Oct. 3, 2006
MARYLAND (4-6-1, 0-3-0)
SERIES RECORD: FSU leads 7-6-1
IN COLLEGE PARK: Series tied 2-2
SERIES STREAK: FSU is 3-0-1 in the last four
LAST MEETING: FSU 3 UMD 1
TERP IN TIME
It's hard to find a stranger series between FSU and any of its ACC opponents than the series with Maryland. While the Terrapins are one of three from the original seven ACC teams that FSU is .500 or better against, the Seminoles have a losing record at home versus Maryland and are just 2-2 at Ludwig Field. Where FSU has had its most success has been at neutral sites going 2-0. Those stats are a little skewed due to Maryland jumping out to a 5-1 lead in the series. Since 2001, FSU is 6-1-1 versus the Terrapins and 4-0-1 in the last four meetings in ACC play. The last time FSU lost a game to Maryland was in the 2002 ACC Tournament in Tallahassee going 3-0-1 since that game. The most obvious reason FSU has had success versus Maryland lately is goal production. The Seminoles have scored in seven straight games versus the Terrapins, the longest streak versus any ACC team. The last time the Seminoles were held without a goal versus UMD was in 2000 when the Seminoles lost 2-0 in College Park. In the first six meetings in the series Maryland out scored FSU 16-4, since then the Seminoles have 19-9 edge in goals scored. Maryland is one of just two ACC teams that FSU has scored 20 or more goals against. The Seminoles have scored 23 goals in the all-time series with Maryland, just behind the 24 goals they have recorded versus NC State. Even though FSU has already played and scored versus NC State and North Carolina this season, the Seminoles still have the longest streak of consecutive games with a goal versus Maryland at seven in a row.
BOSTON COLLEGE (7-4, 1-2)
SERIES RECORD: FSU leads 1-0-1
IN CHESTNUT HILL: First ever game
WIN STREAK: FSU has won one
LAST MEETING: FSU 3 BC 0
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED
Sunday's game versus Boston College will be the second ever ACC meeting between the schools and the first game played between the two in Chestnut Hill. Last year the teams faced off in Tallahassee for the first-ever meeting as conference rivals. The Seminoles scored early and often against a BC defense that was rated third in the nation. The Eagles came into Tallahassee having allowed three goals in 11 previous games. The Seminoles doubled that total in 90 minutes. Florida State now makes the return trip to Chestnut Hill. The Seminoles have had very little experience playing in the northeast. Overall FSU is 5-4 when playing in the northeast. The Seminoles have faced UConn (0-1), George Mason (3-1) and Maryland (2-2) in those nine contests. While the Seminoles don't have a lot of experience playing in the northeastern part of the country, their coach does. Head coach Mark Krikorian has made his living for most of his career in the northeast. He has been named the NSCAA's Northeast Region Coach of the Year on two occasions on top of winning coach of the year honors from the New England Collegiate Conference twice as well. The Seminole boss has more experience versus the Eagles than the FSU soccer program as a whole as well. Krikorian has faced BC three times now and holds a 3-0 record in those meetings. Those games came when he was the head coach at the University of Hartford. He won both games at Hartford by one goal. In 2000 his Hawks won 2-1 and in 1999 they got a 1-0 overtime win.
It is hard to imagine but when Florida State took the field versus Virginia Tech Sunday, the squad already had reached the halfway point of the 2006 season. If you thought 2005 was a good year, 2006 has started even better. Last season FSU was 8-2 in its first 10 games and 2-2 in its first four ACC games. This year the squad is 8-1-1 overall and 2-1-1 in conference. FSU isn't off to a better start because of level of competition either. In the first 10 games of 2005 Florida State played four games versus top 25 teams and went 2-2 in those matches. This season the Seminoles have also played four top 25 teams, three of which were in the top 10 at the time of the games, and gone 2-1-1. If you look at the statistics, there are some obvious differences between the two clubs despite the stellar starts by both teams. The 2006 squad has not put up the same offensive numbers as last year's team. Florida State is averaging one goal less per game in 2006 than it did in 2005. Every offensive stat is down some but nothing is as noticeable as goals. Three fewer Seminoles have recorded a goal so far in 2006 and India Trotter and Selin Kuralay have combined for seven fewer goals so far this season than they did last year. The disparity isn't quite as great when it comes to the first four ACC games each year. FSU has scored fewer goals in ACC play over the same amount of games but the difference isn't huge. Last season versus the same four teams (UNC, NC State, Virginia and VT) the Seminoles averaged 1.75 goals per game while this year that number is down to 1.25. The drop off in overall goal production may be a little misleading since Florida State scored seven goals in one game versus Jacksonville. Even with the JU result out of the equation, those numbers beg the question why FSU has a better record both in and out of conference through 10 games in 2006. The reason is simple, defense. Florida State has done a much better job in 2006 keeping the ball out of the back of its own net. The Seminoles have allowed three fewer goals through the first 10 games this year compared to last season as the team's GAA is 0.59 compared to 0.89 last year. That number is even more impressive when you look at ACC play. In four games the Seminoles have allowed half as many goals and recorded twice as many shutouts. The team's GAA is less than half of what it was through the same amount of games in 2006 (0.71 compared to 1.50). That is a big reason for the stellar start to the 2006 campaign.
HE JUST KEEPS WINNING
Mark Krikorian's brief tenure at Florida State has been nothing short of stellar. The Seminole coach led the team to its first 20-win season and second College Cup in his first year on the job in 2005. He is off to an even better start in 2006. It shouldn't be surprising though when you look at Krikorian's past. He won two National Championships following undefeated seasons at Franklin Pierce. He then built Hartford into a national power before coming to FSU. Krikorian has never posted a winning percentage below .700 at any of his collegiate head coaching positions. At two of Krikorian's three collegiate stops he has posted a winning percentage above .800 (Franklin Pierce and FSU). With that kind of success it is easy to see why he is one of the most successful coaches of all-time. Krikorian currently ranks 12th on the all-time list for the winningest coaches across all divisions. The Seminole coach is one of only two members of that top 12 that coached in two divisions of the NCAA. The only exception is Florida's Becky Burleigh who started her career at an NAIA school. He is the ninth winningest active coach all-time across all divisions.
For the second year in a row at Florida State Krikorian is proving he is one of the best Division I coaches as well. Krikorian's numbers with the Seminoles are remarkable. Krikorian's teams now have the two best win streaks to open a season at seven (2005) and six (2006) games. What the Seminole head coach is doing when it comes to consecutive victories is unprecedented in FSU soccer history. The top two winning streaks and three of the five longest winning streaks in Seminole soccer history have been set in Krikorian's FSU coaching career. Last year he led FSU to nine and seven game streaks. With a 6-0 start this year, the three longest win streaks in school history would have all come under Krikorian's guidance. Last season he became just the second coach in ACC history ever to lead his team on an eight game win streak in conference. The Seminole boss now has FSU in the midst of another streak. With a 1-0-1 home stand this past weekend, FSU has tied the record for the longest home unbeaten streak in school history at 11-0-1. Krikorian also had the most successful start to an FSU coaching career ever. In his first 30 games Krikorian posted and .850 winning percentage, which was 300 points better than any previous coach. Krikorian just hasn't produced wins; he has secured big wins as well. In the first 10 years and 206 games of FSU soccer history, the Seminoles recorded seven wins over top 10 teams but in just 35 games Krikorian's teams have already recorded five. On top of the win streaks, wins over top teams and a trip to the College Cup Krikorian also has led FSU to its highest ranking ever in all four college soccer polls including the first No. 1 ranking in school history.
HOLD THOSE RUNS
One of the few frustrations for the Seminoles in an 8-1-1 start to the year has been the offense. Florida State is not producing goals at the same rate the team did in 2005. The squad just seems to be a little off in the attacking third. One of the reasons is the loss of All-American Viola Odebrecht. The German midfielder ran the FSU offense in 2005 and she ran it to perfection. A second reason is the fact the team has had to juggle the line-up so much due to injuries and players missing time for one reason or another. That has led to a disjointed attack at times. The best example of that, other than the fewer goals, is the number of offsides. The Seminoles have been whistled for offsides 30 times in 10 games. What is more disturbing is the increase in that number. Florida State was flagged for offsides just three times in the first three games but that number has jumped to 27 in last seven matches. On the flip side, FSU opponents have been called offsides just three times all season. The Seminole defense makes it a point of not letting teams get in behind them so that is one reason opponents are off so few times but a 10:1 ratio in the offsides department is still a surprising stat.
CAN'T SCORE, CAN'T WIN
While FSU's goal production is down this season it hasn't been a factor in the team's winning percentage due to the Seminole defense. Ali Mims and the FSU backline are once again posting record-breaking numbers. In 2005, FSU set single season record for shutouts (11) and GAA (0.86). It was the third straight year in which the Seminoles bested their GAA record and the second straight year in which the team broke the shutout record. At the rate FSU is going, those numbers will fall again. Right now the Seminoles GAA is 0.59, which is way ahead of the all-time record of 0.86. That number is pretty amazing considering the Seminoles have already faced Portland, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia among others. FSU is also on pace to break the single season shutout record as well. This season Florida State has recorded a clean sheet versus 50% of its opponents, which is ahead of the 44% of the opponents FSU blanked in its record-setting 2005 season. The Seminoles would need seven more shutouts to establish a new single season record. While that seems unlikely to happen in the regular season with just eight matches to play, FSU should have a chance at a new mark with ACC and NCAA Tournament play as well.
Mami Yamagauchi seems to be settling into the collegiate game a lot better in her second year in America. The stats back that up. The sophomore from Tokyo, Japan is off to an unbelievable start half way through the year.Yamaguchi already has more goals in 10 games this season than she had in 24 games in 2005. With her game-winner versus Virginia Tech, Yamaguchi has three goals on the year compared to two all of last season. Last year she had just one game-winner. This year Yamaguchi has doubled that number with game-winners versus Portland and Virginia Tech. With two game-winners, you could say the sophomore has been been at her best when it counts but that really doesn't tell the whole story. Yamaguchi has five career goals of which 60% have been game-winners, another 60% have come in ACC games and another 60% have come in the 80th minute or later. Her goal versus then-No. 1 Portland completed FSU's comeback from a 1-0 defecit at halftime and ended defending National Champion Portland's 26-game unbeaten streak. Her first game-winner came in overtime versus Duke in 2005. That is nothing new in her career. In 34 career starts, Yamaguchi has recorded either a game-winning goal or assist in seven games. That means the sophomore has had a hand in 25% of Florida State's victories since she stepped on the pitch last fall. The game-winning goals and assists have come in some huge contests. Five of Yamaguchi's seven game-winners have come versus ranked opponents. SECOND SIGHT
When you start to compare the Seminoles first and second seasons under Mark Krikorian there are a lot of similarities. First off you have the wins. The Seminole coach led FSU to a winning percentage above .800 last year and he is doing the same in 2006. Then you have the big wins. He has coached FSU to wins over seven top 10 teams in just a season and a half. His team's also have had a penchant to be more dangerous in the second 45 minutes than the first. That has never been truer than this season.In 2006 FSU has outscored its opponents 10-1 after the half. The only second half goal FSU has allowed all season came versus North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Those numbers are pretty amazing when you compare them to what FSU does in the first half. This season Florida State and its opponents have both socred five goals apiece in the first half of games. Florida State has only taken two more shots in the second half of games (81-79) but they have been much better finishing their chances on goal. Of the 32 shots FSU has put on goal in the first half, five have been put in the goal compared to 10 of the 28 shots on goal that have been scored in the second half. That is really the only difference. Most of the team's stats are pretty similar from one half to the next. FSU has taken the exact amount of corners per half (19), taken just two more shots in the second half and been offsides five fewer times.
It is hard to imagine there is any part of striker Selin Kuralay's game that is underrated. The All-American candidate has been a goal scoring machine in her time at Florida State. She is already the quickest player in FSU history to reach the 50 point mark and no Seminole has ever been better at scoring game-winning goals. While the goals she scores to secure a win are very important, the goals she gets to start games are a big part of FSU's success as well.Kuralay has started 32 matches in her career and has scored the game's first goal an amazing 10 times. That is just stunning to think that the Australian will score the first goal of a game she starts over 30% of the time. Last season Kuralay struck the first blow in a game five times in 24 matches. This season she has equalled that number already in just 10 games. That isn't even the most amazing stat. What is more amazing is how those goals translate into wins. Florida State is 10-0 when Kuralay scored the game's first goal. If you think about that number it is just amazing but then combine that with what Kuralay has done at the end of games as well. The junior has scored 10 game-winning goals in her career. That is just one away from the FSU career record. Last season two of her five first goals were also the game-winner. This year four of her five first goals were also the game-winner. In two years that means Kuralay has 14 goals that were either the first goal in a game FSU won or the clininching goal in an FSU victory. Those 14 goals account for 50% of FSU's 28 wins over her career.
ROLLING AND TROTTING ALONG
India Trotter and Kelly Rowland are two of the most special players ever in the same class. When they finish their careers they will go down with the other special duos like Kristin Boyce and Amber Tollefson, Camie Bybee and Jez Ratliff and Maren and Marte Vike Edvardsen. The two seniors have the numbers to back up the claim that they may be the best four-year duo in school history.While Rowland spent almost her entire career in the backline and Trotter spent two seasons as a holding midfielder, the pair still have combined for 100 points with half of their senior seasons still to be played. They easily have the chance to leave as the most prolific same class duo when it comes to points, goals and assists. Where the two have really made their mark though is when it comes to the number of starts they have piled up over three and a half seasons. Five games from now, the pair will be the first ever from the same class to start a combined 170 games. Rowland and Trotter's careers have now spanned 81 games and the duo have combined to only miss two starts in that stretch. ROAD WARRIORS PART II?
One of the keys to Florida State's success in 2005 was its play on the road. The Seminoles went 8-1-1 in an opponent's park and that was a huge factor in the team's 16-2 regular season. The race to repeat that type of success continues this weekend.Florida State is already 3-1-0 on the road this season with four more road contests remaining. The challenge will be to keep their head above water away from home as all four road contests come in conference and three of those four games come against teams ranked in one poll or another coming into the week. Mark Krikorian's 11-2-1 road record is easily the best in Seminole soccer history. Krikorian has a .821 road winning percentage compared to .368 for Heather Kerby-Nelson and .558 for Patrick Baker. His team set a school record last season with five straight road wins. To match that mark FSU will have to win out away from home in 2006