Sept. 16, 2004
It is hard to imagine just a few years ago that FSU would be opening ACC with a chance to win its fourth consecutive conference opener. The Seminoles have won three straight ACC openers and a win over Clemson would give them their fourth in a row. No ACC team has a longer current win streak in ACC openers than FSU and it isn’t even close. No ACC squad, besides Florida State, is even on a two-game win streak. That is pretty good for a team that lost its first six conference openers and didn’t even win its fourth ACC game until its sixth year of existence. It is a remarkable statement to what Patrick Baker has done at FSU that his team could be chasing its fourth straight conference-opening win when the team has won just five season openers in 10 years. A win over the Tigers would mean the FSU has just one fewer ACC opener than season opener despite playing in the best soccer conference in America.
Florida State has not only won three straight ACC openers they have also won three straight conference meetings with Clemson. No senior on the 2004 squad has ever lost a regular season match to the Tigers or an ACC opener but that group was eliminated by Clemson their first year in the NCAA Tournament. That loss accounts for the only time FSU has been knocked out of the NCAA Tournament before the Sweet 16. While the Tribe is 3-0 in the regular season against Clemson, they are 3-2 in the last five meetings with both losses coming in South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. Clemson and UConn are the only two teams to eliminate FSU from the postseason and they have each done it on two occasions. Clemson holds a special place in FSU soccer history as the Tigers were the first ACC win in FSU program history (1996) and the first ACC road win for head coach Patrick Baker. Clemson isn’t the only ACC team FSU has had regular season success against lately. The Tribe has current undefeated streaks versus three other ACC teams. The Seminoles are 3-0-2 in their last five conference games versus NC State, 3-0 versus Maryland and 2-0-1 in their last three ACC matches with Duke. Against this group, the 2004 senior class is a combined 11-0-1. These seniors are undefeated against half the conference in their careers. An amazing accomplishment considering FSU not only had a losing record versus every team in the ACC before 2002 but the Tribe had won just five ACC games in the six years against all seven conference foes before this senior class came to campus. They have doubled that six-year ACC win total in just three seasons.
The 2004 ACC season was supposed to open up with the two Florida teams playing one another. Florida State was scheduled to travel to Miami and face the Hurricanes September 3. It would have tied the mark for the earliest conference opener in school history. The only other times FSU opened ACC play just three games into a campaign was in 1995 and 1996. Due to Hurricane Frances the game was postponed until September 27. That means this weekend FSU will open the ACC season with Clemson for the fourth time in the last five years. The Seminoles are 2-1 in the those three ACC openers versus Clemson.
Florida State head coach Patrick Baker has stressed how difficult it is to get back to the final four over and over to his team. Since 1997 50% of teams that made the College Cup returned the following year and outside of North Carolina, that number drops to just 19%. While FSU has a long way to go to be pull off the rare repeat performance, it didn’t take long for Baker’s point to be hammered home. FSU’s first round opponent at the College Cup was UConn and they are off to a 2-3-0 start to the 2004 season. UCLA, who lost to North Carolina in the opening round of the final four, is 3-2 and has lost back-to-back matches. The ACC schools that appeared in the College Cup last season, FSU and UNC, are doing pretty well with a combined record of 9-1-1 and both schools are ranked in the top ten.
The Florida State offense really came to life Tuesday night against Jacksonville as five different players scored goals in the 5-0 win. The five goals equaled the amount of goals FSU had scored in the previous four matches. While five different players scoring a goal in a game seems rare, that hasn’t been the case for FSU the last couple of seasons. The last four times FSU scored five or more goals in a game, at least five different players scored a goal. It happened three times last season alone in wins over San Diego State (6-1), Miami (7-1) and FAU (7-0).
Not only did five different players score goals in the JU win but also seven different players recorded assists. Of the 11 different players that secured a point in the victory, four recorded either the first goal or assist of their career. Freshmen Melissa Samokishyn and Holly Peltzer each recorded their first career assists and sophomores Sarah Rosseau and Toby Ranck each netted their first career goals. The Jacksonville game was the first game in which one of this year’s freshmen recorded a point. That is the latest in to a season in team history before a freshman has recorded a point, which says a lot about the depth Baker has assembled. No freshman has scored a goal as of yet and this is also the furthest into any of FSU’s ten years without a freshman goal scorer. In 2002, FSU didn’t have a freshman score a goal until the fifth game, which was the longest stretch before 2004. The longest FSU went without a freshman recording an assist was in 1997 when a rookie received an assist in the fifth game of the year.
1st Rookie Asst 1st Rookie Goal
2004 Game 6 ———-
2003 Game 4 Game 1
2002 Game 3 Game 5
2001 Game 1 Game 3
2000 Game 1 Game 3
1999 Game 4 Game 3
1998 Game 4 Game 1
1997 Game 5 Game 3
1996 Game 1 Game 1
1995 Game 1 Game 1
Senior Jez Ratliff continued her hot start to the 2004 season with another goal, another game-winning goal and her first assist of the year versus Jacksonville. The Oklahoman now has nine points on the year and is easily off to the best start of her four-year tenure at FSU. Her three game-winning goals in six games are already the most she has ever had in a single season and that total equals the three she recorded in her career coming into the seasons. Ratliff has never recorded more than 17 points in a season but she is more than halfway there after only six matches. She is already just two goals away from tying a career high in that category as well. Coming into 2004, Ratliff had never even recorded a game-winner in the first six games of any season so the fact she has three in the first six games of 2004 is pretty remarkable.
Leah Gallegos started 2004 with four straight assists and in the last two games she has scored her first two goals of the year, upping her point total in 2004 to eight. The goal versus Jacksonville Tuesday gave her six straight games with a point, the longest point streak ever at FSU to open a season. Only two players in school history have had a longer streak and neither were at the start of the season. Cindy Schofield holds the longest streak when she recorded a point in eight straight games in 2002. During that streak Schofield recorded an amazing nine goals and four assists. The next longest streak is seven and that was put together by Maren Vik Edvardsen in 2001 when she scored six goals and recorded two assists. Only one other player has a streak longer than five and that is Emma Breland who recorded a point in six straight games in her only season in Tallahassee in 2000. Gallegos had a four game streak in 2002, her rookie year, making her and Schofield the only two players in FSU history to have two point streaks of at least five games, twice in their careers.
If Florida State fans are hoping their squad can sneak up on No. 7 Clemson Friday night, forget about it. Not only is it an ACC game it is both teams ACC openers. The Tigers have lost three ACC openers to FSU in the last four years and are 0-3 against the Tribe in regular season games since 2001. On top of all of that, Clemson will come into Tallahassee licking their wounds after losing their last two matches including a shutout at the hands of in-state rival South Carolina. It was Clemson’s first loss to the Gamecocks since 1996. That year the Tigers turned around and beat Tennessee 5-0 after losing to its intra-state rival. If FSU were to down the Tigers it would be the second year in a row FSU had a hand in a three-game losing streak for CU. In 2004 FSU defeated Clemson 1-0 in South Carolina. That loss was sandwiched by losses to North Carolina and Maryland. It would be just the fourth time in program history that the Tigers had a three game losing streak.
It has been a couple years since FSU and FIU played a game. The teams met every year from 1998-2001 with Florida State holding a 4-0 lead in the series. The last time the team’s met they played in Miami with the Tribe winning 4-1. Camie Bybee and Jez Ratliff are the only two current players who recorded points that day. Florida State will be the third ranked team the Golden Panthers have played in their last four outings. They have lost to Texas and Florida in the previous two matches with top 25 squads by a combined score of 9-1.
While the football team gets out of town the Friday night before home games head coach Bobby Bowden might just stick around campus a little bit longer to watch granddaughter Jacquelyn Hines who will be in town as a member of Clemson’s soccer team. Hines is the daughter of Clemson assistant football coach Jack Nines who is married to coach Bowden’s daughter Robyn. Jacquelyn is a freshman forward who has not appeared in a game as of yet for the Tigers. Hines was recruited by Florida State as well but chose to stay close to her mom and dad in South Carolina.
When it comes to assists, Kelly Rowland is on a roll. The sophomore center back leads the team with five assists, which is more than she had in the entire 2003 season. She hasn’t gone two games without an assist and she even set a new personal best with two assists in a game and recorded the first two assists of her career in the run of play. A case can be made that Rowland has been the hottest player on the team over the last 13 games dating back to 2003. In the 13 game stretch, Rowland has five goals and five assists for 15 points. The only other player with 15 points during the same stretch is Jez Ratliff.