Oct. 19, 2006
Winston-Salem, NC - The third-ranked Seminole soccer team begins its final and most pivotal road trip of the season tonight versus No. 9 Wake Forest. It is Florida State's first meeting with a top 10 team since a 2-1 loss in North Carolina versus the Tar Heels. The game pits the second place Seminoles (11-1-2, 4-1-2) versus the Deacs (12-3, 4-2) who are just two points behind in the ACC standings with a game in hand. Florida State is 1-2-2 in its last five matches versus Top 10 squads but has gone 5-2 in its last seven games versus Top 10 tams in regular season play.
"Obviously this is an ACC game, which is always competitive, but with this being a battle between top 10 teams as well really raises the stakes," said senior Kelly Rowland. "We have to come out and play our game and hopefully we can get a result versus a very good Wake Forest team."
This will be just the second time this season FSU has gone on the road to face a ranked opponent. Both of Florida State's top 10 wins came in the first two weeks of the season and in Tallahassee. Since then the Seminoles are 0-1-1 versus ranked opponents. The Deacons were on a four-game winning streak before being upset by Clemson 2-1 the last time they stepped out. Wake is 2-2 this season versus ranked opponents but lost its only game of the season versus a top 10 team when they fell 1-0 to then-No. 2 Santa Clara in California.
"Wake is a very good team, they are very good to watch," said Florida State Head Coach Mark Krikorian. "They have technical players who move the ball nicely when they attack and they are good, solid and organized in their defending. It is probably going to be a game with very few chances. I think both teams will show a fair amount of respect for their opponents. Whoever takes advantage of those chances will put themselves in position to get a result."
Wake Forest is in the top three of the ACC for points, goals, goals per game and shots. They lead the conference in generating corner kicks and two players, Elizabeth Remy and Allie Sadow, are among the top 10 in the ACC for points and goals. This season the Deacs have scored 36 goals, 15 more than FSU in one less game.
"I think this is going to be a good challenge to measure ourselves," said central defender Sarah Wagenfuhr. "It has been some time since we faced a team of Wake's quality so I am excited. The key as always will be communication. In the back we have to be sure we are all on the same page because Wake is active in the box and very dangerous. We are looking forward to facing a team as good as Wake Forest."
The Seminole offense, which has gone through its struggles during the season, seems to have hit its stride in the last two games. For the first time since September 17, Florida State scored multiple goals in back-to-back games last week versus Stetson and Miami. FSU racked up 65 shots in the two matches and got goals from four different players. The Seminole front runners will have their hands full trying to break down a Demon Deacon offense that has eight shutouts in 15 games this year.
"I think our movement has been a lot better and we see our timing starting to come back," said All-American candidate Selin Kuralay. "It is just a matter of being able to put the ball in the back of the net. Once we get a couple on the board the team will get its confidence up. We just need to continue to put a premium on finishing our chances."
Tonight's match and Sunday's road finale versus Duke are huge games for FSU if the Seminoles hope to lock up the second seed in the conference behind North Carolina. Currently there are six teams all within four points. FSU leads the way with 14 but Wake Forest and Duke both have a game in hand and could leapfrog FSU with results this week.
"This is an important game for both teams," said All-American India Trotter. "There are a huge group of teams all fighting for second place. Seeding for the ACC Tournament is a key if you want to try and capture a championship. Tonight begins the stretch run for all of us so it is a big game."
If Florida State is able to pick up a win tonight in Wake's Spry Stadium, it will be the first time ever. FSU is 0-4-1 all-time versus Wake in Winston-Salem. In fact, Florida State is just 3-15-3 all-time in regular season ACC games played in the state of North Carolina. On the plus side, FSU has not lost a game versus the Demon Deacons since a 3-2 overtime loss at home in 2002.
"We have never won there," asked Trotter. "I guess that is something to think about. Each year is a different team and a different set of circumstances. That is obviously a streak we would like to put an end to but we know how tough that will be."
Tonight's match is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and fans can watch the key ACC battle live via ACC Select. Game Tracker will also be available for the match. For links to the live video broadcast and live stats, please log on to the official athletic website for Florida State University at Seminoles.com.