Oct. 18, 2003
Winston-Salem, NC - For a team that is 24th in the nation in scoring offense, the members of the 11th-ranked Tribe's defense might be the squad's unsung heroes. The Seminoles (9-5-1, 3-1-1) set numerous school records Saturday night in a double overtime 0-0 tie at No. 12 Wake Forest (9-2-2, 0-2-2). The draw, coupled with Virginia's 1-0 loss to Duke, vaulted the Seminoles into a tie for second place in the ACC and sent the Tribe off to its best conference start in team history.
"Ever since we left Kansas we have been in a must-win situation and there has been no room for error," said head coach Patrick Baker. "The nice thing is the players have responded. We have put ourselves in a very good situation tonight as we moved into a tie for second in the ACC with two games left to play. That is exciting. That is an honor. We are excited about what we have done and the challenges that lie ahead."
Florida State set records as they shutout an ACC opponent for the third time in a year, shutout an ACC opponent for the third straight game and set a new school shutout record as they haven't allowed a goal in 380:27. While the Seminoles were held to a season-low 10 shots, it was indicative of a game that saw excellent play between the 18's but few serious scoring chances form close in.
"It was a good, fair result tonight. It was two good teams and there was a lot of action between the 18's," said Baker. "They are a good defensive team and I think we have become a good defensive team. Wake had only lost two games all year so they are accustomed to winning as we have become so as well over the last five weeks. Tony (da Luz) does a great job with this team. He always has something to throw at us. His teams always challenge you and he keeps you on your toes. I am just happy we didn't give away something late. I thought we did a good job tonight."
"We competed tonight. We couldn't pull out the win but we fought to the end," said Amber Tollefson. "They are a great possession team and you have to try and disrupt that. We did that well at times. We were getting stuck in and once again this team showed its fighter mentality. Coach asked us to compete for (injured captain Kristin) Boyce and we did."
Keeper Joy McKenzie (7-3-0, 3-0-1) also set a single season record for ACC shutouts with her third of the season. She has now established new highs for minutes without allowing a goal (510:22) and minutes without allowing a goal in conference play (375:22). More amazingly, the Tribe set all the records without four-year starter and team captain Kristin Boyce who broke her foot in the Clemson win.
"The defense was amazing once again. They really limited Wake's chances," said McKenzie. "Everyone stepped up tonight. All night long it was somebody different and things are coming together in the back. Of course you are going to miss somebody like (Kristin) Boyce back there but we held together really well tonight. It is just a mindset we entered the game with."
"The effort defensively continues to impress me," said Baker. "This was our first game without Kristin Boyce who isn't just a senior, four-year starter but she is one of our captains," said Baker. "She is also one of our MVP candidates based on her performances this season. To step out on the road and play a nationally ranked team and be able to shutout another ACC opponent speaks volumes to her replacement Teresa Rivera but also to the defense and this team collectively. For us to have shutout three straight ACC opponents is just remarkable and is something we have never been able to do. It is nice to see that happen."
McKenzie, a Houston, TX native, came to Florida State as a walk-on in 2001 and had played just 152:42 in her career. She now has a shutout streak that is three times longer than her career minutes coming into the year.
"I had great coaching from day one here at Florida State," said McKenzie. "The coaches knew that I needed formal training because I never had that. My two years under coach (John) Galas, our former goalkeeper coach, really helped me build the fundamentals. This year coach (Rob) Thompson has been amazing and continued that development. I wanted to prove myself and I was determined to do that. Hopefully I am on the right road.
"I guess my confidence is continuing to grow and I am just having fun out there. As long as I am having a good time, hopefully I will play well. I am trying not to think too much. I want to keep it simple and just keep having fun."
The Seminole offense found it hard to settle into a rhythm against a Demon Deacon side that did a brilliant job of possessing the ball Saturday night. The Seminoles, who came in averaging two goals a game in ACC play, put just three shots on frame in the 110:00 game.
"Wake is very good in possession so it is always a little hard to get your offense started against them," said Camie Bybee. "They played well tonight but we competed. We did get a few chances but it was hard to break through their defense."
The Deacons became just the second team this season to record a shutout versus a potent FSU offense. Saturday's match marked the first time since September 5 that FSU was held without a goal. In fact, Florida State has managed just one goal in the last 207:46 of play.
"A lot of that has to do with the level of competition," said Bybee. "Most ACC games are decided by one goal. Getting a result on the road is important but we held our own against a top 15 team and came away with a tie. That team has only lost twice all year and they are undefeated at home. We fought all night."
Just because the Tribe didn't find the back of the net, it doesn't mean they didn't have their chances. Florida State had an early chance to jump out in front of the Deacons in just the fifth minute. Katie Beal launched a free kick from the left side near the touchline to the back post. Freshman Kelly Rowland got above the Wake defenders and just notched the header shot wide of the post.
In the 29th minute, WFU cleared a Seminoles' corner kick out but right on to the foot of India Trotter. With the defense all charging out, Trotter took one touch and squeezed behind the entire Demon Deacon defense. She ripped a shot to the upper corner at the near post but WFU keeper Kenna Healy was there to make the save.
Rowland got into the act again in the 34th minute. The Tribe played a short corner that wound up at the feet of senior Tollefson. The wide midfielder sent a cross to the far post that Rowland latched on to. Her header though was wide of the mark keeping the score even at 0-0.
In the second half, Tollefson really started to work the Deacon defense from her wide position. In the 77th minute Bybee sent Tollefson down the left wing. The captain got endline and her cross pulled Healy off of her line. The keeper was unable to get a piece of the pass though and the service ran across of the face of an open Demon Deacon net but there were no Seminoles there to tap it in.
Tollefson sent in a similar service in the 87th minute but this time Jez Ratliff and Julia Schnugg were both making runs into the Wake box. Tollefson's cross got past Healy but neither runner could latch on to the ball.
Both teams had one really good chance to end the game in the first overtime period. Sophomore Sarah Kozey had a great drive that was about waist high and bending towards the far post. McKenzie came up big as she dove to her right and was able to fist the shot out of danger.
"I am not sure if that was going to get in. It seemed like it was just going to go wide but I didn't want to give up anything," said McKenzie. "I gave away the corner but I just wanted to protect our goal in overtime."
Just two minutes later, it was Tollefson's turn to try and end the game. The senior took in the pass from Trotter about 22 yards out and dead center at the top of the box. She looked as if she caught Healy flat footed and might be able to drop her shot between the keeper and the cross bar. The Wake net minder was just able to punch the shot over the bar.
"India (Trotter) was cutting it back and forth. She was doing a good job of possessing," said Tollefson. "I was there to support her and I took a chance. I put it on my left foot and tried to get something out of it. We got a corner but I thought there was a chance to maybe end the game."
As big of a role as Tollefson played in the Seminole offense, it was her unselfishness to move into the Tribe backline for stretches that was most admirable. The wide midfielder had never played in the Seminole defense before Saturday but was more than willing to spell starter Rivera throughout the late stages of the game.
"I can't remember the last time I played defense. I think it was with the regional team in Portland," said Tollefson. "It is something you have to work at but I didn't mind doing it at all. I just want to help us win anyway I can.
"We all knew we had to rally after (Kristin) Boyce was injured. We had to bring another element to the game," said Amber Tollefson. "We were scrappy tonight."
Saturday night's match concluded a stretch where FSU played five of six games away from home. The Tribe posted a 4-1-1 record in that span and Florida State is now 8-1-1 in its last 10 games. The Tribe has put itself in position to set the best ACC record in school history. If the Seminoles are able to get a split in games versus last place NC State and first place North Carolina, the Seminoles will finish the ACC season at 4-2-1, which is the best mark in team history.
"Being 3-1-1 and tied for second in the ACC is something we have never done before and is a credit to this team's hard work. It feels amazing," said Tollefson. "It is awesome to be one of the upper echelon teams in this conference and for people to recognize that we are a team that is going to compete. The fact that we are doing well in the ACC and thriving is a huge credit to how hard this team works."
"I am happy where we are sitting in the conference," said Bybee. "We would have loved to get a result tonight and been 4-1 but I am happy where we are and with who we have beaten so far. I like where we are sitting at this point of the season."
The Seminoles return home next weekend for the last home stand of the regular season. The Tribe will host NC State Friday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m. on senior night. Come and join FSU as they honor senior co-captains Kristin Boyce and Amber Tollefson.
Florida State's last home game of the season is the school's first ever meeting with Florida Atlantic. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 pm start Monday, October 27. For more information on either game please log on to the official athletic site for the Florida State University Department of Athletics at www.seminoles.com.