Nov. 4, 2006
SO WE MEET AGAIN
If you have to face one team more than any other in all of college soccer, you probably wouldn't choose North Carolina to be that opponent. But when the Seminoles face off with the Tar Heels Sunday in the ACC Championship title game, it will be the 20th time the teams have matched up in the last 12 seasons. Florida State has played UNC once a year every year in the regular season and after Sunday's game the two teams will have met eight times in the postseason. This will be the seventh meeting between the teams in the ACC Tournament. The first four meetings came in the first round of the ACC Tourney but since then the teams have met in the semi-finals once and now will play for the championship for the third time against one another. No team in has played more games versus the Tar Heels since 1995 than Florida State.
Anyway you look at it, when a team has allowed as many goals as shutouts they have recorded it is usually going to be a pretty good defensive season. That has been the case with Florida State in 2006. The Seminoles have allowed just 12 goals while recording 12 shutouts this year. The 12 clean sheets in one season are a new school record. The original record was set last season in head coach Mark Krikorian's first year on the job. In 45 career games at FSU, Krikorian's teams have recorded 23 shutouts meaning they do not allow an opponent to score in 51% of their games played. Florida State has now recorded four shutouts in a row dating back to the worst defensive showing of the season. Following a 3-1 loss to Duke in Durham, FSU has shutout every opponent since then. Florida State will enter Sunday's game with North Carolina in the midst of a shutout streak of 403:38. This is the second-longest shutout streak in program history. The record is 799:29 and that was set in 2003 when FSU also played for the ACC Championship and later in the College Cup. Despite shutting out 12 opponents this year, FSU had never gone more than back-to0back games recording a clean sheet. This current run has not only seen a season-best three-game shutout streak but now four games after the Wake Forest match.
RATING WITH THE RPI
The NCAA released its updated women's soccer RPI on October 29 and the Seminoles are sitting pretty. Florida State checked in at No. 5 in the latest RPI joining ACC partners North Carolina, who is No. 1, and Wake Forest (No. 8) in the top 10. No conference in America has two teams in the top 10 of the latest NCAA RPI yet the Atlantic Coast Conference has three schools in that group. There are a few reasons the Seminoles are rating so high in the RPI. For starters, the team is 14-2-4. Then you have the fact that Florida State finished second in the nation's strongest conference. Also you have to look at what FSU has done versus the best teams on its schedule. Four of FSU's opponent's are in the top 12 of the latest NCAA RPI and the Seminoles posted a 3-1-1 record versus that group. The only two losses the Seminoles have this season came against UNC who is No. 1 and Duke who is No. 34. FSU has also played one of the best schedules in the nation. On top of their ACC opponents, the Seminoles have played Portland and Florida, who are both in the top 15 of the RPI. Both Arizona State and UCF are in the RPI top 60 and the Seminoles have not played a single out of conference match versus a team below .500. Two other FSU opponents, Jacksonville and Stetson, played for the A-Sun Championship and automatic NCAA berth Saturday night. After Sunday's ACC Championship game, the Seminoles will have played eight games versus NSCAA Top 25 teams and Florida State's opponents have a combined 232-133-39 record for a winning percentage of .623.
FIT TO BE TIED
The 2006 season has been a great one for Florida State so far but a little strange as well. With the tie versus Wake Forest in the ACC semi-final, the Seminoles set a single season record for ties with four. The previous record was three and was set in the 1998, 2002 and 2004 seasons. The strange thing about this season though is the way FSU's ties have come about. All four of Florida State's ties have come in 0-0 games. Even stranger is that Florida State has gone to overtime five times and the only win came following a 0-0 tie in regulation time. So all five of FSU's OT contests have come following scoreless draws in the first 90 minutes. The win came in the first OT game of the year in Tempe, AZ. On September 1, FSU and Arizona State played to a 0-0 tie in regulation before Selin Kuralay scored a golden goal in the 93rd minute. It was the last time Florida State recorded a golden goal this season. Since then every tie has come versus an ACC school.
WRITING THE PERFECT FINAL CHAPTER
Florida State's six-year senior goalkeeper Ali Mims is writing the perfect ending to an amazing career and it all seemed to come full circle Friday night versus Wake Forest in the ACC semi-finals. While nobody else on the team or coaching staff was here in 2001, that season Mims started to cement her FSU legacy by putting together one of the most memorable goalkeeping performances in FSU history saving three Virginia PK's sending Florida State to the school's first ever ACC Championship game. Five years later FSU once again went to PK's in another 0-0 game at the ACC semi-final and Mims came up with another penalty kick to send Florida State into an ACC Title game. Mims is FSU's career leader in minutes played (5432), wins (42) and shutouts (18) but this season she is doing things never done by a Seminole keeper before. In 2006 she has recorded a school-record 10 shutouts and her GAA is now 0.53, which is almost half of the school-record 0.90 GAA she established in 2005. Mims came into the ACC Tournament ranked 24th in the nation in GAA and all she has done in two games is record 14 saves and two shutouts in 200 minutes of play.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DECADE MAKES
This has been a pretty special decade for Florida State soccer already. After struggling to a 40-54-6 record and just one winning season from 1995-1999, the Seminole program has developed into one of the best in the ACC and America over the last seven seasons. The Seminoles have not yet threatened the Tar Heels dominance in the ACC but if you look at Florida State compared to the rest of the conference, the numbers are stunning. Besides North Carolina, no ACC team this decade has more wins, more ACC Final appearances, a better NCAA Tournament record more Sweet 16's or more College Cup appearances than Florida State. FSU and North Carolina are the only programs in this conference with over 100 victories this decade and they are the only teams to play for the ACC title three or more times since 2000. With more regular season wins, more ACC Tournament finals, more NCAA Tournament wins and more College Cup appearances than any ACC team outside of Chapel Hill, the Seminoles have come a long way since the program began in 1995.
ACC Teams (since 2000) Team Record ACC Tourney Finals NCAA Tourney Sweet 16 College Cups UNC 156-9-7 19-0-1 7 25-3-1 6 4 FSU 105-42-15 5-5-4 3 12-5-2 4 2 UVA 98-40-14 5-4-3 2 10-5-2 4 0 CLEM 89-47-10 4-6-2 1 4-6-1 2 0 DUKE 83-56-8 5-7-1 1 5-5-1 1 0 WFU 76-53-12 1-5-3 0 2-6-0 0 0 UMD 61-61-16 2-6-1 0 3-3-1 1 0 NCST 59-62-6 0-5-1 0 0-0-0 0 0