Oct. 27, 2003
Tallahassee, FL - The Florida Atlantic Owls (15-4-0) came in to Tallahassee hot. They were riding an eight-game winning streak and had shut out seven of its last eight opponents and were fresh off an A-Sun clinching win at Troy State. But they ran into a ninth-ranked Florida State team that was just as hot if not hotter. The Seminoles had lost just once in their last 11 games and shutout six of their last seven opponents. Nothing changed Monday night as Florida State, behind four goals from sophomore Leah Gallegos, downed the Owls 7-0. The seven-goal win represented the largest margin of victory since 1996 and improved FSU's record to 11-5-1 as the squad has now gone 10-1-1 in its last 12 outings.
"I am happy we were able to be successful tonight," said head coach Patrick Baker. "We weren't as clean and as sharp in the first half as I would have liked us to have been but we still managed three goals, two of which were opportunistic and the other was a good quality combination and finish.
"In fairness to FAU they played last night and they were short a couple of key players. That makes a big difference. In this day and age, a lot of teams don't have to play back-to-back games on the road like they had to. I commend coach (Brian) Dooley and his players because they really competed tonight. I thought we did too and I am very proud of our girls."
Sophomore Leah Gallegos had another big night as she tied FSU records for goals in a game and points in a game. She tallied two goals in each half and now has 14 goals on the year. Gallegos moved into a tie for third place in single season goals. She has also joined junior Camie Bybee in third on the career goal scoring list with 21 in her short tenure at FSU. The multi-goal game was her fourth of the season, which is a new Seminole record and she tied Alex Osorio as the only two Seminoles to record two hat tricks in their careers.
"I didn't know that I had a set a record. I don't think about that kind of stuff," said Gallegos. "My only goal each game is to go out and try to play my best. Thankfully I was able to help the team today and put my chances away."
"It was great that Leah got to latch on to a few tonight. That is what she is capable of doing and why she is one of the best in the business," said Baker.
This is the second time FSU has tallied seven goals in a game and no other Seminole squad has ever scored seven or more goals in a game twice in one year. Combined with the 6-1 over San Diego State, this is also the first FSU team that has scored six or more goals three times in a campaign. After scoring just two goals in the last 307 minutes leading up to Monday night's first goal, the Seminole offense seemed to return to form.
"We worked a lot better as an offense tonight and I think that is a result of the work we put in during training," said Gallegos. "I don't know that we created that many more chances but we found a way to finish them off."
The Seminoles got off to a hot start and never allowed the Owls to gain any momentum in their bid to upset a top 10 opponent. Before 15 minutes had run off the clock, Gallegos had already tallied her record setting fourth multi-goal game of the year. The sophomore is now second amongst ACC players with 14 goals on the season. She started the scoring off at the nine minute mark when she picked up a ball that was deflected right to her by an Owl defender. The Los Angeles, CA native dribbled a couple of defenders and fired past Molly Keating (15-4-0) to the far post.
She notched her second of the night just over four minutes later. Junior All-ACC candidate Katie Beal played a great ball across the middle of the field. Freshman Julia Schnugg redirected the ball to Jez Ratliff streaking down the right side. The wide midfielder took a defender with her, cut the ball back and was left standing alone with a clear lane to find Gallegos at the back post. The pass beat the keeper and Gallegos just slotted it inside the post. The assist was Schnugg's 10th of the season, tying a single season record set by Maren Vik Edvardsen in 2001.
Katie Beal followed five minutes later with her fifth free kick goal of the season. Schnugg drew a foul on the right side of the box about 15 yards from the endline. Beal sent a lofting ball to the back post that Keating had no chance to save. The goal gave Beal her 13th point of the season, which is a new high for points by a defender.
"Although we were sloppy it was nice to build an early 3-0 lead," said Amber Tollefson. "At halftime we tried to make it a priority to play a little cleaner. We are never content and always want to improve our play. I am glad the quality was a lot better in the second half and we finished four more chances. That is a credit to this team."
In the second half FSU did play cleaner and continued to strike quickly as they cemented the game away with four goals in less than six minutes. Gallegos added her third and fourth goals at the 63rd and 65th minutes giving her a new career mark with four goals in a single game.
Gallegos' third goal came due to a great combination play between Schnugg and Ratliff. The Norman, OK native sent a dangerous pass onto the feet of Schnugg. The front runner quickly turned to goal and made a diagonal run right into the Owl's 18-yard box from the right side of the field. As she got within 10 yards she fired a shot at Keating. The senior keeper blocked the drive but it caromed right to Gallegos who finished the rebound.
Another freshman got into the act about 1:30 later. Center midfielder India Trotter made the play as she picked up the ball about 20 yards behind the midfield stripe. She dribbled all the way until she was about 25 yards from the FAU goal. She then slid a diagonal ball in behind the Florida Atlantic defense and onto the foot of Gallegos. The sophomore went far post for her fourth goal of the night.
Florida State moved in front 6-0 due in large part to Tollefson's individual brilliance with the ball at her feet. The senior beat three defenders on the dribble and turned the corner on the left side of the pitch. She then lofted a perfect ball over the keeper and right onto the head of junior Camie Bybee. The midfielder knocked in the goal, giving her six on the season, which is second on the team.
Tollefson gave the Owls fits on the left side again minutes later. She and Teresa Rivera worked a great give-and-go freeing the defender to go endline. Her service was played along the ground and right onto Ratliff's foot. The midfielder just directed inside the right post.
Tollefson's two assists led the squad and moved her into a tie for first place all-time with 22 career helpers. Her eight assists this year are a new single season high for the senior from Boca Raton, FL who got her first ever opportunity to play her hometown team.
"It was fun to play my hometown college and a team with girls I know," said Tollefson. "I think FAU is a good team. They have quality players but tonight we capitalized on our chances. This wasn't our best effort but it says a lot that we can make some mistakes and still win by seven goals."
The FSU defense did its part as well shutting out its sixth straight opponent and increasing its shutout streak to 560:27. Junior Joy McKenzie extended her unbeaten streak to 10 games and her shutout streak to 672:15. The last time the Houston, TX keeper allowed a goal was September 26 in a 2-1 win over Maryland. Fellow keeper Kerry York also saw action and saved the shutout streak with a sprawling save in the closing moments of the match.
"We have had the situation in the past where we have gone up a few goals and let something slip in late," said Baker. "Tonight was a team effort defensively. Both goalkeepers got in and every player got a chance to play. We spread the play around.
"We feel like an opponent has to do something really special to stick the ball in the back of the net against us. Hopefully we can keep that trend going not only versus North Carolina but in the ACC Tournament. We are going to have to if we want to achieve some postseason success."
The win was FSU's 13th in a row at home versus teams from the state of Florida and the Seminoles are now 23-2 since 2000 against in-state competition at home or on the road. The victory also moved Baker to 9-6 in first time meetings with an opponent. The most successful coach in school history is now just one win away from the 150th victory of his coaching career.
"We feel like it is important to beat our in-state opponents and to also protect our home turf," said Baker. "We have to protect this facility. We didn't do a good job of that our first weekend of the year against great opponents. When we came back from Kansas and picked up three wins including two over ranked teams in Ole Miss and Maryland, things started to change for us. This is such a wonderful place to play and tonight was another big win and a great performance in this stadium."
Florida State's last regular season game of the year is this Friday in Chapel Hill, NC versus the unanimous No. 1 ranked Tar Heels (17-0-0). The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start Friday, October 31 and is a showdown between the teams holding down first and second place in the ACC standings.
If the Tribe doesn't host an NCAA Tournament game, tonight's win will be the last game played in Tallahassee for the Seminoles in 2003. The Tribe concluded the regular season 6-2-0 at home after a 0-2 start.
"It is hitting me really hard tonight that this could be my last game ever on this field," said Tollefson. "The team has been so great helping us win Friday night and tonight to send the seniors off the right way. This is the best group two senior girls could ever ask for."
For more information on Seminole soccer please log on to the official website for the Florida State University Department of Athletics at www.seminoles.com.