Nov. 21, 2002
FSU HAS ARRIVED
If there was ever any doubt whether or not Florida State soccer was a national power, the team's second Sweet 16 in three years should erase those doubts. Of the 287 teams participating in Division I women's soccer, Florida State is one of just 14 schools that have been to two of the last three Sweet 16's. Less than 5% of all NCAA Division I institutions playing women's college soccer have done what Florida State has accomplished over the last three seasons. The Seminoles came within minutes of joining the nine schools that have been to three straight Sweet 16's with their last minute loss at Clemson last year. Florida State is on a list with North Carolina, Santa Clara, Portland, Stanford, UCLA, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Connecticut, Penn State, Nebraska, Virginia, Clemson and Dartmouth as schools that have advanced to the final 16 at least twice in the last three seasons. The ACC is the only conference that can boast having four teams on that list; no other conference has more than two.
FOR THE FIRST TIME
In three trips to the NCAA Tournament, the FSU soccer team has played seven games and every match has been against an opponent they have faced before. But when FSU travels to Connecticut for the Sweet 16 it will mark the first time the Seminoles have ever played a school for the first-time ever in the NCAA Tournament. It is also the first time FSU has ever faced a national seed in NCAA Tournament play. The Tribe has never faced the Huskies in the eight-year history of the program in fact FSU has only faced two BIG EAST teams ever. Florida State played Syracuse once in 1998 and has faced Miami five times. The Seminoles are 4-2 all-time versus those two BIG EAST squads. Over the last three seasons under head coach Patrick Baker, the Seminoles have gone 7-5-0 in first-time meetings with an opponent.
Since the Seminoles and Huskies have never faced off before it may be hard to get a handle on the match-up. Despite never playing, the two teams have faced five common opponents this season. In games versus Maryland, Florida, Miami, Virginia Tech and Georgia, the Seminoles have gone 5-1 while UConn has posted a 4-1 mark (FSU's match with Georgia was a preseason contest). Both teams beat Miami, Virginia Tech and Georgia. Connecticut lost to Florida, who FSU beat 2-1 and the Huskies beat Maryland who FSU went 1-1 against in 2002.
THE ROAD TO SUCCESS
The 2001 FSU soccer team was the first to ever record an undefeated home season going 8-0-0 last year. While the 2002 team won't be able to match that amazing feat they accomplished something even more spectacular in 2002. For the first time ever, FSU finished a season undefeated on the road (4-0-1) after beating Maryland and GMU. 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. While FSU has lost away from the Seminole soccer complex in 2002, that one loss was in a neutral site game to No. 10 Charlotte. In true road contests, FSU has defeated Miami, then No. 19 NC State, then No. 16 Maryland, George Mason and tied Duke.
ROAD RECORDS UNDER BAKER
1999 5-6-0 .455 2000 3-3-1 .500 2001 5-4-0 .555 2002 4-0-1 .900
The ACC and WCC are the only conference's that have three teams remaining in the Sweet 16. The ACC led all conferences with six NCAA Tournament teams when the tourney began last weekend. As usual, the ACC is its own worst enemy as the teams often end up eliminating one another as was the case when North Carolina knocked out Wake Forest in the round of 32 this year. Over the last three NCAA Tournaments, ACC teams have knocked one another out of the Big Dance seven times.
YOU THINK WE'RE GLAD SHE'S BACK?
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS
The Seminole defense has established a tradition of raising their game in the NCAA Tournament and that has continued in 2002. This season, the FSU defense has cut down opponents shots on goal by 50% in the NCAA Tournament compared to the regular season and has lowered total shots from 12 to 9.5 per game. Last weekend, they held Auburn to just three shots and just two shots on goal, which were both season-lows for the Tigers. In four NCAA games in 2001 and 2002, the FSU backline has allowed just two goals in 360 minutes and recorded two shutouts. In the 2001 and 2002 regular seasons, opponents averaged 13 shots and 7 shots on goal combined during the two seasons. In four postseason games played during those two seasons, the FSU defense cut those totals to 8.25 shots per game and 2.75 shots on goal per game. They have also allowed a team to score two goals on just one occasion in seven NCAA Tournament matches dating back to 2000.
When you combine the play of the Seminole defense in the NCAA Tournament (see above note) with the stellar goalkeeping FSU has received from sophomore Kerry York it is easy to see how Florida State has advanced to the Sweet 16. York has been phenomenal in four NCAA appearances over the last two seasons. The sophomore has allowed only one goal in 270 minutes in net for Florida State, her 0.33 GAA is the lowest of any FSU keeper in NCAA Tournament play and no Seminole keeper has registered a higher save percentage in NCAA play than York's .909. She has a career winning percentage of 1.000 in four tournament games and she is tied for the career lead at FSU with two NCAA Tournament wins. Last season she played the first half of games versus Auburn and Clemson, splitting time with fellow sophomore Ali Mims. With Mims injured, York has played every minute in net this season. The keeper was stellar in the first two rounds of the 2002 tournament as she recorded her first-ever full shutout in a 1-0 win over Ole Miss. Two days later she limited Auburn to only one goal as the Seminoles advanced to their second Sweet 16 in three years. Over 20% of her 7.5 career shutouts have now come in the NCAA Tournament.
SHE'S ONE OF THE BEST IN THE GAME
Seminole striker Cindy Schofield is having an absolutely wonderful 2002 NCAA Tournament. After recording a game-winning goal and an assist in each of the Tribe's first two matches, Schofield now has six points in the tourney and is the fourth leading scorer. She is currently ahead of every Hermann Award finalist in NCAA Tournament scoring except for Portland's Christine Sinclair. She has more points than Christine Welsch (Penn State), Aly Wagner (Santa Clara), Susan Bush (UNC), Alyssa Ramsey (UNC), Kim Patrick (Tennessee) and Marcia Wallis (Stanford) in 2002 NCAA Tournament play.
LESS IS MORE
It is going to be very difficult to keep Cindy Schofield from becoming FSU's first-ever first or second team All-American this year. While she is a few goals shy of the 17 she scored last season, she has been much more productive in FSU's biggest games in 2002. Last season, Schofield scored goals versus three Top 20 teams, three ACC squads and four teams that made the NCAA Tournament but none of those goals came in the tournament itself. While those are very impressive numbers what she has done this season is even more special. The All-American candidate has scored goals versus seven Top 20 teams, five ACC foes and eight teams that made the NCAA Tournament. She has scored twice in the NCAA's this year with both goals being game-winners. Not only has she sustained huge numbers for two straight seasons but Schofield has also racked up her goals in 2002 versus good teams in big games, which, above all else, places her among the nation's best.
The Hermann Award is soccer's version of the Heisman Trophy and the finalists were recently released for the prestigious honor. Florida State has never had a finalist for the award but a case could be made that this year they should have. Cindy Schofield is having her second truly special season and her numbers, team's accomplishments and competition level matches any of the 15 finalists. She is tied for second amongst the 15 Hermann Award finalists in goals, she has the third-most points among the group, her team has gone as far as anyone's on that list and she plays in the nation's premiere conference. On top of that she has produced in the big games scoring goals versus seven Top 20 teams, five ACC foes and eight teams that made the NCAA Tournament. She has scored twice in the NCAA's this year with both goals being game-winners and she is a leader on one of just 14 teams in the nation that have been to two Sweet 16's in the last three years. She also trails only Christine Sinclair in NCAA Tournament scoring by Hermann Award finalists. If Schofield doesn't garner the All-American honors she deserves, it will be a real shame.
HERMANN AWRAD FINALISTS PLUS ONE
G A PTS Christine Sinclair 20 2 42 Cindy Schofield 15 6 36 Christine Latham 15 3 33 Alyssa Ramsey 14 10 38 Kim Patrick 12 9 33 Marcia Wallis 12 7 31 Carli Lloyd 12 7 31 Abby Crumpton 11 12 34 Kelly Wilson 8 11 27 Aly Wagner 8 7 23 Susan Bush 5 13 23
SHE NOW LEADS THAT TOO
As if senior Cindy Schofield hadn't already cemented her place as the best offensive player to ever wear a Seminole uniform, she went out and found even more records to set. With her goal and assist in the opening game of the 2002 NCAA Tournament, Schofield became FSU's all-time points leader, assists leader and goal scorer in NCAA Tournament games with two goals, two assists and six points. She added to those totals with a game-winning goal and another assist versus Auburn. So she now owns every single offensive record in the regular season and the postseason in Seminole soccer history.
BRING A COAT
Florida State's trip to Storrs, CT will be the farthest north the team has ever traveled for a game and obviously the farthest north they have ever traveled this late into a season. The Seminoles may catch a break though as game time temperatures are predicted to be in the high 40's and there may even be some sun. The only time FSU played in temperatures that low this year was in a night game in College Park, MD where FSU defeated the Terrapins 1-0.
Forward Cindy Schofield has set more than 30 career, single season and postseason records in her four years but she probably set the most meaningful mark on one of the most important plays in program history. When Schofield scored the game-winning goal versus Auburn that sent FSU into the Sweet 16, it marked the 102nd point in her illustrious FSU career. It is hard to put into perspective how big that is in FSU soccer history except to say she is the only Seminole to ever accomplish that and she is now 27 points in front of the player with the second-most points in team history. When you add up the points of the third and fourth-most prolific goal scorers in FSU history, they are still 12 points shy of Schofield's total. The goal also represented the 40th of Schofield's career, which is another record nobody to ever wear Garnet and Gold has ever even threatened. The most goals scored by a player other than Schofield is 28. Schofield is the only player in FSU history to record 80, 90 and then 100 points. She is the only player to record 30 and then 40 goals and the only player to ever record 20 or more assists. And don't forget she is the first Seminole ever to break the 200 shot barrier also.
SHE DOESN'T JUST SCORE
On top of what she has done in the last two single seasons, Cindy Schofield's career numbers are just amazing. The senior's 102 all-time points are more than double the amount of the player just two spots below her. She is 12 goals ahead of her nearest competition in that category and she leads all four-year players in goals per game. She has taken 70 more shots than her nearest competition in that category and she has more than twice as many shots on goal than the player who currently occupies the second spot on that career list.
ANOTHER MILESTONE IN THE NCAA'S
BEATING THE BEST
Over the last three seasons, the Seminoles have gone 16-15-1 during the regular season against NCAA Tournament teams. If you remove games versus Final Four teams during that span, the Garnet and Gold has posted a stellar 15-9-1 record against the NCAA Tournament field. In 2000, FSU posted wins over National Champion North Carolina (3-2 2OT), Florida (3-2) and Sweet 16 participant Texas A&M (4-1). The trend continued last season. Of the 24 games FSU played in 2001, 16 were against NCAA tourney teams. The Garnet and Gold was the only team in the nation last year to compete against all four teams who made it to the College Cup (North Carolina, Portland, Santa Clara, Florida) during the regular season. This year, FSU has competed against one national seed (no. 2 UNC) and three teams who are hosted opening round matches.
ROUND ONE GOES TO FSU
It didn't take long for Florida State soccer to get accustomed to NCAA Tournament play. After never being invited to the big dance in its first five years of existence, the Seminoles have acclimated very well winning all three of their opening round NCAA games in three trips. On top of being undefeated in the first round of the NCAA's, the Seminoles also have a winning record in the tournament at 5-2-0.