April 2, 2003
Boca Raton, FL –
Although it only offered a glimpse into what to expect from the 2003 FSU soccer team, there is a pattern developing for head coach Patrick Baker’s club this spring. After setting a school record in 2000 by allowing just 31 goals, the Tribe has seen that number increase to 40 in 2001 and 37 in 2002. If the team’s performance at the All-Florida Tournament last weekend is any indication, the 2003 edition of FSU soccer could be Baker’s best defensive team yet.
“The weekend was very positive. We walked away from this past weekend feeling pretty good about where we are at,” said Baker. “We have some time to train and those games provided the feedback we needed. The video we got from the weekend has been great and is a phenomenal teaching tool. Now we just have to make the overall picture better as we move on.”
Including the alumna game, Florida State has now played 330 minutes of soccer this spring and the team has yet to allow a goal. This past weekend at the All-Florida Tournament held at FAU, despite playing until late Friday night and then turning around and playing another 150 minutes in sweltering heat Saturday, the Tribe’s defense once again didn’t allow a single goal.
“Having played 240 minutes of soccer without giving up a goal is a big positive because it is one of the things we have been concentrating on. We have worked hard to limit quality chances,” said Baker. “It hasn’t just been our back four and goalkeeper. Everyone is defending well as a unit. Our front runners are doing a better job of making play predictable and are getting stuck in on tackles. The midfielders are doing a good job of stepping in and winning balls and tracking. When it comes to our back four, they have done a great job of reading service and runs.
“The defenders have been very consistent. Kristin Boyce, Katie Beal, Teresa Rivera and Jessica Bell have all done a great job. Sarah Rosseau has also provided an element in the back because she is such a great passer and Marion Cagle has done well also.”
The Seminole defense is playing in front of the most inexperienced keeper on the squad as sophomore Joy McKenzie is getting most of the playing time this spring as Kerry York and Ali Mims recover from surgery. Mims, who broke her leg in the 2002 preseason, did see her first action since the injury and played for about 12 minutes and was given a standing ovation by her teammates. York is still rehabbing from off-season surgery after starting every game for FSU last season. McKenzie, who looked raw at times but is probably the most athletic keeper on the team, wasn’t tested much over the weekend but did come up with a huge save against Florida in the final game of the tournament.
“Joy has been good in goal but I don’t think she has been as tested as I would have liked up to this point. She has gained valuable playing minutes and you can see that in her ability to read the game,” said Baker. “She has made a lot of good plays and in the 240 minutes she had only made a few miscues and those didn’t end up in the back of the net. Overall I am very pleased with a lot of the stuff that Joy has brought to the table”
Not to be shown up, the FSU offense has also been doing its job thus far scoring 11 goals in less than four full games. Junior Amber Tollefson and freshman Leah Gallegos led the way at the All-Florida Tournament as each scored two goals and recorded an assist. Alli Ferreri and Erin Preston each had a goal and an assist and sophomore Jez Ratliff recorded three assists.
“Ali (Ferreri) and Leah (Gallegos) really got better and better as the weekend wore on. They played off of one another, with one another, high/low and provided flat runs across the face of the defense,” said Baker. “They did very well.
Just like in the backline, the Seminoles are set in three of the four starting positions in the midfield and that group had a stellar showing at the All-Florida event. Amber Tollefson, Camie Bybee and Jez Ratliff all played at a very high level according to Baker. A cast of players are now auditioning to take the holding midfield spot vacated by Jenny Garcia.
“Amber (Tollefson) scored more goals this weekend than she did all fall,” said Baker. “She has made a conscious effort to improve her game because she wasn’t happy with the season she had after a fantastic sophomore year. She wants more and she knows she can provide that to her teammates. Jez (Ratliff) used her pace to unbalance defenses in Boca but I don’t think we found her enough times with the ball in possession.”
The Seminoles continue spring action this weekend. They host the Jacksonville Dolphins at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, April 5. The game will be played at the Seminole Soccer Complex and there is no admission charge.
FSU 3 TEAM BOCA U-17’s 0
1-0 Katie Beal finds a seam in the middle of the defense and get the ball to Jez Ratliff. Ratliff slips the ball to the back post where Erin Preston taps it in. 2-0 Sarah Rosseau has her header shot off a corner kick cleared out to Leah Gallegos. She one times a low shot to the near post. 3-0 Kristin Boyce plays Alli Ferreri inside the box on the left side. She feeds Leah Gallegos who buries the header for her second goal of the game.
Highlights & Notes
–Camie Bybee continued the level of play she showed in the NCAA tournament as she was impressive in the 90-minute opener.
–Kristin Boyce is as deadly as ever with her runs up the right side of the field from her defensive position.
–Teresa Rivera looks to be more confident as she enters her second season in the middle of the FSU defense.
–Erin Brown and Amber Tollefson just miss combining on a goal as Tollefson’s diagonal ball through the box finds Brown at the top of the 18. Her shot bounces off the crossbar.
–Teresa Rivera blasted a free kick from at least 25 yards out that the keeper had to tip over the bar to save the goal.
“Opening night was a 90 minute game versus Team Boca and the game was 0-0 at halftime. I told the team that we only beat them 1-0 last spring at our stadium. We controlled the tempo, we controlled possession and found a way to win that game. This year wasn’t that different. We talked about refining a couple of things in the final third. Whether it was the timing of a run, the quality of a pass, better combination play or being cleaner technically and I thought we did that. Jez’s pace really allowed us to get that first goal and we talked about getting the first one and then more would come and that is exactly what happened. The goals came from great runs and great service. It was also good to see us score off set pieces.”
FSU 4 BARRY UNIVERSITY 0
1-0 Alli Ferreri finds Camie Bybee on the right side who gets the ball to Leah Gallegos at the top of the 18. She takes a touch and fires. Amber Tollefson is there to bury the rebound. 2-0 Off a short corner, Jez Ratliff serves a ball to the back post where Alli Ferreri sticks it past the keeper. 3-0 Jez Ratliff saves a ball deep on the end line. She finds a streaking Camie Bybee who knocks it past the goalkeeper. 4-0 Erin Preston serves a great ball from the right side endline to the back post. Amber Tollefson heads it past the keeper.
Highlights & Notes
–On top of her goal, Alli Ferreri continues to impress with her improved play up top.
–Leah Gallegos goes in 1-on-1. She feeds Camie Bybee who found Alli Ferreri at the near post. Her hard driven shot catches the post and bounces out.
“Against Barry, we just got off to a great start. I thought the first and last games were the ones where we would struggle as we tried to work out the kinks from the night before. We were the only team on the field Saturday that had played 90 minutes the night before. For us to step out and give that type of performance was great.”
FSU 0 TEAM BOCA U-18’s 0
Highlights & Notes
–Leah Gallegos continued to leave jaws dropped with her individual skill but her near-goal might have been the most amazing play of the day. With her back to the goal, Gallegos bent a shot from the far left side to the back post where she almost put it past the Team Boca keeper.
–Teresa Rivera and Camie Bybee nearly break the scoreless tie as Rivera’s service to the far post fins Bybee. The sophomore just misses burying the shot.
–Camie Bybee nearly sticks another goal after gather Leah Gallegos’ flick on. Her shot from 20 yards away was just wide.
–Camie Bybee almost created a goal this time as she dribbled across the face of the goal and found Amber Tollefson. The junior sent a bending pass to the far post but Jez Ratliff’s header was just off the mark.
–Erica Lewis made a huge hustle play to chase down an errant ball at the corner flag. She then launched a perfect cross to the back post but no Seminole was able to latch on to the pass.
“I thought this was our weakest performance of the weekend. We just hit a little bit of a lull. I knew we weren’t going to have to motivate the kids to get up for Florida but this game was a bit of a struggle.”
FSU 0 UF 0
Highlights & Notes
–Alli Ferreri had another dynamic game and almost created an FSU goal. She made a dangerous run down the right side and slipped a pass to the back post beating the keeper. Amber Tollefson was there to score into the empty net but a Gator defender blocked the shot at the last second.
–Teresa Rivera had another great corner kick service to the back post but Alli Ferreri’s shot was just wide of the goal.
–Leah Gallegos’ hard-nosed play in the midfield led to another FSU chance as she stole the ball from the Florida midfielder and found Alli Ferreri in a seam on the right side of the goal. The freshman went far post with the shot but was slightly off the mark.
–Katie Beal and Camie Bybee almost connected on another FSU scoring chance. Bybee latched on top Beal’s free kick to the far post but her header sailed wide.
–Joy McKenzie was seriously challenged on just one occasion and she responded. The Gators launched a rocket shot from about 25 yards away in the middle of the field. The sophomore keeper reacted quickly and tipped the shot over the crossbar preserving the 330-minute shutout streak.
–The only other serious UF chance was swept away by Kristin Boyce who cleared the shot off the line to preserve the tie.
“Coming off the performance we had versus the Team Boca U-18’s, I knew our kids would be up for the Gators. If you can’t get up to play Florida you shouldn’t be playing. I felt very good about the quality of our chances versus UF. The way we competed made me feel very good because Florida is a team that is going to make another great run next fall. I like the way we tested ourselves against that caliber of team.”