Oct. 1, 2003
Tampa, FL - Leah Gallegos paced No. 21 Florida State in a 3-0 win over USF (4-4-1) Wednesday night in Tampa, FL as she recorded her second multi-goal game of the season. The victory extended Florida State's (6-4-0, 1-0-0) win streak to five in a row, which matched a school record set in 2000. It also put an end to South Florida's three-game winning streak.
Florida State is now 6-0-1 all-time against the Bulls and they have recorded shutout victories all four times they have played at the USF Soccer Stadium. Wednesday's game marked the first time in series history that FSU has beaten the Bulls by more than one goal. The win improved head coach Patrick Baker's record to 22-2-0 versus in-state teams since 2000.
"In the first half, our speed and athleticism allowed us to be successful but I don't think we made that many good soccer decisions. We were only able to capitalize on one of the four or five really good chances we created," said Baker. "We really challenged the team at halftime to keep using the speed and athleticism to our advantage but to show a little more soccer savvy and sophistication, especially in the final third."
Florida State out shot the Bulls 24-1 and put 10 shots on goal compared to none for USF. South Florida rarely moved into the FSU's final third and the Seminoles created dangerous chances all game.
"We were one pass, one thought, one look away from being really dangerous all night," said Baker. "For whatever reason we were just a little off in the final third. I think the two goals in the second half were the result of us playing better soccer. The biggest thing in that second 45 minutes was that we played much better even though that didn't always result in a goal. If we had been a little more clinical in the final third, it could have been a much different storyline.
"That being said, we are very pleased to get our first shutout of the year and get a win in-state. Now we have to try to continue this in a very tough environment at Virginia Saturday."
The Seminole defense continued its improved play as they held USF without a shot until :06 left in the game in recording their first shutout of the year. The one shot allowed tied a school record set three times (1996, 1997 and 1999) and the shutout was the first ever for junior goalkeeper Joy McKenzie (5-3-0, 1-0-0).
"This shutout belongs to the players in front of me. I hardly saw the ball all night other than a couple of through balls," said McKenzie. "Tonight was a credit to the whole team from up front to the great back line in front of me. This is a shutout the whole team can be proud of."
"This was a team effort," said defender Katie Beal. "The forwards, midfielders and defenders all deserve credit. We are playing together as a group defensively and we are playing for one another. Having Kelly (Rowland) and Marion (Cagle) back there has helped us as a group but we still have room for improvement."
Cagle, a Tallahassee native, made her fifth straight start as FSU's right back. The junior hadn't made a collegiate start before the San Diego State game but she has helped solidify the Tribe's defense, which has allowed just six goals in the last seven games.
"I knew my opportunity would come. I wasn't sure when but I knew I would get a chance," said Cagle. "After losing my dad this semester, I have changed my whole perspective on soccer and done a complete 180. I have worked harder and been much more motivated so when I got my chance I was better prepared to take advantage of it."
Both Gallegos and Julia Schnugg had big nights for FSU offensively. The California kids combined on the first two Seminole goals of the game. Gallegos' two goals marked the third time in her career she has recorded a multi-goal game and she extended her team lead in goals to seven, which ties the amount of goals she recorded in her record-setting freshman season in 2002. Schnugg assisted on both goals and tied the single season assist record for an FSU freshman (seven) just 11 games into the year.
"Getting to seven goals already is a good achievement individually but it is still not what matters to me," said Gallegos. "When I come off the field my stats are not what I am thinking about. It is about winning as a team and we have been able to do that lately."
The Seminoles dominated the first half. The Tribe out shot USF 13-0, put four shots on goal and didn't allow a corner kick and in the 17th minute, Florida State took the lead. The Seminoles' California duo of Schnugg and Gallegos combined for the fourth time this season. Schnugg played a ball down the middle of the pitch to Gallegos. The Los Angeles native shielded the defender and then slotted the ball to the lower left corner past USF keeper Breck Bankester.
"Julia (Schnugg) got the ball at her feet and slotted it through to me," said Gallegos. "I was able to run on to it and I had a shot."
In the 62nd minute Schnugg and Gallegos combined again to put FSU in front 2-0. Schnugg made a great run into the box but didn't find much room so she dropped back and dribbled across the 18. She sent a great ball to the back post that found Amber Tollefson. The senior took one touch and played Gallegos who was sitting in the middle of the box in front of the keeper. She scored to the lower right corner.
"Julia (Schnugg) played a ball from the left side," said Gallegos. "Amber (Tollefson) crossed it in to me and I pump faked to try and lose the defender on my back. I got a little bit of room and shot to the back post."
The second goal marked the fifth time Californian's Schnugg and Gallegos have combined on a goal despite playing just six games together upfront. They are tied for the team lead with 15 points a piece. In 2002, only three Seminoles recorded more than 15 points and that came in 23 games.
"It is awesome to play next to an amazing talent like Julia (Schnugg)," said Gallegos. "There are some players that you just connect with mentally on the field, who bring out the best in the physical aspect of your game. Julia just does that for me and right now we are connecting so well."
"It is a nice one-two punch. They have different dimensions that they bring to the game," said Baker. "I think Leah (Gallegos) played pretty well tonight and Julia (Schnugg) played OK. They were still able to get goals and help each other. That is what is important. Julia, even when she isn't playing her best, keeps plugging away. We saw that against Ole Miss and that resulted in the game winner. That is the sign of a good, young player. It is exciting because the dimensions they bring are so different but they are so effective. We know what they can do individually but they need to keep working at getting on the same page. As much as they have done already, they are capable of so much more."
In the 88th minute Florida State cemented the game. Freshman walk-on Collette Swensen sent a great diagonal ball from over 20 yards out to a charging Alli Ferreri. The sophomore headed her shot into the ground and past Bankester at the far post for the third goal.
"It felt so great to get my first college assist," said Swensen. "Alli (Ferreri) played me the ball and I just tried to curve it back in. I just tried to make the most of the time I had on the field and it felt great to contribute."
"I saw Collette (Swensen) streaking down the field out of the corner of my eye so I played her the ball wide. I was able to get in and she sent a great ball over the two defenders heads," said Ferreri. "It feels great to come off the bench and make an impact in the game. Every player is waiting for a chance to prove themselves and it was nice Collette and I were able to help the team tonight. I am especially happy for Collette, more so than for myself."
The Seminoles return to action Saturday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. in Charlottesville, VA. The game between No. 4 Virginia (8-1-1, 1-0-0) and FSU is the second conference game for both teams. Virginia opened ACC play with a stunning 7-0 win over NC State while FSU downed Maryland 2-1 for the Tribe's third straight conference-opening win. This is the first time the two teams have met with both squads coming into the match undefeated in ACC play.
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.