ACC Unbeatens No. 21 FSU And No. 4 Virginia Meet Tonight
Gameday Notes For No. 21 FSU vs. No. 4 Virginia
Live Stats For No. 21 FSU vs. No. 4 Virginia
Oct. 4, 2003
Cahrlottesville, VA - The 21st-ranked Florida State soccer team (6-4-0, 1-0-0) has never beaten Virginia. They have never won at Klockner Stadium on the UVA campus. The Tribe has never defeated a top 5 team on the road (Virginia is currently ranked fourth) and Florida State has never won six straight games. Why will things be any different when they face No. 4 Virginia (8-1-1, 1-0-0) tonight at 7:00 p.m. in Charlottesville, VA?
First off, FSU has lost six straight conference games versus Virginia by just one goal each time. In five of FSU's nine losses to Virginia, the Tribe has either been leading or tied going into the last 10:00 and three times UVA has either won or tied the game with less than three minutes remaining. Second, Florida State has beaten ranked teams on the road. In fact, four of the Seminoles last six wins over ranked teams have come away from home including three against ACC teams (No. 9 Clemson, No. 20 NC State and No. 22 Maryland). And finally, the last time FSU had a chance to win six straight games; they also found themselves on the road for an ACC game. That was in 2000 versus NC State when the Tribe played the Wolfpack to a scoreless draw after two overtimes.
The Seminoles will have their hands full though with a Virginia team that is as hot as any in the country and has plenty of its own streaks coming into the game. The Cavs have won six straight games and are undefeated in their last seven. They are in the midst of a school record five game win streak versus ACC teams in regular season games and UVA has won eight straight a Klockner Stadium. The games have been close though with 12 of Virginia's last 17 games being decided by a goal.
"Both teams play a similar style of soccer. We both try to play a pretty style of soccer and knock the ball around. So I think it will be another great game," said Tollefson. "Whenever we play them it is close but they have always come out on top. They are the only team we haven't been able to beat. We need to bring a different element to the game tonight, more enthusiasm. Virginia is a big time program and it is a date we have circled on our calendar as a big game."
Tonight's game is huge for both teams as they have never met when both are undefeated in conference play but it is even more special for seniors Tollefson and Kristin Boyce. The two seniors have recorded the first-ever victories in program history over three ACC schools and have defeated every team in the conference since arriving in 2000 except for UVA.
"The ACC is the best women's soccer conference in the nation and we have beaten every team in it except for Virginia," said Tollefson. "Both (Kristin) Boyce and I would love to be able to finish our careers with a win over UVA. That would be a special win for us."
Boyce and Tollefson were part of the 2001 squad that advanced into the ACC Championship semi-finals after a classic four overtime battle versus Virginia. The Tribe moved past the Cavaliers into the team's first-ever ACC Championship after a shootout victory. The game was one of the biggest 'wins' in team history but went down in the record books as a tie.
"They out played us in the ACC Championship semifinals in 2001," said Tollefson. "We were on the defensive a lot. But we just don't give in. Ever since I have been here, this team has fought to the end. I think that will be key for us again tonight."
Tonight's match-up features two teams on great streaks that have turned their respective seasons around. The Cavaliers, who started 2-1-2, have shot up the polls during their six game win streak that has included victories over then-No. 2 Santa Clara and then-No. 22 Southern Cal by a combined score of 7-1. During the win streak, UVA has shutout four of their six opponents.
The Seminoles started the season 0-3-0 and then 1-4-0 before their own win streak, which has tied the school record at five. The Seminoles have defeated two ranked teams (then-No. 21 Ole Miss and then-No. 14 Maryland) and have returned to the national polls at No. 21 after starting the year as a consensus top 15 pick.
"After starting the season slowly, we've had a few good wins as of late including back-to-back victories over ranked teams in Maryland and Ole Miss," said Jez Ratliff. "We have had some important wins but we are still looking for a huge win on the road. Virginia is a consensus top 5 team. We've been close to breaking through this season and we are just hoping the ball bounces our way Saturday night."
On top of winning their sixth straight game, beating Virginia for the first time ever and getting a win over a top 5 team on the road, there is something even more important on the line. A win would move FSU to 2-0-0 in the ACC. The Tribe has only opened an ACC season with two wins once in program history and that was 2001 when the team went 4-3 and advanced to the ACC Championship final.
"It is huge to start 2-0 in the ACC and we have put ourselves in position to have a chance to do that," said Ratliff. "The win over Maryland was a big win and if we could leave Virginia with another that would be great for us."
While much has been made of the Tribes' improved offense, which produced six goals in the first five games and 20 goals in the last five matches, and the defense and goalkeeping that has allowed just four goals over the last five compared to 20 in the first five, the play of the FSU midfield has been a key during the run. Freshman India Trotter has been a force for FSU and has been combining well with 2001 All-ACC rookie team member Camie Bybee who is on pace to have the best offensive season of her career.
"Camie (Bybee) and I are starting to work really well together. We are balancing off on another," said Trotter. "She wins a lot of headers and I win a lot of the tackles. It is awesome to play off of her. Our wide midfielders also do such a great job fueling our attack and playing with our outside backs. We are getting better as a group each time out."
Trotter is expecting tonight's game to be just like Maryland in the sense that much of the game will be decided in the middle of the pitch. The win over the Terrapins had as much to do with the play of Trotter and Bybee in the center of the field as any other factor and Trotter expects Saturday night to be no different.
"So much of tonight's game will be decided in the middle of the field, just like it was against Maryland," said Trotter. "The Cavaliers play a 4-4-2 as well so there will be some great midfield match-ups. If we are going to play well as a team, we need to do our jobs in the midfield."
Another area that will be a key factor in Saturday's game will be the play of both team's benches. With the new substitution rules, fewer players will be getting opportunities in conference games. Only five substitutes made the field for Maryland and FSU in their meeting last week and Baker played just two players off the Seminole bench. One of the two was redshirt-freshman Sarah Rosseau who has become the first sub off the bench this season after recovering from back surgery her freshman year.
"It is really important to keep the energy level up when you get in the game," said Rosseau. "You have to perform when you get in there but for me it is just great to be playing. I go in with the goal of helping the team as much as I am able to and I think I have been able to do that this year.
"It helped a lot to get time in the Maryland game. Due to my injury last year, this is my freshman season and it is nice to start getting some minutes. For me, I don't even have to start to get that feeling inside of me before the game. That's the way I felt before Maryland and I am sure I will feel that way tonight."
Live stats for tonight's match will be supplied by the Virginia Sports Information Office and will be available at www.seminoles.com. For all the latest news on Seminole soccer please log on to the official athletic site for the Florida State University Department of Athletics.