Oct. 7, 2003
Orlando, FL - The 22nd ranked Florida State soccer team (7-5-0, 1-1-0) not only had to fight a tough UCF squad (9-4-0) trying to protect a five game winning streak Tuesday night but they also had to take on mother nature. After a 1:45 delay for lightning, the Tribe scored three goals and recorded its second shutout of the season as they won their sixth game in seven outings.
Three different Seminoles scored goals in the win. Sophomore Leah Gallegos notched her eighth of the season to put FSU up 1-0. Two defenders then got into the act as Katie Beal and Kristin Boyce both recorded goals. Beal also had an assist to lead FSU with three points.
"This was a very important win for us tonight. We didn't play particularly well but I think that had to do with an emotionally draining, hard fought loss to Virginia Saturday," said head coach Patrick Baker. "You have to give UCF credit because they did a wonderful job. I think the difference was we were able to finish our chances and they were a little unlucky not to finish theirs. Any time you hold an opponent at bay for 90 minutes and score three goals on the other end, it is a job well done."
The Golden Knights, a 2002 NCAA Tournament team, were impressive Tuesday night winning the statistical battle as far as shots (16 to 15), corners (5 to 4) and shots on goal (8 to 6) were concerned but that wasn't enough to prevent FSU from its fourth straight win in the series. In that four game win streak, the Seminoles have outscored UCF 16-2 and recorded both of their shutouts in Orlando.
"We were very fortunate on occasions. It was a long day and I think the nearly two hour rain delay made us even more tired," said Baker. "It was great to get out there and play and we scored three wonderful goals. Now we need to recover and get ready for a huge game versus Duke Friday."
Tuesday night's three goals marked the fifth time in the last nine games FSU has scored at least three goals in a game. It is also the ninth straight game in which Florida State has scored at least one goal. After scoring just two goals in the first three games of 2003, the Seminoles are averaging over three goals per game in their last nine.
"We have a great combination right now of scoring goals in the run of play and off set pieces," said Baker. "I feel like we have a number of different ways to score this year. With Leah (Gallegos), Julia (Schnugg) and Alli (Ferreri) up top, a number of attacking personalities in the midfield and Katie Beal and Kristin Boyce being able to get forward and add to our attack from the back, we have been doing a great job offensively of late."
"I think it is extremely important that our offense is clicking heading into a stretch of four straight conference games," said Gallegos. "Not that the offense is more important than any other aspect of this team but we do need to do our job to get results. It is our responsibility to score goals and I think we have been doing our job lately."
Gallegos and the offense did their job early on as she accounted for the only goal of the first half, which came in the 25th minute. Amber Tollefson, who had two assists versus Virginia, recorded her fifth assist of the year. The senior found Gallegos just to the left of the keeper about 10 yards out. The sophomore striker took a touch as the goalie rushed out. Before she could get to Gallegos, the Los Angeles, CA native hit it past her staking FSU to the 1-0 lead.
"Amber (Tollefson) played in a beautiful ball right to my foot," said Gallegos. "We made eye contact and she played me in. I took one touch with my left and then just tipped it past the keeper."
The goal was the eighth of the year for Gallegos, which surpasses her freshman total of seven. It also gives her 15 career goals and moves her into a tie for fifth place on the Florida State career goal scoring list. All eight of her goals in 2003 have come in just the last nine games and she now leads the team in points and has nearly twice as many goals as anyone on the squad. Not only has Gallegos scored more goals this season, she has scored in more games. Last year the striker scored seven goals in just five matches. This year she has scored at least one goal in six of the Tribe's 12 games.
Tollefson also had a big night as she recorded an assist in her third straight game. The senior now has 19 on her career and is tied for second all-time at FSU in career assists. She is just four away from taking over the top spot. Her five assists in 2003 are just one shy of the six she had in 2001 and 2002.
In the 50th minute Gallegos went back to work against the UCF defense and set up another goal. Her dangerous run across the top of the box resulted in the UCF defense taking her down, which led to an FSU free kick. Beal lined up for the set piece on the right side about 20 yards away. The junior who had already scored on three free kicks this year sent a beautiful shot to the far post that caught the iron and bounced in.
"Leah (Gallegos) got taken down at the top of the box leading to the free kick," said Beal. "I was just trying to get it on either side of the wall. I was able to get it around the left side and it caught the far post and went in."
The junior defender from Alexandria, VA had never scored a goal in her career before 2003. She is now third on the team for goals scored and her four goals are more than the entire FSU defense recorded in 2002. Beal now has 11 points on the year and is tied with Boyce for the best single season offensive performance by any FSU defender.
Boyce got into the act as well and finished off the scoring in the 82nd minute off another FSU set piece. Beal took another free kick but drove this one along the top of the 18. Freshman Rachel McDowell flicked the ball back to Boyce who one-timed the shot from 18 yards out. The goal was the third of Boyce's career against the Golden Knights.
"Beal's free kick was great and it skidded across the top of the 18," said Boyce. "Rachel dummied the defense and just touched the ball on to me. I hit it first time and just feel pretty lucky it went in."
With both Boyce and Beal recording goals, it marked the first time on over two years that two FSU defenders have scored in one game. The last time that happened was September 21, 2001 when Boyce teamed up with Meredith Jones in a 4-1 win over Kansas.
"The coaches have asked Katie (Beal) and me to step up our offense in situations like tonight," said Boyce. "We are trying to be a threat on goal and help the team and we had some success at that tonight."
Goalkeepers Kerry York and Joy McKenzie combined on the shutout Tuesday night despite being forced to make a combined seven saves. Both keepers came up with big saves as they continued to lead a Seminole defense that has recorded its first two blankings of the season in the last three games. The Tribe, which allowed 10 goals in the first five games of 2003, has allowed just seven goals in the last seven contests.
"It was good to get the shutout tonight but we were lucky on a few occasions," said Beal. "As coach Baker says we bent but we didn't break. It continues to build the confidence of the entire team. Joy (McKenzie) and Kerry (York) both came up with some big stops to preserve the shutout as well."
The Seminoles return to action at home Friday, October 10 versus 13th ranked Duke. The ACC match is just one of two home conference games left for FSU and the Seminoles will now face four straight ACC opponents, three of whom are ranked in the top 25. The team will try to build on its 6-1 record in the last seven games and stellar defensive performances as it enters its toughest stretch of the year.
"The way we are playing defensively is big heading into this upcoming stretch of games," said Beal. "Confidence is a huge part of playing in the back and I think we are a confident group right now."
"As tough as this stretch has been in the last week, things don't get any easier for us," said Baker. "We have four ACC games with two on the road. That is an unbelievable stretch both physically and emotionally. We have to get results. We played a great schedule but didn't get some results and dug ourselves a hole. Our margin for error right now is minimal. It would be great to play well and get some wins but right now the results are the most important thing."
For all the latest news on Seminole soccer please log on to the official athletic site for the Florida State University Department of Athletics at www.seminoles.com.