Oct. 4, 2003
Charlottesville, VA - The 21st-ranked Florida State soccer team (6-5-0, 1-1-0) was five minutes away from winning its first-ever game against No. 4 Virginia (9-1-1, 2-0-0). It was five minutes away from beating a top five team on the road for the first time ever and five minutes away from the longest winning streak in school history but the Cavaliers got them, again. For the sixth time in UVA's 10 wins against FSU, the Cavaliers either won or tied the game in the last ten minutes and for the fourth time that goal came with under two minutes on the clock.
"It was a great game tonight between two very good teams," said head coach Patrick Baker. "There were ebbs and flows where they had portions of the play and we had portions of the play. Both teams had good chances. They just found a way to pull it out in the end.
"We just played arguably one of the four or five best teams in the country tonight and had a great chance to win it. Did we lose? Without question, they scored three and we scored two. If we keep playing and building on this effort like we have every game so far, we can make further strides."
The loss was FSU's 10th straight regular season loss to Virginia and the team's seventh straight by just one goal. Seniors Amber Tollefson and Kristin Boyce were looking to finish their careers with a win over ACC team and did everything in their power to get it. Boyce recorded her first goal since October of 2002 and also recorded an assist. Tollefson recorded two assists as the Tribes' lone seniors combined for five points in the loss.
"Virginia is the one team Boyce and I have never beat and I told the team before the game that 'this was us, this is our win tonight'," said Tollefson. "They were the one win we wanted so badly. I am proud of how hard we worked.
"The game was right there in our grasp and we couldn't finish it off. We will learn from this but it is very disappointing. We were right there but lost it. I am so proud of this team because we played with one of the best teams in the nation."
The first 40 minutes were played evenly with neither team really creating too many dangerous opportunities. In the 13th minute Virginia had a great look at the Seminole goal when Lindsay Gusick was played into the FSU box on a diagonal ball. Kerry York (1-2-0, 0-1-0), making just her second start of the year, charged the junior and made a big save.
The Cavaliers turned up the pressure in the last five minutes of the half as they peppered York with back-to-back drives but it wasn't until a 45th minute corner kick that UVA took the lead. With just :57 on the clock, Gillian Hatch's corner from the right side of the pitch was laced to the back post where Kelly Hammond latched on to it and sent it past York. The goal was the eighth of the season for the junior from Wisconsin.
The Seminoles came out on fire in the second half as they started to press the Virginia defense and scored within five minutes of the opening whistle. Tollefson's corner was sent in to fellow senior Boyce. The Austin, TX native flicked the ball on to junior Camie Bybee in the goal mouth where she scored her fifth goal in the last six games.
The Tribe almost got another in the 58th minute. Leah Gallegos dribbled three UVA defenders on the end line on the left side of the pitch. Her centering pass found Jez Ratliff about six yards out. The junior got the shot off but UVA keeper Anne Abernethy (9-1-1, 2-0-0) smothered the ball.
Gallegos was back at it again a minute later from the same side. This time she bent a shot to the back post that Abernethy punched out for an FSU corner. Tollefson once again cashed in on a corner as she and Boyce combined to score and put FSU in front 2-1.
"We were a little bit on our heels in the first half but coach fired us up at half time and we came out with a lot more purpose," said Tollefson. "We were able to get a couple of goals off set pieces and that was a great start for us."
The Tribe had a chance to put the game away and go up by two goals in the 73rd minute. Kelly Rowland's long throw-in was flicked on by both Gallegos and Schnugg before Bybee got a header shot off. Her drive just missed the mark.
As the clock wound down, the Seminoles were just trying to milk the clock and get out of Charlottesville, VA with a big win. The Cavaliers continued to turn up the heat on the Tribe defense as FSU kept trying to clear the ball and hold the Virginia offense at bay.
"We had very good chances to make the game 3-1 and didn't capitalize. Obviously a two-goal lead would have given us a bigger cushion to work with and more separation," said Baker. "We just needed to do a little better job with clock management. With 5:00 remaining we had a chance to play a bigger ball in behind them and let more time run off the clock. We tried to play a little too cute and that resulted in the possession that tied the game."
"I think we started to manage the clock a little too early," said Tollefson. "There was still 30 minutes left after our goal and we got defensive. I started knocking the ball out with 25:00 on the clock when maybe I should have been pushing the team forward."
Either way, the Seminoles were able to hold Virginia at bay until the 85th minute when sophomore Kelly Hammond got inside the FSU defense and equalized the game. Hammond's strike, which was slipped into her by Ariel Thompson, was the ninth of the year for the 2002 2nd team freshman All-American.
"We are up 2-1 on the road, we are managing the clock and then they were able to make it 2-2," said Baker. "I think at that point things got a little hectic."
The pace of the game became frenetic after the UVA equalizer and the Seminoles almost jumped back on top in the 87th minute. Schnugg and Ratliff combined down the right side of the field as the Tribe launched a counter attack. The combination freed Ratliff in the middle of the box as Schnugg turned the corner. Her centering pass bounced right in front of Ratliff about eight yards away but she just mistimed her attempted volley and couldn't connect.
Virginia kept pressing and got the winner at 89:33. The goal was an amazing volley by Thompson who charged on to the ball that was unsuccessfully cleared out of danger after back-to-back Seminole headers.
With only :27 left on the scoreboard, Florida State took one more shot at tying the game. The Tribe stormed down the field off the kick-off and got the ball to Ratliff making a run down the right side. She played the ball around a UVA defender and ran onto it on the other side. Ratliff then ripped a shot that bounced off the inside of the back post and into a Virginia defender and was deflected out of bounds.
"We managed to take the kick-off and go right down to their end after the eventual game-winner," said Baker. "We hit the inside of the back post which would have knotted the game up. It was an exciting game if you were on the winning side and heart-breaking if you were on the losing side."
The Seminoles will regroup and head on the road this week as they travel to UCF. The game is scheduled for Tuesday, October 7 at 7:00 p.m. Florida State has won three straight versus the Knights by a combined score of 11-2. The last time the Seminoles played in Orlando, they came away with a 5-0 win.
"We will learn from tonight and regroup," said Baker. "The sign of a good team is being able to respond to a loss like this and we will have to do that against a good UCF team on the road."
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