FLEXING OUR STATS
You may have done a double take when you looked at the box score from FSU's 3-1 win over JU Sunday. The numbers just don't seem right. The Tribe dominated the game on the scoreboard and statistically. They put up the most one-sided numbers since a 2001 win over Loyola (Md). Florida State out shot the Dolphins 37-4, held a 14-0 edge in corner kicks and had a 13-1 edge in shots on goal. Jacksonville didn't even launch its first shot of the game until the 53rd minute. The Seminoles' 37 shots were four short of tying a school record and their 33 shot advantage was the third highest in school history. This is the second time FSU has out shot JU by 33 shots. In 1995, the Seminoles out shot Jacksonville 36-3.
D?J? VU ALL OVER AGAIN
The Seminoles statistical dominance against Jacksonville is nothing new. On top of winning the last six meetings by a combined score of 22-5, the last two times FSU held a team to no corner kicks came against JU. In the team's 2001 meeting, FSU had a 17-0 edge in corners and that was the last time the Tribe shut out a team as far as corners go before Sunday's match. Overall. FSU has held an opponent without a corner kick 15 times and on four of those occasions the opponent was JU. The Seminoles also held a large edge in shots (27-5) and shots on goal (12-4) in the 2001 game but nothing compared to what they did Sunday.
Leah Gallegos, a 2002 All-ACC rookie team member, got her first two goals of the season in FSU's dominating 3-1 win over Jacksonville Sunday. The sophomore from Los Angeles, CA was second on the team in game-winning goals last year and led the squad in assists but had been held without a point through three games. That all changed in Jacksonville on Sunday. After taking three shots and putting two on frame in a loss to No. 7 Florida Friday night, Gallegos had a breakout game Sunday. On top of her two goals, which led the team, she took 10 of the team's 37 shots and almost half of the Tribe's shots on goal (6 of 13). Her 10 shots tied the all-time FSU record for shots in a game and were the most by an individual player since 1997. In the 13th minute Gallegos and the Seminoles broke through against JU. India Trotter played the ball into Gallegos inside the Dolphin 18. The sophomore took a turn and buried the shot at the far post. She went back to work in the 73rd minute recording goal number two. Just moments after having Julia Schnugg's goal wiped off the boards by an offside call; the Tribe immediately attacked the Dolphin defense again. Bybee played a great ball to Schnugg down the left wing. She combined with fellow Californian Gallegos freeing the sophomore at the near post but with a difficult angle from about just six yards out. Gallegos went far post beating the JU keeper for her second goal of the game and the second multi-goal game of her career.
Five Seminoles saw their first game action of the 2003 season Sunday versus JU. Sarah Rosseau (Marco Island, FL), Erica Lewis (Jacksonville, FL), Ali Wean (Wallingford, PA), Marion Cagle (Tallahassee, FL) and Jessica Bell (Temple Terrace, FL) all entered the games as subs and played extended minutes. Lewis made her 2003 debut in front of her hometown crowd and almost cashed in on a 22-yard shot that bounced off the crossbar. Junior Kerry York (Millersville, MD) made her first start of the 2003 season also. Starter Joy McKenzie's banged up arm caused her to miss her first start of the season and opened the door for York to make the 38th start of her career, the third most in FSU soccer history.
POINTING TO THE FRESHMEN
When Kelly Rowland headed home her first goal and first game-winning goal of the year, it marked the third freshman that has recorded a point this season. The only time more freshmen have recorded a point if the first four games of the season was 1995, the inaugural year of Florida State soccer. While Rowland is the only freshman to net a goal so far, the group has combined for five points, that is more points than any other class so far and the freshmen also lead the team in having the most members from one class with at least one point.
SOONER OR LATER
Florida State travels to Kansas this weekend for the team's first ever meeting with San Diego State and the second meeting versus Kansas. The Tribe downed KU 4-1 in 2001. The Jayhawks broke out to a 1-0 lead in that game before FSU scored four unanswered goals. Three current Seminoles have tallied points versus Kansas and two are from the state of Oklahoma. Junior's Jez Ratliff and Camie Bybee both recorded points in their freshman seasons versus the Jayhawks. Bybee scored the game winner in the 67th minute and Ratliff assisted on FSU's fourth goal. Senior co-captain Kristin Boyce scored her fourth career goal on a header versus KU (see note below).
Florida State's senior defender Kristin Boyce has yet to add to her career records for points and goals by a defender in 2003 but Kansas is a team she has scored against in the past. Her 71st minute goal versus the Jayhawks in 2001 put FSU up 3-1 and the Tribe eventually went on to a 4-1 win. The goal, a header off a corner kick, was the second header goal of her career at that point. Overall, Boyce has headed in half of her eight career goals. She also had a header goal versus George Mason and has two in her career against UCF.
BIG 12 OR BIG 41?
Florida State's next games versus Kansas will be the eighth game versus a Big 12 opponent in school history. The Tribe is 3-3-1 all-time against teams from the Big 12 with wins over Texas A&M, Missouri and Iowa State. The Seminoles have never won on a game on a Big 12 opponent's field though. The Tribe's wins versus the Aggies and Kansas came in Tallahassee. The win over the Cyclones was at a tournament hosted by Nebraska. Oddly enough all three of FSU's wins versus Big 12 teams have come by an identical 4-1 score.
AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH
Florida State will have to wake up pretty early Sunday as they are scheduled to face San Diego State at 9:30 a.m. central time. This is the second team from the state of California the Tribe has faced this season after opening the year with USC. Coming into 2003, FSU had played just one team from the Golden State (Santa Clara, 2001) in program history. The Aztecs are a member of the Mountain West Conference and will be the first ever Mountain West opponent the Tribe has played. Last year the MWC sent two teams (BYU and Utah) to the NCAA Tournament. SDSU is lead by Kim Castellanos who is the top scorer in the conference returning in 2003.
SHOOTING FROM THE HIP
The Florida State defense has done its best job since Patrick Baker took over of limiting shots and shots on goal early in the season. In the previous three seasons, FSU opponents averaged 30 shots on goal and 58 shots through the first four matches of the year. Those numbers have dropped considerably in 2003. Teams have taken just 17 shots on frame in four games this year and have combined for just 41 shots overall. That is compared to 31 shots on goal for the Tribe and 78 all together. Strangely enough, FSU has taken the exact number of shots in the first half as they have in the second (39).
Jez Ratliff and Leah Gallegos have owned the first two weekends of the season as far as goal scoring goes. Ratliff opened the year with FSU's only goals versus No. 22 USC and No. 7 Penn State. Gallegos then went net twice in a 3-1 win over Jacksonville. This is the first time since 2000 that FSU has two players with two goals after four games. The last time the Tribe started the season with two players with two or more goals each was 1999. That year Maren Vik Edvardsen began the year with three goals and first team freshman All-American Emma Breland recorded two.
ROAD TO REDEMPTION
For the first time since 1997, FSU is opening the year with four of its first six games away from Tallahassee. Considering the Tribe's 4-0-1 record away from home in the regular season last year, the early road test should be nothing new to FSU. So far the Seminoles are 1-1 away from the Seminole Soccer Complex and they will get tested again this weekend in Lawrence, KS versus the Jayhawks. After returning from the KUStore.com Crimson and Blue Invitational, the Seminoles will play three straight home games culminating with the season opener versus Maryland.
When it comes to assists, the Tribe is getting help from opposite sides of the roster. Of the four players that have registered assists this year, two are the only seniors on the team and two are members of the freshman class. No junior or sophomore has registered an assist in the first four games of 2003. Freshman Julia Schnugg is leading the squad through the early part of the year with four assists. She is trying to become the second straight freshman from California to take home the team assist title after Leah Gallegos accomplished the feat in 2002.
TOUGH START, GOOD FINISH
The 2003 Seminole soccer season hasn't started the way any of the coaches or players hoped but it isn't all that different than the beginning of the previous three seasons, which all ended with FSU in the NCAA Tournament. In both 2000 and 2001, the Seminoles lost back-to-back games within the first month of the season. Last year, the Tribe scored just five goals in starting the year 1-1-2. This year they also have five goals in four games. The offense has improved every week and the best sign of all was seeing Leah Gallegos notch her first two goals of the year versus Jacksonville.
BRAGGING ON OURSELVES
The Florida State Sports Information office received a couple of accolades this week. The team's 2002 soccer media guide was named the seventh-best book in the nation by Internet soccer magazine SoccerBuzz. This was the second consecutive year the Seminole media guide received national honors from SoccerBuzz. The book was named second best in the Southeast (behind Tennessee) and second best in the ACC (behind Maryland). The 2002 soccer media guide won its first-ever national award earlier this year when the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) named the media guide the fourth-best book in the nation. The Tribe soccer website at www.seminoles.com was also singled out and named one of 20 national top website winners.
Florida State left Gainesville with the first regular season road loss since falling to Virginia 3-2 November 9, 2001. With Sunday's win over Jacksonville, the Tribe is back to .500 on the road and they will look to improve on that mark at the KUStore.com Blue and Crimson Invitational. For the first time ever, FSU finished a regular season undefeated on the road (4-0-1) in 2002. Before Patrick Baker's arrival, the Seminole soccer program had posted an all-time road record of 13-23-2 for a winning percentage of just .368. In those four seasons, FSU was .500 or above on the road just once. Since Baker came to FSU in 1999, Florida State has been at .500 or above in road games for three straight seasons, has posted a .562 road winning percentage and has increased its winning percentage every season.
ROAD RECORDS UNDER BAKER 1999 5-6-0 .455 2000 3-3-1 .500 2001 5-4-0 .555 2002 4-0-1 .900
TAKING CARE OF STATE BUSINESS
When Patrick Baker arrived in 1999, he made winning games versus in-state teams a priority and it has paid off. Despite the loss to UF, FSU is 20-2-0 against Florida schools since 2000. The Seminoles are undefeated at home against teams from Florida (11-0-0) and have outscored those opponents 33-12 in Tallahassee. The last time FSU walked off the Seminole Soccer Complex field with a loss against a Florida team was August 29, 1999 in a 3-0 loss to Miami, which was just the second game of head coach Patrick Baker's FSU career. The only road losses in that span came in Gainesville to the Gators.
Overall since Baker arrived in 1999, the Seminoles have posted a .857 winning percentage against their in-state rivals, going 24-4-0 and Baker has a winning record versus every in-state team he has faced in his four years. During those four seasons, FSU posted undefeated records against Jacksonville (5-0-0), South Florida (4-0-0), Florida International (3-0-0), UCF (4-0-0), and Stetson (1-0-0). The Seminoles only blemishes came against Florida (3-3-0) and Miami (3-1-0). Before Baker's arrival, the Seminoles posted a 9-7-1 record against teams from the Sunshine State. That is an increase of 329 percentage points since he was hired.
GOOD GRACIOUS, SHE'S BODACIOUS
In a tough opening weekend as far as results go versus two Top 20 teams, Florida State's Jez Ratliff was a bright spot. The junior wide midfielder scored back-to-back goals in the games and accounted for all of FSU's goal scoring this past weekend. The Oklahoman has gotten off to hot starts the last two years now. In 2002, she scored two goals and recorded an assist in the first three games of the year and after four games, she led the team with five points, two goals and was tied for the top spot with one assist. This is the first time she has ever scored a goal in her first two games of a season though. She is just the fourth Seminole to ever accomplish that feat. With two strikes opening weekend, Ratliff already has a third of the goals she recorded in all of the 2002 season. It also moved her just two goals away from moving into fifth place on to the all-time goal scoring list.
In 2002, Ratliff was dominant opening weekend for FSU as she scored a goal, recorded a game-winning assist and put four of her six shots on frame at the Nike/FSU Invitational. At the Seminole Invitational in week two, she recorded the game-tying goal in the 79th minute that allowed FSU to comeback and even the score at 2-2 with Mizzou.
Florida State's openers versus USC and Penn State easily made up the most difficult opening weekend ever at FSU. The Seminoles have never opened the season with back-to-back games versus Top 20 teams like they did this year. Throw in No. 6 Florida, FSU's third game, and the first eight days of the soccer season was a huge challenge for the 2003 Seminoles. The only time FSU has faced two higher ranked non-conference opponents was when they faced eventual College Cup teams Santa Clara and Portland in one weekend. This is the second year in a row that FSU has faced ranked teams in three straight games but the first time in the Baker era that the Tribe has played three straight games versus ranked, non-conference foes.
Junior Jez Ratliff scored Florida State's only goals in the weekend openers versus USC Friday night and Penn State Sunday. Her two weekend goals shouldn't have surprised anyone. Although her goal versus USC was her first-ever goal in a season opener, it was her fifth on a Friday night. She then added another goal on Sunday, her fourth on that day of the week. Overall, Ratliff has scored 13 goals and 11 have come on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The only other day of the week she has ever scored was Tuesday where she has two goals. The Oklahoman now has 13 career goals and is closing on the career leaders list where 15 is good enough for fourth all-time.
DRINKING FROM THE COLLEGE CUP
Florida State's Patrick Baker has never shied away from playing the best and this year's opening weekend proved that. For the fourth time in five seasons, FSU will play two teams that played in the College Cup the year before (Penn State and North Carolina) and this is the ninth straight year the Seminoles have played a team from the previous season's College Cup. The Seminoles are 2-12 in those games with wins versus Florida and North Carolina.
NEW SYSYTEM AND NEW PLAYERS
Florida State opened the 2003 season with a new system tailored to the team's abundance of talented midfielders. Baker has moved from his traditional 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 allowing him to capitalize on the speed and athleticism of freshmen India Trotter, Toby Ranck and Julia Schnugg along with returners Camie Bybee, Amber Tollefson and Jez Ratliff. Also, he elected to start a new keeper in junior Joy McKenzie. That marked the first time in two years that Kerry York or Ali Mims didn't start a game in the net. Of the Tribe's seven freshmen, six were recruited and five have been healthy enough to practice almost everyday this preseason. Three of those five started both games opening weekend and all five saw game action.
BATTLING THE BEST
The 2003 FSU soccer schedule could easily be the toughest ever played in Seminole soccer history. More than half (9 of 17) of the scheduled matches are against 2002 NCAA Tournament teams including two College Cup participants (Penn State and North Carolina). Not one team on the schedule posted a losing record last season and FSU's opponents went a combined 226-114-24 (.654). Eleven of the teams had 13 or more wins and six won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament. The Tribe's out of conference slate (Southern California, Penn State, Florida, Jacksonville, Kansas, San Diego State, Miami, Ole Miss, FAU and UCF) is easily the toughest ever assembled at FSU. In 2001, FSU played Santa Clara and Portland but from top to bottom the 2003 group seems to be more daunting.
Since starting the soccer program at FSU in 1995, the Seminoles have established quite a legacy for competing against the best in the nation. That point has never been as clear as when you look at just the amount of games they have played against recent National Champions and College Cup teams. The Seminoles have faced a defending National Champion in six of the last seven seasons and faced the eventual National Champion six times in a row from 1996-2001. Since 1996, FSU has played 11 games in seven years versus College Cup teams. The Tribe has played nine games against six National Champions and has faced every National Champion but one over that span. This year, the Tribe will face two College Cup teams from 2002 in North Carolina and Penn State.
Year College Cup National Champion Games versus FSU 1996 One Team North Carolina Two games 1997 One Team North Carolina Two games 1998 Two Teams Florida One game 1999 One Team North Carolina One game 2000 One Team North Carolina Two games 2001 Four Teams Santa Clara One game 2002 One Team Portland None in 2002
Florida State is continuing to fight for and gain respect in the nation's toughest soccer conference. After being picked to finish dead last for its first five years of existence, FSU was pegged fifth in the annual preseason coaches' poll in 2001. The Seminoles exceeded those expectations and finished third in the regular season and advanced to the ACC Championship finals. Last year the ACC head honchos tabbed the Tribe fourth in the preseason poll and FSU lived up to advanced billing again as they finished the season 3-3-1 and in fourth place. For the third year in a row FSU has set a new high in the preseason ACC coaches' poll as they were picked third this year. If FSU can meet those expectations, they would equal their best-ever conference finish set in 2001.
ACC PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
1 North Carolina 63 2 Virginia 52 3 Florida State 37 4 Clemson 36 5 Maryland 34 6 Duke 32 7 Wake Forest 20 8 NC State 14
THE POWER OF TWO
Kristin Boyce and Amber Tollefson are the only two seniors on the 2003 team and they have a chance to do some things that has never been done in program history. If the co-captains can lead the team to the NCAA Tournament this season, they will be the only class to graduate with four straight trips to the postseason. They also have the opportunity to be the first class with four consecutive winning seasons and they could leave Tallahassee with the best career winning percentage ever. They are currently 43-26-6 for a .613 winning percentage. The previous best wining percentage by a class belonged to last year's seniors who graduated with a 51-33-8 (.598).Boyce and Tollefson also have the opportunity to be the first class to register 10 or more wins every year of their four year career. The seniors posted 14 wins in 2000, 15 wins in 2001 and 13 wins in 2002. This year's class will try to become the second-ever to leave FSU with a winning record against Florida and they could even graduate with a 4-1 record against UF, the best in school history.
SMART AND GIVING
Florida State soccer is in the midst of a renaissance under head coach Patrick Baker but he hasn't just turned the Tribe's fortunes around on the playing field. Baker's teams have accomplished a rare feat in which they have achieved unprecedented success on the field, in the community and in the classroom. Last year, FSU soccer went to the Sweet 16, donated more community service hours than any Florida State team and 11 of 27 players made the ACC Academic Honor Roll. Since his arrival, Baker's soccer teams have won an Athletic Director's Cup for Community Service, posted a .599 winning percentage, been to three straight NCAA Tournaments, two Sweet 16's and an ACC Championship game.
WE KNEW THEY WERE GOOD
Although they have played just two regular season games, the 2003 freshman class is living up to its advanced billing with three players starting the first two games and five playing extended minutes. The 2003 recruiting class came to Florida State as the most highly ranked and decorated in school history. SoccerBuzz tabbed the group as the seventh-best class in the nation, the highest ranking ever for an FSU class. They were also ranked the 10th-best recruiting class in the nation by Soccer America magazine, which is a first for FSU. This is the Baker's fourth consecutive Top 25 recruiting class and his third in the top 12. Individually, Californian Julia Schnugg was named a 2003 Parade All-American, just the third FSU player (Katie Beal & Camie Bybee) ever to garner that honor. Schnugg has also been called up to the U-19 U.S. National side on two occasions. Midfielder/defender India Trotter has also been on the U-19 National Team roster on numerous occasions. Trotter was named the 21st-best recruit in the country by Soccer America magazine. Both players, Trotter and Schnugg, were among the original 36 players invited to participate in the McDonald's All-America High School game.
Since his arrival, Patrick Baker has experienced unprecedented recruiting success at FSU. The Tribe's head coach has done a remarkable job of attracting the state's best talent to Tallahassee as was the case with Amber Tollefson, Cindy Schofield, Teresa Rivera, India Trotter and many more. The last two years, Baker has had more Florida players on his roster than he had in his first three years combined but now he is also bringing in some of the best recruits from across the country and they are coming in pairs. While the Cali combo (Leah Gallegos and Julia Schnugg) came in a year apart, the first pair of out of starters to come to FSU were Oklahoman's Camie Bybee and Jez Ratliff, both All-ACC Rookie Team members. Gallegos came in with Californian Shannon Coe last year and now a trio of Pennsylvania players joins the elite group. Kelly Rowland and Ali Wean both played for the same high school (Strath Haven in Wallingford) and their FSU teammate Toby Ranck played for Radnor in near-by Wayne.
THE CUPBOARD ISN'T BARE
Although Florida State lost the most productive player in the history of the program when Cindy Schofield graduated, that doesn't mean the FSU offense will be lacking this year. The Seminoles return four of their top five point scorers from 2002 and seven of the top nine point scorers. Four of the team's top five goal scorers are back and four of the top six players when it comes to game-winning goals return this season. FSU also returns five of its six leaders when it comes to assists.
Defensively, this may be the best group in the history of the program. All three keepers are returning and the backline is set with established stars. Senior Kristin Boyce is probably the most unsung player since Baker took over but the All-Southeast region selection has had a stellar four-year career as a starter. Junior Katie Beal, a 2001 1st Team freshman All-American, missed much of 2002 but is ready to step back into the starting line-up and re-establish herself as one of the best defenders in the nation. She is joined in the middle by 2001 Gatorade Player of the Year Teresa Rivera who started 12 games and appeared in 21 last season.
ROWLAND IS A CHILD OF DESTINY
Freshman Kelly Rowland is opening eyes on the FSU practice field and is vying for a starting spot as the Tribe's right back. As good as she has been throughout the preseason, her play isn't the reason she is going to appear in the inaugural issue of Sports Illustrated's On Campus magazine. The new SI is featuring athletes who share names with famous people like FSU's Kelly Rowland who shares a name with the Destiny's Child singer. Rowland was interviewed by SI and will have her picture in one of the first issues.