Sept. 21, 2003
Tallahassee, FL - For the ninth time since 2000, head coach Patrick Baker and the Seminole soccer team beat a ranked opponent and Sunday's win over No. 21 Ole Miss ranks up with some of the biggest. The 2-1 overtime victory, which clinched the 2003 Nike Seminole Classic tournament title, not only knocked Ole Miss (7-1-0) from the ranks of the unbeaten but was the third consecutive win for the Seminoles (4-4-0) who are back to .500 after a 1-3-0 start. Freshman sensation Julia Schnugg scored the game winner 6:16 into the first overtime period. It was her first-ever game-winner but the fourth goal she has scored in the last three games.
"I got goose bumps today," said Schnugg, the tournament's offensive MVP. "It is such an amazing feeling and the word that keeps coming to mind is awesome. To score that goal and have the team run on to the field, give you hugs and celebrate like that is just great. To be a freshman and have the chance to help this team win a big game is more than I could have ever asked for."
"This was a great win for us today," said Baker. "I apologized to Ole Miss head coach Steve Holeman for running onto the field after the goal but emotions got the best of me. From where we were a week ago Saturday, to where we are now is remarkable. I give so much credit to these players. The way they have responded in training and more importantly the way they have performed in games is a credit to each of them."
Florida State continued to flex its offensive muscle in the win as it scored two or more goals for the fifth consecutive game since being shutout 2-0 by No. 3 Florida. The Tribe has now scored 21 goals in the last five games and given up just five in that span. Fifteen of the 21 goals have come in the last three games since switching offensive systems to a 4-4-2, which many of the players are more experienced with.
"The 4-4-2 allows us to get more people into the box," said Schnugg. "Watching Leah (Gallegos) being able to work with another front runner instead of going it alone is a big help for her. She can now lay the ball off to people and I love playing with her. It has really allowed us to combine more and get the midfielders involved in the attack. We were also getting a lot of chances in the 4-5-1 but we seem to just be sticking them now."
"The 4-5-1 was a little difficult to grasp even with all the talent we have," said Gallegos. "I think things are working better with two players up top combining and getting forward. It is also easier for me especially when you have a player like Julia (Schnugg) next to you."
Florida State, playing in the 4-4-2 for the third straight game, had the better of the play in the first half holding the Rebels without a shot for almost 18 minutes. Neither team was able to score but the Seminoles put together quite a few scoring opportunities.
In the ninth minute Kelly Rowland launched another long, dangerous throw-in into the box. The ball wasn't cleared by the Ole Miss defense and a scramble ensued to try and dig it out. Camie Bybee got a crack at the ball at the far post but the shot was just wide.
Jez Ratliff and Gallegos almost got FSU on the board in the 21st minute as they ran a give and go down the right flank. Gallegos returned the pass to Ratliff who was making a run into the box. The Oklahoman got in with keeper Brittany Gillespie (7-1-0) but couldn't beat the senior who cut down the angle.
The Tribe's best chance though came in the 26th minute. Katie Beal sent a short free kick across the field and wide to Kristin Boyce. The senior defender dribbled up the left sideline and swung a great cross into the box at the far post. The clearance ended up right at the feet of Schnugg a few yards in front of the goal at the near post. The Californian blasted the shot but Gillespie made a huge save to preserve the tie.
"I thought I had that goal," said Schnugg. "I shot it right back at the goalie. The goal is the target and I need to do a better job of getting it there on each of my chances."
The Tribe went back to work in the 51st minute and once again put pressure on the Rebel defense. Beal and Boyce combined on another free kick; this one was sent down the left flank and onto an overlapping Boyce. The defender sent another brilliant cross into the center of the box and onto the head of Ratliff. The midfielder's shot just missed the mark as it sailed over the crossbar.
Gillespie made another huge save to keep Ole Miss in the game in the 58th minute. Beal played another great ball down a wing, this one to Gallegos. The Los Angeles, CA native collected the ball on the endline and dribbled a Rebel defender who was trying to mark the sophomore. Gallegos closed in on the endline and fired a blast to the near post, trying to squeeze one past Gillespie. The senior keeper was able to punch the shot out of bounds.
The Seminoles cashed in at 64:17 and it was another Rowland throw-in that started the play. The freshman sent a deep throw into the box where Bybee flicked the ball backwards to the far post. Senior co-captain Amber Tollefson then knocked a header over the top of Gillespie for her second goal of the season and the 1-0 lead.
"Kelly had a great throw and we have been working on how best to capitalize on that," said Tollefson. "Camie (Bybee) settled it and I knew she was going to be able to get a touch on it. She just tapped it up and it was a 50-50 ball I was able to get to. Luckily the girl marking me was shorter than me. The keeper got a hand on it but it made it in.
"There are a lot of ways to contribute to a team's success but when you get a goal in a tight game that is a more tangible way to help. I was just glad I could get one for us."
With time winding down, Ole Miss picked up its attack in search of a late equalizer. Just two minutes after the FSU goal, Karen Hall almost evened the game. The junior from Southlake, TX got free at the top of the 18 and pulled the trigger. Fellow Texan and all-tournament goalkeeper Joy McKenzie was there though and came up with the save.
Ole Miss didn't take its first corner of the game until the 69th minute but it was another type of set piece that proved to be the biggest play of the day for the Rebels. With just 2:59 remaining in regulation, FSU was whistled for a foul about 24 yards out on the left side of the pitch. Kristal Menard lined up for the set piece and sent a laser around the wall and to the back post tying the game.
"We talked at halftime about the fact that we didn't feel Ole Miss was creating enough chances other than off set pieces and then sure enough, the set piece is our demise," said Baker. "This is the third straight game we have taken a shutout into the last seven minutes and each game we have moved closer and closer to that first one of the year."
Although Baker is a stellar 5-1-7 in overtime games at FSU, the last time the Tribe went into OT at the Seminole Soccer Complex they lost 3-2 in double OT to Wake Forest. It seemed though that Baker would get back in the win column just four minutes in. India Trotter fired n wicked volley from inside the 18 that beat Gillespie and was on its way into the net before a huge header save by Menard cleared the ball off the line and set the stage for Schnugg's heroics.
Ironically it was another Trotter shot that set up the golden goal just two minutes later. With just over six minutes gone in the first overtime period Schnugg fired a shot on frame that ricocheted to Trotter. The freshman's shot was blocked right to the feet of Schnugg who turned and buried the game-winner.
"That was big time by Julia (Schnugg) and the overtime win was big for us," said Tollefson. "We had such great energy today and we ran into a good Ole Miss team. I think our will to get back to .500 was just a little greater than their will to beat us. It is an awesome felling though when you get to pile on after a golden goal. We put it out there before OT started and said someone is going to step up and score and the whole team are going to pile on top of you and Julia did it."
"Getting Julia up top, closer to the restraining line and working with Leah (Gallegos) is paying off," said Baker. "When she played wide she was somewhat limited. Centrally, she has so many options. She was pretty quiet today before the overtime and she capitalized on the chance."
Schnugg, a high school Parade All-American and US U-19 National Team player, is in the midst of an amazing run. After scoring four goals and recording three assists in the last four games, the freshman is tied for the FSU lead in goals (4) and is first in assists (5) and points (13).
"Moving back to the 4-4-2 and being able to play up top has opened up things for me and given me a lot more room to work in," said Schnugg. "Playing with Leah (Gallegos) has helped me so much too. We needed goals and somebody had to score. I am just glad I have been able to contribute to this team.
"The first few games on the collegiate level were so hard for me but now that I have seen some great teams I know a little more what to expect. I also have a better feeling of what we need to do as a team and individually to score goals. We now just need to do it but it is getting easier for me each time out."
The win over No. 21 Ole Miss was the first in four tries versus Top 25 teams this season for FSU. After losses to top five teams like Florida and Penn State, the Seminoles are back to .500 and got even with a big win over a Rebel squad that had the most wins of any unbeaten team in the nation coming into Sunday's match.
"We have always had a couple of big wins each year but that was still out there for this group coming into today," said Baker. "For us to get this win was a huge lift. You could see our energy level soar. This was huge because Ole Miss was undefeated and nationally ranked.
"I made the mistake last week of talking about getting to .500 when we went out to Kansas. This week I didn't even talk about it. All I am doing is focusing on the game right ahead of us. I hope that benefited the players. We aren't going to look ahead."
In 2000, FSU was 4-3 through seven games and 5-4 through nine games and that squad ended up in the team's first-ever Sweet 16 that year so this isn't unfamiliar territory for Baker. He has taken his team deep in the tourney after what some would deem slow starts before and the three game winning streak FSU started this past week is a good start.
"I didn't think, based on our talent, we would be at .500 entering ACC play versus Maryland this Friday," said Baker. "That is where we are at though and we have played some great games that will prepare us for conference play."
"Somebody in the locker room just brought up that we are back to .500," said Gallegos. "We are now heading into ACC play having caught up but things just keep getting tougher for us. We know what it takes to get wins now we just have to bring that type of effort each time out."
The Seminoles continue their home schedule this Friday, September 26 at 7:00 p.m. versus the University of Maryland. The game is Florida State's conference opener and there is no admission charge for the game. For complete game coverage, log on to the official athletic website for Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.
NOTES: Florida State players were selected to six of the 12 spots on the 2003 Nike Seminole Classic All-Tournament team including offensive and defensive MVP honors. Freshman Julia Schnugg was named offensive MVP after recording two assists and scoring three goals including the tournament winner in OT. Katie Beal was named the tournament MVP as she and her Seminole teammates allowed just two goals this weekend. Schnugg was named all-tournament at forward while both Camie Bybee and India Trotter received all-tourney honors in the midfield. Katie Beal and Kristin Boyce made the all-tournament team from the backline and Joy McKenzie was the tournament's only goalie to receive honors after going 2-0-0 with a 0.97 GAA.