Oct. 28, 2006
Tallahassee, FL - The sixth-ranked Florida State soccer team concluded its regular season Saturday with its third scoreless draw in ACC play this season. The Seminoles hit the post, the crossbar, a Clemson defender standing on the goal line and everything else but could not find the back of the net as they tied Clemson 0-0 in both team's final conference game. FSU (13-2-3, 5-2-3) out shot the Tigers (10-6-2, 5-3-2) 32-9 and, took 10 corners to two and forced Clemson into 11 saves but could not find a way to get on the scoreboard.
"I wouldn't describe it as frustrating," said senior India Trotter of the game. "I mean we out shot them 32-9 so I think it is going to come. Once the goals start to come for us they will come in bunches because we are creating chances. Hopefully they will start to go in as we move into the postseason."
"I thought our attacking play was quite good today," said FSU Head Coach Mark Krikorian. "It was a little frustrating but we created a lot of chances in a lot of different ways. I feel good that we were able to get a lot of players into the game and get them meaningful minutes. The bottom line is you have to put the ball into the net and we didn't finish our chances. Credit to Clemson and their goalkeeper for playing well. It was a good, hard fought game."
For Florida State the Seminoles controlled most of the play for 110:00. In the first 20 minutes of the match FSU had already banged a shot off the crossbar and knocked one off the post. Later in the second half Clemson goalkeeper Ashley Phillips, who had a brilliant game making 10 saves half of which saved goals, was caught out of the net. Trotter blasted a shot towards an empty net but the Tiger defense was there to clear the ball off the line.
"That's the game of soccer," said Trotter. "It happens. All you can do is keep trying. Eventually these will start to go in."
"It has always been part of my philosophy if you create enough chances you are going to score goals," said Krikorian. "We were a little unlucky in finishing today. We have to be more precise in the box. Overall, I thought our players did great."
Another encouraging sign on top of the chances created in the attack, was the FSU defense. The Seminoles recorded their record-setting sixth ACC shutout of the season. It was also the tenth overall shutout of the season, which is the most ever recorded by a Florida State team in the regular season.
"The defense did a heck of a job today," said senior Ali Mims who increased her school record for shutouts to 17. "This is a testament to the work ethic of this entire team. We knew Clemson was going to come out and pressure. The defense adjusted and did very well against a team that had won four straight games coming in."
With all six of FSU's seniors starting, Clemson had control of the game for the first few minutes while the Seminoles adjusted to three new starters on the field but in the sixth minute things began to click for Florida State. The first scoring chance came on a great free kick by Sarah Wagenfuhr. The sophomore floated a ball into the box over the top of the Tiger backline. Three Seminoles timed their runs perfectly and found themselves alone behind the defense. Selin Kuralay was in perfect position but her header went just over the top of the crossbar.
In the 15th minute FSU almost broke the tie as Rowland ripped a shot from 22 yards out on the left side. Her drive beat Phillips at the near post but banged off the post.
Five minutes later another senior caught iron. Making just the second start of her career, Colette Swensen almost had a senior day to remember for the ages. On a ball that was cleared out, Swensen blasted a half-volley that caught the underside of the crossbar that was hit so hard that it bounced out of danger after catching the frame.
Phillips came up with her first game-changing save in the 30th minute. Iraia Iturregi did a great job of picking the pocket of a Clemson defender at the top of the 18. She pulled the trigger immediately and forced a diving save by Phillips at the near post. On the ensuing corner Mami Yamaguchi put her service right onto the head of Rowland who nudged her header just wide of the backpost.
Another senior got into the act in the 38th minute. This time an attempted clearance landed right at the foot of Trotter about six yards from goal. The ball bounced up and Trotter did the best she could to finish the play but pushed her shot just wide.
After a 16-1 advantage in first half shots, the second half wasn't much different as FSU continued to test the Clemson defense and Phillips. Just over 10 minutes into the second half Trotter picked up a turnover and ran at the Tiger backline. With Yamaguchi right by her side, the two broke into the Clemson 18. Trotter broke off and was in alone. She played a ball across to Yamaguchi but her shot was blocked by a Clemson defender.
In a span of less then five minutes in the middle of the second half, Florida State generated three more big time chances. In the 67th minute Yamaguchi played a great square ball to Kirsten van de Ven at the top of the box where she seemed to have a free look. Her shot though was blocked by a Tiger defender who recovered and got a leg in to break up the play.
One minute later Iturregi made a run along the top of the 18. She got a free look and bent a wicked shot to the backpost. The drive was just wide glancing off the far post as it went out of bounds.
Then in the 71st minute the Seminoles got another set piece as Clemson was whistled for 28 fouls in the match. This one was taken by Yamaguchi who put it onto the head of Rowland but her shot was directed right into the waiting arms of Phillips.
In the final 10 minutes FSU generated a couple more good attacks and in the 81st minute it looked like the tie would finally be broken. Phillips came out to break up a Seminole attack and the rebound of a pass came right to Trotter. With Phillips out of the net, Trotter banged a shot toward the goal where two Clemson defenders were positioned and one was able to block the drive keeping it out of the net.
Then with seven minutes remaining another set piece by Wagenfuhr was played to Iturregi's head. The junior's shot though was once again right at the keeper.
Phillips came up huge once again just over a minute into the OT period. Another Wagenfuhr set piece was played into the box and onto the head of Rowland. This time the senior knocked it down at the near post but a sprawling one-handed save by Phillips foiled another Seminole chance.
In the 94th minute it was a corner kick that almost resulted in an FSU goal. Kuralay drove her service to the near post where Becky Edwards was waiting. Phillips came out to try and grab the service but Edwards got there first and headed her shot back over the top of Phillips but over the top off the goal as well.
The last chance for FSU came in the 104th minute and it was another header by Rowland who battled with Phillips all day. This time the two collided on a corner kick service. Rowland got a shot on goal but Phillips frustrated her again.
With the tie, Florida State has assured itself of at least a third place finish in the ACC standings marking the first time ever Florida State has finished in the top three of the conference in back-to back seasons. The Seminoles will not know where they will be seeded or who they will face until late Sunday evening when Wake Forest and Duke make up a game postponed earlier this season.
"I wasn't worrying about seeding for the ACC Tournament today," said Krikorian. "We always take each game as it comes and don't look ahead. If we finish second or third, we are still going to go, play and do our best. That is something we can't control. We had control here today and we let it slip away a little bit. That's OK. We will move on and be better for it."
"We fell pretty good going into the postseason," said Mims. "We have a couple days to regroup and get ready. The ACC Tournament is a great chance to get another crack at teams. We are excited about the opportunities that we have this coming week in Cary."
Information on the 2006 ACC Women's Soccer Championships will be available Sunday on the official athletic website for Florida State University at seminoles.com.