Oct. 21, 2006
Durham, NC - Thursday night the third-ranked FSU soccer team went into Spry Stadium, home of the ninth-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and left with the program's first-ever victory over Wake in Winston-Salem. Sunday the Seminoles (12-1-2, 5-1-2) will go into a ranked opponent's stadium where they have never won and try to leave with a victory again. This time they will need to try and pull that off against a 23rd-ranked Duke Blue Devil team (7-6-2, 3-3-1) that is 3-0-2 all-time versus FSU in Durham.
"It is very important we follow up what we did Thursday night by showing up and playing well Sunday," said All-American India Trotter. "Duke is coming off a difficult loss at home and we know they will come out ready to fight us on Sunday. It is their senior day as well so we know what kind of emotion they will bring to that game. We need to be at our best if we want to try and get another big result."
Florida State will enter the game coming off an emotional victory that saw the team stage two comebacks to wrestle a win away from a top 10 team in their home stadium. Duke, on the other hand, is coming off a difficult loss to Clemson where the Tigers staged two comebacks of their own to upset the Devils. Duke is now 3-5-2 in the last 10 games and after a 3-1 start in the ACC the Blue Devils have gone 0-2-1 in their last three conference matches.
"Their backs are against the wall and they are going to come out motivated and looking to get off to a fast start," said Trotter. "We better be prepared and better bring our `A' game."
"Duke is a good team and have a fair share of impressive results," said FSU Head Coach Mark Krikorian. "We know they are a little disappointed with their loss the other day versus Clemson. It sounded like they played pretty well but didn't finish the game. They have good players all over the field. They are organized and they fight hard. We are looking forward to another tough ACC road game."
For FSU the Seminoles are coming into this match as one of the hottest teams in the nation. Florida State has not lost a game since September 21 when they dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 2 North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The Seminoles gone eight straight games without a loss and are now just one game away from tying the school record for consecutive games without a defeat. For the second straight season under Krikorian, FSU has put together an unbeaten streak of eight games in the second half of their schedule.
"I think we will bring some confidence in after what happened at Wake," said Trotter. "We are on a run of eight straight games without a loss so that doesn't hurt. I just hope everyone on this team knows none of what happened in the past is going to matter when we play Sunday."
What is even more impressive about Krikorian's group this year than the win streak is the way they have been getting those wins. With the 3-2 victory over Wake, FSU improved to 9-1 this season in one-goal games. Since Krikorian took over last season, his FSU teams are now 11-2 all-time in one-goal games played in the regular season.
"I do think we have a pretty resilient group," said Krikorian. "We have played in all kinds of conditions, different elements and under different circumstances. We have fought hard. We have been down goals and comeback to win games. There are games we have played, what I consider not our best soccer, and found ways to win. I think we have an awful lot of character. We are feeling very good about ourselves as the regular season winds down and the ACC Tournament approaches."
"Even when we don't play to the best of our abilities, this team always fights," said Kirsten van de Ven. "The fact that this teams continually finds a way to get a victory speaks to the effort they give every time out."
Coming into Sunday's match the Seminoles have scored two or more goals in three straight games for the first time all season. The seven goals in the last three matches are just one fewer than the eight goals Florida State had amassed in the seven games immediately preceding this three-game stretch. For the first time this season FSU had a player scored multiple goals in a game as Selin Kuralay scored twice versus Wake Forest and for just the second time in 2006 the Seminoles scored three goals in a game.
"I think the offense is getting better but I still believe we are not utilizing the talent we have to the best of our abilities," said van de Ven. "The positive thing is that we are getting better and we are finding ways to win. It seems we are starting to peak at the right time as we enter the stretch run to the ACC and NCAA Tournaments."
Florida State concludes the road portion of their schedule Sunday versus No. 23 Duke. The match is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. start and fans can watch the key ACC battle live via ACC Select. Live Stats will also be available for the match on Duke's website. For links to the live video broadcast and live stats, please log on to the official athletic website for Florida State University at Seminoles.com.