Sept. 29, 2004
Florida State will travel to Durham, NC Friday to play No. 16 Duke. The Tribe has not had a lot of success in Koskinen Stadium in the past. The Seminoles are 0-2-2 all-time at Duke and have been shutout in two of their four trips to Koskinen. The last time FSU visited Durham, the Tribe fell behind just 3:21 into the match but fought back to equalize on Jez Ratliff’s 66th minute goal. Despite the history in the series, the Tribe has fared well overall against Duke as of late posting a 2-0-1 record in the last three meetings between the schools. Four current Seminoles have scored versus Duke. Ratliff, Julia Schnugg and Camie Bybee each have a goal and junior All-American Leah Gallegos has scored twice. The 2004 FSU seniors have a chance to close out another regular season ACC series by going undefeated when the teams meet Friday night. This senior class has already gone 4-0 versus Clemson and they have never lost a match to Duke either. Last season FSU handed Duke its worst loss in series history when the Tribe defeated the Blue Devils 3-0 in Tallahassee. It matched the most lopsided score in series history equaling Duke’s 3-0 win in 1996, FSU’s second year as a program.
Had the FSU coaching staff known another Hurricane was going to roar through the state, they probably would have never moved the USF match to accommodate a trip to Miami that never happened but who could have known. The Seminoles and Bulls will finally square off Tuesday in the eighth series meeting, in which FSU has a decided advantage. The Tribe leads 6-0-1 but up until 2003, every single game was decided by just one goal. Last season was the first time the Seminoles were able to shake USF winning 3-0. FSU is 2-0-1 in the series in Tallahassee and holds a 6-4 edge in goals. Leah Gallegos is the only current Seminole who has two career goals versus the Bulls and the only other current FSU player to score versus USF is Alli Ferreri. USF is 1-3-2 but will face C-USA preseason favorite UAB before traveling to Tallahassee. At least one USF player will be a familiar face to FSU soccer aficionados. Ex-Seminole Erica Lewis will return to Tallahassee as a member of the Bulls. Lewis leads USF in goals and points heading into the UAB match.
The hallmark of any Patrick Baker coached team is defense and even more accurately team defending. That concept carried FSU to an ACC Championship game and a final four berth in 2003. After giving up five goals in the first four games, the Tribe looks like they are right back to where they left off last season. In the last five games FSU has given up just two goals and sported a 0.40 GAA. That stretched dropped the team’s GAA from 1.25 to 0.78, which is currently the third best mark in the ACC and the 39th best GAA in the nation. The Seminoles have also shut out four of their last seven opponents and now rank in the NCAA stats for shutouts as well as GAA. FSU is currently fourth in the AACC in GAA and goals allowed. Joy McKenzie has moved up to fourth in the ACC in GAA with her 0.87 average. Despite a lose to Virginia, the Tribe D showed how good it is by holding what was the nation’s eighth-rated scoring offense to only one goal. The Cavaliers came to Tallahassee averaging more than three goals per game yet FSU held the offense to just the one goal. The Tribe will need a similar effort versus the nation’s fifth-ranked scoring offense in Duke. This will be the second straight week that FSU has faced a scoring offense ranked in the top seven in the NCAA.
Despite being hobbled by a slight knee injury, Leah Gallegos could be in store for a pretty big week. The junior has four career goals in four career games against Duke and USF. She scored the first two goals in each 3-0 win last season over Duke and USF. Gallegos is still looking for her first multi-goal game of 2004 after recording four last year, two of which came on the road. In fact 11 of Gallegos’ 29 career goals have come away from home and if you take away the four goals she has scored this year when FSU has not left home yet, she has scored 11 of her 25 goals away from Tallahassee.
Coming into 2004, the last thing head coach Patrick Baker figured he’d have to worry about would be constantly shifting line-ups. The Tribe returned 10 of 11 starters from the 2003 College Cup semifinal so all Baker had to do was fill one spot. Due to injuries and a near impossible search to find a replacement for Amber Tollefson, the Tribe could start its seventh different line-up in 10 games Friday night when they face off with Duke. Despite all the shuffling, seven Seminoles have started all nine games at the same position. Leah Gallegos, Jez Ratliff, India Trotter, Katie Beal, Kelly Rowland, Marion Cagle, Joy McKenzie and Kelly Rowland have all started all nine games. The biggest area of turnover has been the left outside midfield spot where four different players have started and the center midfield spot where Camie Bybee has struggled with an ankle sprain.
Another Hurricane has caused yet another delay in FSU’s plans to play the Hurricanes. For the second time this season a hurricane has caused the Miami/FSU soccer game to be postponed. This time it was Hurricane Jeanne that made it impossible for FSU to get through the middle part of the state and down to Coral Gables. The game now has a third scheduled date and that is Tuesday October 26 at 7:00 p.m. What was supposed to be FSU’s first ACC game of the season became FSU’s third conference game of the year and now it will be the last ACC match of the regular season for the Tribe.
While it is still very early in the conference race, there are a few surprises. The fact that Wake Forest and Maryland are a combined 0-5 and the only winless teams in ACC play is probably the only thing more surprising than Virginia Tech’s solid 2-1 start out of the gate. Florida State’s next opponent, Duke, is one of three undefeated teams left including North Carolina and Virginia. Only four of the 10 ACC schools have scored more than two goals in ACC play thus far in 2004. Other odds and ends: six ACC teams were allowing less than a goal a game coming into the week…Duke and Virginia rank 1st and 2nd in the nation in shutouts and six ACC schools rank in the top 56 in the nation in that category including FSU…four ACC squads also rank in the top 50 for GAA and FSU is among that foursome as well…two of the nation’s top 10 goal scorers play in the ACC and neither plays for Carolina…six ACC players rank in the top 30 for assists…six of the 46 highest scoring offenses reside in the ACC…in five weeks of ACC players of the week, five players from five different schools have won the award…with the exception of Miami, every ACC team is at least .500 and the conference’s overall winning percentage is .733. When you remove non-conference games from the equation, the ACC’s winning percentage jumps to .811…ACC teams have a .620 winning percentage versus teams ranked in the NSCAA and Soccer America polls…Miami has scored the fewest goals (6) amongst ACC teams so far in 2004 while Duke has the most (35)…Florida State’s game versus Duke is the only ACC game this week between two ranked opponents.
Don’t blame the FSU rookies if they don’t know what to do when FSU steps off the plane in Durham, NC. It’s not their fault. When FSU plays at Duke Friday night it will be the Tribe’s first road game of the year despite being half way into the 2004 season. This is by far the latest FSU has ever opened the road portion of their schedule. In 2002, the Tribe traveled to an opponent’s stadium in game number five, which took place September 11. This year’s road opener is 2 ½ weeks later than the latest road opener ever. The Tribe better get used to the road in a hurry. After playing nine straight home games, four of the Seminoles last nine games will be on the road.
Virginia’s four senior defenders provided the stiffest challenge the FSU offense has seen all season. The Cavs shutdown a somewhat hobbled FSU attack, shutting the Tribe out for the first time in 2004. This was the second-longest run for FSU ever in the sense of scoring at least one goal in each game to start a season. The 2000 team holds the record for scoring at least once in 14 straight games to open a campaign. The shutout was just the second in the last 17 games for a Florida State opponent. It was also just the sixth time FSU was shut out in the regular season in 65 games dating back to 2001. While the shutout was rare the Virginia defense did something even rarer than that to the FSU offense. The Tribe did not take a single corner kick in the loss to UVa breaking a streak of 119 straight games with a corner that dated back to 1999. The last team to hold FSU without a corner kick was North Carolina in Patrick Baker’s first year as head coach.