Sept. 3, 2006
Tempe, AZ - Top-ranked Florida State continued its perfect start to the 2006 season Sunday afternoon with a 3-1 win over Loyola (MD) in the Heather Farr KICKS Against Breast Cancer Tournament. The Seminoles responded to a sluggish first half that was even at 1-1 to score two second half goals highlighted by Kelly Rowland's game-winner to take home the tournament title. The win kept FSU a perfect 3-0 on the season.
"I think overall we are all a little disappointed in our performance today," said FSU Head Coach Mark Krikorian. "I don't think we showed up fully prepared to play. Credit to Loyola. They frustrated us and did a heck of a job of making us have to work for everything. I thought we were a little bit arrogant, a little naïve and not very bright.
"If I step back and look at it, you could say we had a poor performance today and were still able to find a way to win. That is a good sign but that will catch up to us sooner or later. Probably sooner and we will be hurt if we don't show up everyday ready to compete and play hard. It is good to win but for me we have to play harder and smarter. This was a little bit of a step back for us."
For the first time in 2006 FSU was out shot in a game as the Greyhounds held a 16-12 edge. Loyola had more shots than Arizona State and Portland took versus FSU combined. The Seminoles allowed Loyola more shots in a half than they allowed all game to Portland and in an OT game versus Arizona State Friday night as well. After Selin Kuralay gave FSU a lead about 30 minutes in, Loyola answered within eight minutes. Florida State then came out in the second half and used goals by Rowland and Katrin Schmidt to put the game out of reach.
"We were pretty flat and a little complacent to begin with," said Kuralay. "The main thing is that we were able to step it up in the second half. I thought it was really good leadership by Kelly (Rowland) to be able to put in that second goal when we really needed it. It really gave us a lot more confidence especially coming from her. It was a sharp goal, a typically Kelly Rowland goal. It boosted our confidence a lot more."
Through the first 15 minutes of the game it was evident that Florida State would be in for a fight as the Greyhounds had the better of the play in the early part of the game though neither squad generated a serious threat on goal.
Florida State's first chance came off a set piece. A long Rowland throw-in was flicked on by Becky Edwards. Loyola keeper Brittany Henderson got to the flick just as FSU was ready to pull the trigger from about six yards out.
The Seminoles had another chance to break the scoreless draw in the 21st minute. Goalkeeper Ali Mims' long goal kick was flicked on by Kuralay to India Trotter. The All-American took a chance on goal but her shot was just wide of the far post.
Five minutes later Florida State started to find its offensive rhythm. Mami Yamaguchi and Schmidt ran a beautiful give-and-go to split the Loyola defense of the left side. Yamaguchi got the ball back and sent a perfect cross to the head of Iraia Iturregi. The Spanish National team player got her head on the service but put it over the top of the goal.
FSU broke on top at 30:30. Toby Ranck started the play with a run from her wide position to the center of the pitch. She saw Kuralay and slotted a ball through. The Hermann Trophy candidate went in 1-v-1 with the keeper and put her shot past Henderson and in at the backpost.
"I saw the space in behind their backline," said Kuralay. "I saw Toby running with the ball, holding the middle of their backline. Toby played a great ball in and I just tried to bend it around the keeper to the far post. The keeper did a good job of cutting off my angle but I was still able to sneak it by her."
The Seminoles almost added to the lead one minute later on another Rowland long throw. Kuralay, with her back to the post, got a head on the service and flicked it backwards. Henderson once again read the play right and came out to smother it before FSU could get off a shot.
Just over eight minutes after FSU broke through, Loyola got even. A defensive breakdown allowed Carolyn Loy Kennington to run in alone on the left side. The Seminole defense recovered to force the Greyhound endline but a phenomenal rip to the backpost left Mims with no chance at a save making it a 1-1 game.
After a lethargic first 45 minutes, FSU came out of half with more energy and resolve and the effort almost paid off four minutes in. Kirsten van de Ven played a ball into Trotter. The senior went endline, beat her defender and then got a cross off past a sliding Henderson. The service sailed in front of an empty net but the defense recovered in time to clear the ball away before it reached Holly Peltzer.
The early attack sparked FSU as the team continued to find ways to solve the Greyhounds. A few minutes after Trotter's run, Kuralay found the senior again with a great ball down the seam. Trotter got in 1-v-1 with Henderson and fired a low shot that the Loyola keeper went down to save once again keeping the score level.
Less than a minute later FSU would go on top. The play started with a great ball from the wing off the foot of Iraia Iturregi. The junior whipped in a cross to the front of the net that Rowland nodded home. It was the 13th goal and fifth game-winner of the senior's illustrious career.
"Iraia served a great ball in," said Rowland. "I was lucky to be there and put it in the back of the net. We didn't have our best game today. We needed someone to step up and get us in front in this game. I am just glad could make a play. It was a big goal to put us up 2-1."
The set piece continued to be a dangerous weapon for the Seminoles as they almost capitalized on another in the 76th minute. An Edward's free kick was floated in 10 yards from the goalmouth. Kuralay and Rowland were both there to receive the service but Rowland directed her header just over the bar.
With just under 10 minutes remaining Florida State put the game away with a bit of fortune. Schmidt was about 25 yards from goal on the far left wing when she bent a cross to the back post. The wind seemed to help the cross along as it hit the iron and went in for the second goal of her career as FSU went up 3-1.
"I wish I could say I was trying to shoot it," said Schmidt. "I wanted to cross it in and it just went further and further and went in. I thought when I hit it that it may go in but it kept going longer and longer. There was a little bit of luck but I'll take it."
Florida State generated one last great chance and once again it was Trotter who was the beneficiary of a great ball down the middle of the pitch. The senior ran on to the pass about 25 yards out and dribbled to the top of the 18. Trotter once again tried to beat Henderson low but the Greyhound keeper was up to the task again making her third save of the day.
This was the third straight game where FSU scored a game-winning goal in the second half or overtime. After being doubled up on shots in the first half, FSU and Loyola each had eight in the second 45 minutes. Florida State also put five of their eight shots on goal compared to none for the Greyhounds.
"We were much better in the second half," said Krikorian. "That was a real good sign for us."
Florida State returns home Monday and will begin preparations for its Friday night game versus a top 15 Florida team (2-1-1). The game is at 8:00 p.m. at the Seminole Soccer Complex. It will be the first game of the season for FSU broadcast by SUN Sports and there will be no admission charge for the match. A live radio broadcast will be available for the game as well as Game Tracker at Seminoles.com, the official athletic website for Florida State University.