Nov. 4, 2003
Due to host school NC State wanting to play on Friday night, the Tribe’s half of the bracket got flipped to the top and in essence moved FSU’s game time from 5:30 pm to 12:00. That is fine with the FSU coaches. Not only will FSU have the most recovery time if they are able to oust a tough Demon Deacon squad, Florida State has fond memories of the last time they played a game at 12:00 in the ACC Tournament in North Carolina. That day the Tribe, a fourth seed, beat fifth-seeded Maryland 7-2 for the school’s first ever ACC Tournament win.
AMONG THE BEST EVER
Since Florida State started playin ACC soccer in 1995, the schedule for ACC teams obviously moved to seven games. In those nine years, only North Carolina squads have allowed fewer than the five goals in seven games that FSU allowed this year in ACC play. The record for goals allowed is two and that was set by Carolina (1996, 1997, 1999). The Heels also hold down the second spot by allowing just three goals in seven ACC games (1995, 1998, 2003). The only other teams to allow five or fewer goals in an entire conference season are FSU this year and Clemson in 2000 (5). So as impressive as FSU was in cutting their lowest goals allowed from 11 to 5, this stat really puts into perspective just how special this feat was.
A GOOD LOSS?
The Florida State coaches are never happy with a loss and they don’t ever want their players to be happy just losing by a goal. That being said, the Tribe does need to take some solace in the 1-0 loss to unanimous No. 1 Carolina in Chapel Hill to end the regular season. The Heels had outscored their ACC opponents 27-3 and 16-1 in three home games. For Florida State to go into Fetzer, where they had been outscored 25-2 all-time, and hold the Heels without a goal for 67 minutes is impressive. No team all season has played Carolina within a goal in Chapel Hill where UNC outscored its opponents 35-2 this year before the FSU match.
A BAD LOSS?
The Seminoles may have six losses this season but it is hard to argue there is a bad loss in the group. The combined record of the teams that have beat FSU this year is 82-20-10 for a winning percentage of .777. Everyone of those teams was ranked at one point this year and all six are currently in the NSCAA poll with four residing in the top 10. On top of that FSU lost four of those games by just one goal. The teams Florida State has beaten or tied have a combined winning percentage of .608 and a record of 125-78-15.
COMING OUT PARTY
The buzz around Fetzer Field after FSU’s 1-0 loss to No. 1 North Carolina was not surrounding Mary McDowell’s game-winning goal or UNC’s perfect regular season or even the program’s 550th win. When all was said and done and the dust had settled, it was a scrappy walk-on keeper from Texas that was making all the news. Tribe keeper Joy McKenzie opened a lot of eyes with her performance against the nation’s No. 1 offense and team in the final regular season game for both sides. The junior capped off an unbelievable season as a first-year starter by holding UNC almost three goals below their average and finishing ACC play with just two goals allowed. The keeper faced 23 UNC shots and made a career-high eight saves. North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance said the following after his Tar Heels pulled out the 1-0 win in Chapel Hill. “We could only score one against them and that is a credit to an absolutely brilliant performance by their goalkeeper (Joy McKenzie)”. Veteran UNC SID Dave Lohse wrote the following in the second paragraph of his release on the game: “In a game in which UNC out shot the Seminoles 23-4, the shining star was Florida State goalkeeper Joy McKenzie who made eight saves as well as a host of other nice plays in the penalty area that kept the Tar Heels (18-0-0, ACC 7-0-0) off the scoreboard well into the second half.” Although disappointed she let the lone goal of the night get by her, the performance had to be a sweet victory on some level for a kid that was third on the FSU depth chart since she stepped on the field in 2001 and did nothing but work hard to get a shot.
NOTHING COULD BE FINER THAN BEING IN CAROLINA
Despite the fact that FSU has just one ever win in the state of North Carolina in the regular season, there is reason for optimism heading into the ACC Soccer Championships at the SAS Soccert Complex in Cary, NC. The last two times the ACC Tournament has been held in the state of North Carolina, FSU has advanced out of the quarterfinals and even made it into the ACC Tournament Championship game one of those two years. The only time in the last three years FSU failed to advance was last season when the ACC Tournament was played in Tallahassee at the Seminole Soccer Complex.