Oct. 1, 2003
Tallahassee, FL - On the heels of a huge conference-opening victory over then-No. 14 Maryland (5-3-1), freshman Kelly Rowland was named one of just two defenders on the Soccer America National Team of the Week. This is the first national collegiate honor for the Wallingford, PA native. She is the fifth Seminole freshman to ever be named to a national team of the week.
"Wow. That's amazing," said the freshman upon learning of the honor. "That's pretty surprising. I didn't think I did that much to warrant that type of recognition. It was more the effort of the whole backline and very good team defending that helped us beat Maryland. It is an awesome recognition for a freshman and I really appreciate it."
This is the third straight week a Seminole player has been named to a national team of the week, a program first. Two weeks ago Katie Beal was named to the Soccer America team and last week fellow freshman Julia Schnugg was a member of SoccerBuzz's National Team of the Week. Rowland is just the third FSU defender to receive such an honor. This is the first time ever two Seminole freshmen have been named to national teams of the week in the same year not to mention in back-to-back weeks. It is also the first time two FSU defenders have ever made a national team of the week in the same season.
Rowland has been stellar since moving in to the middle of the Tribe defense, a move that has coincided with FSU's four game win streak and she played a huge game defensively in the middle in FSU's 2-1 win over the Terps. She also assisted on the game-winning goal.
"Kelly (Rowland) has come on in a lot of different ways. She went from not starting either of our two preseason scrimmages, to starting opening night. Playing against the level of competition she has played against, and some of the match-ups she has had to face against great players has been impressive but on Friday night she was exceptional," said Baker. "She had a wonderful heading presence. Her long throw-ins proved to be just as dangerous as (Lindsay) Givens' of Maryland. She hardly put a foot wrong all night in the back. She was challenging, competing and winning balls. She was great in distribution and decision-making. She didn't look like a freshman at all."
Rowland's long throw-in to Camie Bybee in the box scored the Tribe's game-winning goal in the 70th minute. It was her third assist of the year, which is second on the team. Rowland also played a key role in the equalizer as her header off a corner kick surprised UMd keeper Kristen Barnhill. The goalie was able to just clear the ball out but Gallegos pounded the clearance into the left side of the net for the FSU equalizer.
Defensively, Rowland helped limit Maryland to a season-low 11 shots and she held last week's ACC Player of the Week Kimmy Francis without a shot for just the second time in eight games this season. Francis came into the game averaging almost 3.5 shots per game. Overall, playing center back in the FSU back line, Rowland and her defensive teammates limited the Terps five leading shooters to just five shots. That group came into Tallahassee averaging 15 shots per game.
"Overall I thought I held up pretty well Friday night in the first ACC game of my career," said Rowland. "It was a lot of fun because I love to play in games that are close like that game was. I have been told to expect every ACC game to be that closely contested and intense. It was really physical as well. I just hope I can keep improving my game as the season moves on.
"I think the credit for Friday night belongs to the whole defensive unit. We were continually talking and trying to help each other shutdown a very good group of forwards. We always let each other know where the Maryland forwards were on the field and that helped."
Florida State returns to action tonight at 7:00 p.m. versus South Florida (4-3-1). The game will be played in Tampa, FL and live stats will be available on www.seminoles.con courtesy of the USF Sports Information Office. For the link to live stats, FSU soccer game notes, photo galleries and game stories, please log on to the official athletic website for Florida State university.