Nov. 8, 2003
GAME LIVE ON SUNSHINE NETWORK AT 1:30 PM
With its 1-0 win over Maryland, FSU picked up its 13th win of the season. This is the fourth straight season FSU has recorded at least 13 wins. In the first five years of Seminole soccer, the Tribe had never recorded 13 wins and had 12 or more victories just once before. The only other ACC school that has secured 13 or more wins for four straight seasons is North Carolina. The season isn't over yet with the NCAA Tournament on the way but the only other school that could join FSU in that elite group would be Clemson but they would need to make it to the Sweet 16 winning two games in the NCAA's. Overall, FSU has won the third-most games since 2000. Only Carolina and Clemson has accumulated more victories in the last four seasons.
Program Wins (since 2000)AND THE YOUNG SHALL LEAD THEM
North Carolina 86 Clemson 59 Florida State 55 Virginia 53 Duke 44 Wake Forest 43 Maryland 42 NC State 37
The Florida State defense has probably been the unsung hero of FSU's turnaround from a 1-4-0 start to a 12-2-1 run to this appearance in the ACC Championship final. The group has lost its leader in Kristin Boyce and has started three players who had combined to start 12 games coming into the 2003 campaign yet they set a school record by allowing just five goals in ACC play and they are four goals ahead of the record for total goals allowed in a season. With their shutout of Maryland, they also tied the school record for shutouts in a season with their eighth. Junior Marion Cagle, a first year starter, has gotten better every week at the right back spot and rookie center back Kelly Rowland is easily one of the best in the nation despite being snubbed for ACC All-Freshman team honors. She has been helped by playing along side first team All-American candidate Katie Beal. A part time starter in 2002, Teresa Rivera has stepped in on the left side and excelled when captain and All-ACC first teamer Kristin Boyce went down with a fractured foot.
BAKING SOMETHING SPECIAL
The turn-around that has taken place in Tallahassee in the five years since head coach Patrick Baker has arrived is amazing. No team in the conference had a rougher start in program history than FSU did in its first four seasons but Baker has absolutely resurrected the Tribe's fortunes and the numbers say he is one of the best in the ACC. Only Anson Dorrance at North Carolina can match Baker's accomplishments in regular season, ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament success. Since taking over their ACC program, no coach other than Dorrance has guided his or her team to more ACC Championship finals than Baker. He is one of only three coaches to go three straight NCAA Tournaments and two Sweet 16's in the last three years. He is third in ACC Tournament winning percentage, fourth in overall winning percentage and tied for second among all ACC coaches in ACC Tournament wins. The Tribe's winning percentage has gone from .421 in the first four years to .614 in Baker's tenure and he took a team that had a .125 lifetime ACC winning percentage and has raised that to .429 in his tenure. Even more impressively, that ACC winning percentage is .619 over the last three years. On top of all of that, Baker is working his way up the list of all-time ACC coaches. With names like Anson Dorrance, Ray Leone, Tracy Leone, Bill Hempen, April Heinrichs, Larry Gross and Lauren Gregg coming through the ACC over the years, it is amazing that Baker currently ranks 11th in winning percentage at an ACC school among the 23 all-time ACC coaches.
ACC FINALS SWEET 16s WIN% ACC TOURNEY % ACC TOURNEY WINS Dorrance (17) Dorrance (7) Dorrance (.954) Dorrance (.988) Dorrance (40) Baker (2) Swanson (3) Swanson (.672) Bramble (.500) Baker (3) Bramble (1) Baker (2) Bramble (.669) Baker (.444) DaLuz (3) DaLuz (1) Bramble (1) Baker (.614) DaLuz (.400) Higgins (3) Church (1) Kerrigan (0) DaLuz (.605) Church (.400) Church (2) Higgins (0) Church (0) Higgins (.544) Higgins (.300) Bramble (2) Kerrigan (0) DaLuz (0) Church (.543) Swanson (.200) Swanson (1) Swanson (0) Higgins (0) Kerrigan (.477) Kerrigan (.000) Kerrigan (0)
When it comes to postseason honors, FSU has become accustomed to being snubbed but if there is any justice in the soccer world, Katie Beal won't be ignored by the national publications like she was by the ACC coaches. The junior is the heart of an FSU defense that has allowed the fewest goals in team history despite losing a starter to injury, playing the nations toughest schedule (opponent won/loss percentage) and facing 13 teams that are currently ranked or who were ranked at one point of the season. Besides her stellar defensive play, the Alexandria, VA native has set a new FSU record for points (14) and assists by a defender (4). She also tied the single season record for goals (5) by a defender. Her fourth assist of the year was the game-winner versus Maryland that sent FSU into Sunday's ACC championship final.
Although this isn't FSU's first-ever trip to the ACC Tournament final, there have been a lot of records set by the Seminoles on their way to the championship game. In 2001, the Tribe went to the finals with a 1-0-1 record and the only other time the team advanced was on a tie in 2000. This year FSU has won two games in the tournament for the first time ever and tripled its ACC Tournament win total in a span of three days. FSU had never out shot an opponent at the ACC Tournament in 11 tries but they have out shot both opponents this year. Part of the reason for the success in shots is All-ACC first team selection Leah Gallegos. The sophomore has already set the career record at FSU for shots in the ACC Tournament with 15 and the single game record with eight against Maryland. Those eight shots alone gave her the career record for ACC Tournament games. In the process, the Los Angeles, CA native has smashed the single season shot record at Florida State with 86. She has also tied the career record for goals scored in the ACC Tournament with her two in the 2003 opener against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacon game also saw the FSU record for fewest saves in an ACC Tournament game fall as keeper Joy McKenzie was forced to make just one in the entire game. McKenzie and the Seminole defense also tied the mark for shutouts in an ACC Tournament with one. The Tribe's 12 second half shots against Maryland also set a new team record for ACC Tournament play.
NO. 150 CAME ON A GRAND STAGE
Although it passed with little fanfare, Florida State head coach Patrick Baker picked up a milestone victory Wednesday against Wake Forest. The fifth-year coach was more concerned with advancing in the ACC's than any records but the win was the 150th of his career. The most successful coach ever at FSU and one of the top coaches currently in the ACC (see first note), Baker has already reached the 100 and 150 career wins mark since coming to Tallahassee in 1999.
DOUBLE IN THE FIRST
For the first time in the history of the program, Florida State placed two players on the All-ACC first team. Striker Leah Gallegos (Los Angeles, CA) and senior defender Kristin Boyce (Austin, TX) both took home the first All-ACC honors of their careers. Two other Seminoles were honored as well as midfielder India Trotter (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and forward Julia Schnugg (Alamo, CA) was each named to the ACC's All-Freshman team. The selection of Gallegos and Boyce doubled the amount of Florida State players to ever garner first team honors. Emma Breland (2000) and Cindy Schofield (2001 & 2002) were the only Seminoles before this season to ever be named to the first team in the nation's top soccer conference. This is the second time in the last three seasons that FSU has placed multiple players on the ACC All-Freshman team. Since 2000, seven FSU rookies have garnered freshman team honors.
Despite the success, many around Tallahassee were understandably disappointed with the selections. The Tribe finished second in the conference yet finished with fewer players on the All-ACC first and second team than Clemson (third), Duke (fourth) and Virginia (fifth) and with an equal number of players as Maryland (sixth) and Wake Forest (seventh) . Joy McKenzie led all ACC goalkeepers in shutouts and GAA in ACC play and was second in the conference in overall GAA yet was overlooked. She lost out to two keepers who had higher GAA's in both ACC and overall play. McKenzie posted a 4-1-1 record, four shutouts and a 0.32 GAA in six ACC games. Duke's Thora Helgadottir (1st Team) had a conference GAA of 1.17, three shutouts and a 4-3-0 record. Second team selection Lauren Whitt of Clemson had a conference GAA of 1.57, one shutout and a 4-3-0 record. If McKenzie wasn't responsible for the team's success defensively then it must have been the back four in front of her of which both Katie Beal and Kelly Rowland were ignored.
A JOY TO WATCH IN GOAL
There are probably very few feel-good stories as good as that of Joy McKenzie. The recruited walk-on came to FSU, earned a scholarship and is now one of the top keepers, if not the top keeper, in the nation's best women's soccer conference. The junior, a Florida native that made it to FSU via Houston, TX, won the job early in the year and has broken almost every record in the Florida State media guide. Her shutout versus Maryland in the ACC semifinals was her fifth this season against an ACC team. That has never been done by a Seminole keeper in their entire career and she has done it in less than a month. She has given up just one goal in the ACC Tournament so far and her GAA is currently 0.73, a half a goal a game less than the previous single season record (1.23). She has allowed just one goal in two tourney games and held the nation's No. 1 scoring offense in Carolina to just one goal the last time the team's met.
CREEPING UP ON HER
First team All-ACC striker Leah Gallegos is having an amazing year and that was punctuated by her two goal performance in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal win over Wake Forest. The Los Angeles, CA native is now just one goal away from tying the single season goals scored record at FSU and she is already the most prolific sophomore goal scorer ever in Tallahassee. Her 16 goals are now just three behind consensus All-American Lindsay Tarpley for the ACC lead. Being just three goals behind Tarpley is amazing accomplishment considering that she was called one of the greatest Tar Heels in North Carolina history by Maryland coach Shannon Higgins-Cirovski in Friday's press conference.
SO FRESH AND SO CLEAN
This year's Seminole freshman class came to FSU with more credentials than any other in school history. They were ranked seventh by SoccerBuzz, were the first group ever to be ranked in the top 10 by Soccer America, Julia Schnugg was just the second-ever Parade All-American to come to Florida State, India Trotter was the first ever recruit ranked in Soccer America's top 25 to come to FSU and the class was the first to ever include two U-19 US National Team members (Schnugg and Trotter). As good as this class is there are a lot of similarities between them and the junior class that came to FSU in 2001. That group was ranked eighth by SoccerBuzz, both classes went to the ACC Championship finals in their first year at FSU and both placed three players in the starting 11. Even more amazingly, all three players started at the same position. Katie Beal (junior) and Kelly Rowland (freshman) are starting together at center back, Camie Bybee (junior) and India Trotter (freshman) are playing together in the central midfield and Julia Schnugg (freshman) is starting up top, where Jez Ratliff (junior) played before being moved out wide. All three of those 2001 class members were named to the ACC All-Freshman team and two of this years class were as well but Kelly Rowland should have made three for the 2003 class as well.
SEMINOLES HOPE TO ECLIPSE THE HEELS
Last night there was a full lunar eclipse, which occurs about two to five times a year. The dates on which they take place are very irregular but there is one aspect you can set your watch to. Florida State has never lost in the ACC Championship final when they play the day after a total lunar eclipse. It will take something heaven sent for that streak to continue versus Carolina.