeated at that point. When Florida took its first lead of the game at 76:49, FSU didn’t hang their heads after playing the sixth-ranked Gators even for almost 77 minutes. They answered that goal just 24 seconds later. When UF went up 2-1 the Seminoles did it again answering the goal in just 1:06 before going on to the 3-2 win. In 2002, Crystal Frimpong staked the Gators to an early 1-0 lead just 7:00 into the game. Florida State once again staged a comeback as they tied the game in the 22nd minute and then got the game winner in the 36th minute.
In the eight plus year history of Florida State soccer, the Seminoles have won 12 games versus ranked opponents and 10 of those wins have come since 2000. In FSU’s 12 victories against Top 25 competition, the Tribe has staged 10 comebacks in six wins. In one-third (4) of the Seminoles’ Top 25 wins, FSU has staged two comebacks. The Seminoles defeated No. 10 NC State (1996), No. 6 Florida (2000), No. 7 Clemson (2001) and No. 17 Clemson again (2002) by coming from behind on two occasions. The Garnet and Gold has also comeback from one goal deficits to record wins over No. 2 North Carolina (2000) and No. 21 Florida (2002).
SOD CEMETERY II
If this were the FSU football team, the Florida State soccer team would have quite a burgeoning sod cemetery at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Whenever the Seminole football team defeats a higher-ranked opponent on the road, they return to Tallahassee with a piece of the turf and bury it next to the practice field. Although the FSU soccer team doesn’t have such a tradition, they are picking up wins on the road versus higher ranked teams every year. When FSU traveled to Maryland and beat the 16th-ranked Terps, the team locked up its fourth road win over a ranked opponent in its eight-year history. With that victory, FSU not only won two road games versus a ranked team in one season for the first time ever but they did it in back-to-back games (NC State). FSU’s other road wins versus ranked opponents include an upset No. 11 Florida in Gainesville in the Round of 32 at the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and a 2001 win over No. 9 Clemson at historic Riggs Field.
SWEEPING THE STATE
For the second time in three seasons, FSU swept the state of Florida in 2002. The Tribe has now won 10 straight versus teams from Florida. During the 10 game win streak that began after a 2-1 loss to Florida in Gainesville, FSU has outscored its opponents 31-9. On top of winning their last 10 games versus opponents from the state of Florida, FSU has also won 18 of its last 19 contests versus in-state opponents including NCAA Tournament games.
Florida State will head to Gainesville and Jacksonville this weekend in the midst of a six game road unbeaten streak (5-0-1). For the first time ever, FSU finished a regular season undefeated on the road (4-0-1) in 2002. Before Patrick Baker’s arrival, the Seminole soccer program had posted an all-time road record of 13-23-2 for a winning percentage of just .368. In those four seasons, FSU was .500 or above on the road just once. Since Baker came to FSU in 1999, Florida State has been at .500 or above in road games for three straight seasons, has posted a .562 road winning percentage and has increased its winning percentage every season.
FIRST ONE ON THE ROAD
This is the third time in nine seasons FSU has opened its road campaign in Gainesville. The Tribe is 0-2 in the two games in Gainesville, which were played in 1995 and 1999. From 1995-2000, the Seminoles went 1-5 in road openers but they have won their last two road openers. FSU opened its 2001 road campaign with a win in Clemson (3-2) and did the same last season in Coral Gables, FL defeating Miami 2-1. The last time FSU opened a season 0-2 (1999), they went on to win three straight road games and all three came against in-state schools.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
With a big game looming against UF Friday night, FSU has to feel somewhat confident based on the team’s success versus teams from the state of Florida. When Patrick Baker arrived in 1999, he made winning games versus in-state teams a priority and it has paid off. Since the 2000 season, FSU is 19-1-0 against Florida schools. The Seminoles are undefeated at home against teams from Florida (11-0-0) and have outscored those opponents 33-12 in Tallahassee. The last time FSU walked off the Seminole Soccer Complex field with a loss against a Florida team was August 29, 1999 in a 3-0 loss to Miami, which was just the second game of head coach Patrick Baker’s FSU career. The only road loss in that span came in Gainesville to the Gators in 2001.
Overall since Baker arrived in 1999, the Seminoles have posted a .885 winning percentage against in-state rivals, going 23-3-0 and Baker has a winning record versus every in-state team he has faced in his four years. During those four seasons, FSU posted undefeated records against Jacksonville (5-0-0), South Florida (4-0-0), Florida International (3-0-0), UCF (4-0-0), and Stetson (1-0-0). The Seminoles only blemishes came against Florida (3-2-0) and Miami (3-1-0). Before Baker’s arrival, the Seminoles posted a 9-7-1 record against teams from the Sunshine State. That is an increase of 329 percentage points since he was hired.
SCORING ON SUNSHINE
If you want to look for a couple of FSU players that might have big games Friday night against the Gators, look no further than Jez Ratliff and Camie Bybee. The two Oklahomans have been extremely productive in games televised by the Sunshine Network. The two have combined to score seven goals and record seven assists in just six games. They have combined to average 3.5 points per game and three of the seven goals they have scored in Sunshine Network games have been game-winners. In their other 43 games, the two combine to average .74 points per game.
GOOD GRACIOUS SHE’S BODACIOUS
In a tough opening weekend as far as results go versus two Top 20 teams, Florida State’s Jez Ratliff was a bright spot. The junior wide midfielder scored back-to-back goals in the games and accounted for all of FSU’s goal scoring this past weekend. The Oklahoman has gotten off to hot starts the last two years now. In 2002, she scored two goals and recorded an assist in the first three games of the year and after four games, she led the team with five points, two goals and was tied for the top spot with one assist. This is the first time she has ever scored a goal in her first two games of a season though. She is just the fourth Seminole to ever accomplish that feat. With two strikes opening weekend, Ratliff already has a third of the goals she recorded in all of the 2002 season. It also moved her just two goals away from moving into fifth place on to the all-time goal scoring list.
In 2002, Ratliff was dominant opening weekend for FSU as she scored a goal, recorded a game-winning assist and put four of her six shots on frame at the Nike/FSU Invitational. At the Seminole Invitational in week two, she recorded the game-tying goal in the 79th minute that allowed FSU to comeback and even the score at 2-2 with Mizzou.
Florida State’s openers versus USC and Penn State easily made up the most difficult opening weekend ever at FSU. The Seminoles have never opened the season with back-to-back games versus Top 20 teams like they did this year. Throw in No. 21 Florida, FSU’s third game, and the first eight days of the soccer season are a huge challenge for the 2003 Seminoles. The only time FSU has faced two higher ranked non-conference opponents was when they faced eventual College Cup teams Santa Clara and Portland in one weekend. This is the second year in a row that FSU has faced ranked teams in three straight games but the first time in the Baker era that the Tribe has played three straight games versus ranked, non-conference foes.
Junior Jez Ratliff scored Florida State’s only goals in the weekend openers versus USC Friday night and Penn State Sunday. Her two weekend goals shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Although her goal versus USC was her first-ever goal in a season opener, it was her fifth on a Friday night. She then added another goal on Sunday, her fourth on that day of the week. Overall, Ratliff has scored 13 goals and 11 have come on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The only other day of the week she has ever scored was Tuesday where she has two goals. The Oklahoman now has 13 career goals and is closing on the career leaders list where 15 is good enough for fourth all-time.
DRINKING FROM THE COLLEGE CUP
Florida State’s Patrick Baker has never shied away from playing the best and this year’s opening weekend proved that. For the fourth time in five seasons, FSU will play two teams that played in the College Cup the year before (Penn State and North Carolina) and this is the ninth straight year the Seminoles have played a team from the previous season’s College Cup. The Seminoles are 2-12 in those games with wins versus Florida and North Carolina.
NEW SYSTEM AND NEW PLAYERS
Florida State opened the 2003 season with a new system tailored to the team’s abundance of talented midfielders. Baker has moved from his traditional 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 allowing him to capitalize on the speed and athleticism of freshmen India Trotter, Toby Ranck and Julia Schnugg along with returners Camie Bybee, Amber Tollefson and Jez Ratliff. Also, he elected to start a new keeper in junior Joy McKenzie. That marked the first time in two years that Kerry York or Ali Mims didn’t start a game in the net. Of the Tribe’s seven freshmen, six were recruited and five have been healthy enough to practice almost everyday this preseason. Three of those five started both games opening weekend and all five saw game action.
BATTLING THE BEST
The 2003 FSU soccer schedule could easily be the toughest ever played in Seminole soccer history. More than half (9 of 17) of the scheduled matches are against 2002 NCAA Tournament teams including two College Cup participants (Penn State and North Carolina). Not one team on the schedule posted a losing record last season and FSU’s opponents went a combined 226-114-24 (.654). Eleven of the teams had 13 or more wins and six won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament. The Tribe’s out of conference slate (Southern California, Penn State, Florida, Jacksonville, Kansas, San Diego State, Miami, Ole Miss, FAU and UCF) is easily the toughest ever assembled at FSU. In 2001, FSU played Santa Clara and Portland but from top to bottom the 2003 group seems to be more daunting.
Since starting the soccer program at FSU in 1995, the Seminoles have established quite a legacy for competing against the best in the nation. That point has never been as clear as when you look at just the amount of games they have played against recent National Champions and College Cup teams. The Seminoles have faced a defending National Champion in six of the last seven seasons and faced the eventual National Champion six times in a row from 1996-2001. Since 1996, FSU has played 11 games in seven years versus College Cup teams. The Tribe has played nine games against six National Champions and has faced every National Champion but one over that span. This year, the Tribe will face two College Cup teams from 2002 in North Carolina and Penn State.
Year College Cup National Champion Games versus FSU
1996 One Team North Carolina Two games
1997 One Team North Carolina Two games
1998 Two Teams Florida One game
1999 One Team North Carolina One game
2000 One Team North Carolina Two games
2001 Four Teams Santa Clara One game
2002 One Team Portland None in 2002
Over the last three seasons, the Seminoles have gone 16-16-1 during the regular season against NCAA Tournament teams. If you remove games versus Final Four teams during that span, the Garnet and Gold has posted a stellar 15-10-1 record against the NCAA Tournament field. In 2000, FSU posted wins over National Champion North Carolina (3-2 2OT), Florida (3-2) and Sweet 16 participant Texas A&M (4-1). The trend continued in 2001. Of the 24 games FSU played that year, 16 were against NCAA tourney teams. The Garnet and Gold was the only team in the nation that year to compete against all four teams who made it to the College Cup (North Carolina, Portland, Santa Clara, Florida) during the regular season. Last year, FSU competed against one College Cup participant (UNC), nine NCAA Tournament teams and three Sweet 16 teams.
Florida State is continuing to fight for and gain respect in the nation’s toughest soccer conference. After being picked to finish dead last for its first five years of existence, FSU was pegged fifth in the annual preseason coaches’ poll in 2001. The Seminoles exceeded those expectations and finished third in the regular season and advanced to the ACC Championship finals. Last year the ACC head honchos tabbed the Tribe fourth in the preseason poll and FSU lived up to advanced billing again as they finished the season 3-3-1 and in fourth place. For the third year in a row FSU has set a new high in the preseason ACC coaches’ poll as they were picked third this year. If FSU can meet those expectations, they would equal their best-ever conference finish set in 2001.
ACC PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
1 North Carolina 63
2 Virginia 52
3 Florida State 37
4 Clemson 36
5 Maryland 34
6 Duke 32
7 Wake Forest 20
8 NC State 14
Before 2002, FSU had never had a player from California on its roster but opening night, the Tribe started a duo of California kids. 2002 All-ACC Rookie Team member Leah Gallegos and U-19 National Team member Julia Schnugg started for Florida State against Southern California and Penn State. Schnugg is a Norcal kid but USC is right in Gallegos’ neighborhood. The striker is from the Los Angeles area and played her high school soccer at LA’s Franklin High, which is 10 minutes from USC. While the two may be from opposite ends of the state, they could form the most potent scoring combination ever at FSU.
THE POWER OF TWO
Kristin Boyce and Amber Tollefson are the only two seniors on the 2003 team and they have a chance to do some things that has never been done in program history. If the co-captains can lead the team to the NCAA Tournament this season, they will be the only class to graduate with four straight trips to the postseason. They also have the opportunity to be the first class with four consecutive winning seasons and they could leave Tallahassee with the best career winning percentage ever. They are currently 42-25-6 for a .616 winning percentage. The previous best wining percentage by a class belonged to last year’s seniors who graduated with a 51-33-8 (.598).Boyce and Tollefson also have the opportunity to be the first class to register 10 or more wins every year of their four year career. The seniors posted 14 wins in 2000, 15 wins in 2001 and 13 wins in 2002. This year’s class will try to become the second-ever to leave FSU with a winning record against Florida and they could even graduate with a 4-1 record against UF, the best in school history.
SMART & GIVING
Florida State soccer is in the midst of a renaissance under head coach Patrick Baker but he hasn’t just turned the Tribe’s fortunes around on the playing field. Baker’s teams have accomplished a rare feat in which they have achieved unprecedented success on the field, in the community and in the classroom. Last year, FSU soccer went to the Sweet 16, donated more community service hours than any Florida State team and 11 of 27 players made the ACC Academic Honor Roll. Since his arrival, Baker’s soccer teams have won an Athletic Director’s Cup for Community Service, posted a .599 winning percentage, been to three straight NCAA Tournaments, two Sweet 16’s and an ACC Championship game.
WE KNEW THEY WERE GOOD
Although they have played just two regular season games, the 2003 freshman class is living up to its advanced billing with three players starting the first two games and five playing extended minutes. The 2003 recruiting class came to Florida State as the most highly ranked and decorated in school history. SoccerBuzz tabbed the group as the seventh-best class in the nation, the highest ranking ever for an FSU class. They were also ranked the 10th-best recruiting class in the nation by Soccer America magazine, which is a first for FSU. This is the Baker’s fourth consecutive Top 25 recruiting class and his third in the top 12. Individually, Californian Julia Schnugg was named a 2003 Parade All-American, just the third FSU player (Katie Beal & Camie Bybee) ever to garner that honor. Schnugg has also been called up to the U-19 U.S. National side on two occasions. Midfielder/defender India Trotter has also been on the U-19 National Team roster on numerous occasions. Trotter was named the 21st-best recruit in the country by Soccer America magazine. Both players, Trotter and Schnugg, were among the original 36 players invited to participate in the McDonald’s All-America High School game.
Since his arrival, Patrick Baker has experienced unprecedented recruiting success at FSU. The Tribe’s head coach has done a remarkable job of attracting the state’s best talent to Tallahassee as was the case with Amber Tollefson, Cindy Schofield, Teresa Rivera, India Trotter and many more. The last two years, Baker has had more Florida players on his roster than he had in his first three years combined but now he is also bringing in some of the best recruits from across the country and they are coming in pairs. While the Cali combo (Leah Gallegos and Julia Schnugg) came in a year apart, the first pair of out of starters to come to FSU were Oklahoman’s Camie Bybee and Jez Ratliff, both All-ACC Rookie Team members. Gallegos came in with Californian Shannon Coe last year and now a trio of Pennsylvania players joins the elite group. Kelly Rowland and Ali Wean both played for the same high school (Strath Haven in Wallingford) and their FSU teammate Toby Ranck played for Radnor in near-by Wayne.
Kelly Rowland IS A CHILD OF DESTINY
Freshman Kelly Rowland is opening eyes on the FSU practice field and is vying for a starting spot as the Tribe’s right back. As good as she has been throughout the preseason, her play isn’t the reason she is going to appear in the inaugural issue of Sports Illustrated’s On Campus magazine. The new SI is featuring athletes who share names with famous people like FSU’s Kelly Rowland who shares a name with the Destiny’s Child singer. Rowland was interviewed by SI and will have her picture in the first ever issue.
THE CUPBOARD ISN’T BARE
Although Florida State lost the most productive player in the history of the program when Cindy Schofield graduated, that doesn’t mean the FSU offense will be lacking this year. The Seminoles return four of their top five point scorers from 2002 and seven of the top nine point scorers. Four of the team’s top five goal scorers are back and four of the top six players when it comes to game-winning goals return this season. FSU also returns five of its six leaders when it comes to assists.
Defensively, this may be the best group in the history of the program. All three keepers are returning and the backline is set with established stars. Senior Kristin Boyce is probably the most unsung player since Baker took over but the All-Southeast region selection has had a stellar four-year career as a starter. Junior Katie Beal, a 2001 1st Team freshman All-American, missed much of 2002 but is ready to step back into the starting line-up and re-establish herself as one of the best defenders in the nation. She is joined in the middle by 2001 Gatorade Player of the Year Teresa Rivera who started 12 games and appeared in 21 last season.
GOOD TEAMS, GREAT PLAYERS
Not only will FSU play its toughest schedule ever this season but they will also see some of the country’s best players this year. It all starts with 2003 SoccerBuzz preseason Player of the Year Joanna Lohman Sunday. The Penn State midfielder is a preseason All-American after finishing 2002 as a finalist for the Honda and Hermann Awards. The Tribe will also see UNC’s preseason All-American Lindsay Tarpley but the Tribe won’t avoid Cat Reddick who will be done with the World Cup in time to rejoin the Heels for their 10/31 meeting with FSU.
A NUMBERS GAME
When you enter the Seminole Soccer Complex Friday night, you better pick up a program because FSU’s returners played the number game in the off-season as three different players switched numbers. All three players are sophomores. All-ACC Rookie Team member Leah Gallegos switched from 9 to 13, forward Alli Ferreri is now half of her former self as she switched from 16 to 8 and Erica Lewis downsized trading in her old 22 shirt and picking-up Gallegos’ old 9 jersey.