Postgame Quotes | November 23, 2003

Nov. 23, 2003

Recap?|? Box Score

"I give credit to Florida State," said West Virginia head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. "They finished their chances and the overtime game-winner was a beautiful goal. They have a great team."

"I thought we started the game playing pretty well," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "When we went up 2-0, I thought we relaxed a little bit. Give West Virginia credit they picked their game up."

"There is an unbelievable rush of excitement when Leah (Gallegos) gets that golden goal," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "We didn't get her a ton of good looks but the one she got she made stand up. That is a credit to her."

"I thought we prepared very well for this team. We had excellent training sessions all week," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "To be up1-0 and then go up 2-0 is a credit to this team. I am so happy for our seniors that they can be a part of this in their final year."

"The game was similar to the Auburn game," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "There were portions of time when they had the game and portions of time when we had the game. That is what is going to happen in the Sweet 16. There is going to be give and take. You have to be good. You have to be lucky."

"Give them credit. They scored two big five goals in the second half," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "You knew they were going to come out fired up. That got the crowd involved. They are desperate because it is 2-1 nearing the end of the game and they don't want their season to end. Weimer played a beautiful in behind our defense and they capitalized."

"As soon as Leah (Gallegos) got the touch, I knew we were going to win it," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "I look up at the clock and there is 21 seconds left and we have advanced to the Elite Eight. It is just very special. I am excited for our players and happy for the program."

"I thought we started the game playing pretty well," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "When we went up 2-0, I thought we relaxed a little bit. Give West Virginia credit they picked their game up."

"First of all, for Beal to be in good shape positionally to get that ball, turn and then technically be able to serve," said Baker. "Second of all, for both Jez (Ratliff) and Leah (Gallegos) to have bent their runs to the back side and Jez be able to settle and lay that ball off is just remarkable. We get Leah in those situations and we like our chances. She stepped up again in overtime."

"We don't have a lot of players that are on the Hermann Award list or who get looked at for the U-21 and U-19 National Teams but we have some special players," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "The biggest thing is we win as a team. We won today as a team. We won against Auburn as a team. We don't have the personality players a lot of others have but we have a team. We understand our roles and have a great balance. We are the truest definition of the word team. That is exciting about this group. We aren't relying on one player to step up and be successful although Leah has done that the last two times out but she is being complimented by so many players around her."

"I shared this with the team last year," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "I have always wanted to spend Thanksgiving with the team. For 15 straight years I have been going to the ODP (Olympic Development Program) Inter-regional Camps across the United States that weekend. You would go there and especially at FSU we had been knocked out the weekend before. You want to be with your team that weekend. Other coaches in the Elite Eight would pop down and then go back to be with their teams. The other thing is the greatest youth players in the country are there and they knew who was still playing. I always thought about how great it would be for them to hear Florida State is still playing and couldn't be there. We are going to get to spend a very special Thanksgiving Day together."

"I thought we started the game playing pretty well," said Florida State head coach Patrick Baker. "When we went up 2-0, I thought we relaxed a little bit. Give West Virginia credit they picked their game up."

"We scored two goals in the first half, they scored two goals in the second half and you can't change what has happened in the past," said Baker. "Now it comes down to who can step up and stick a goal. We felt like they exhausted a lot of energy getting the game back to 2-2. In overtime we did a nice job and created a lot of quality chances. We were fortunate Leah (Gallegos) was able to step up. She didn't have a lot of good looks but she capitalized on the one we needed her to."

"You got to be good. You got to be lucky," said Baker. "They hit the frame. We missed two 1-on-1's. Those are chances. You have to have good goalkeeping and you have to have a little bit of luck. It is a game of opportunities."

"We feel like we have learned some pretty valuable lessons in our two previous Sweet 16 trips," said Baker. "Against Clemson we were just happy to be there and they promptly took it to us. Last year against UConn, we left the game realizing it was there for the taking. It just comes down to who capitalizes on their chances whether that be in the first two minutes or the last 21 seconds. If you keep putting yourself in position, hopefully at some point in time you will be able to take the next step."

"Both of these teams could easily be playing next week in Gainesville. There is no doubt about that," said Baker. "West Virginia is the No. 6 seed because they have great coaching, wonderful talent and special team chemistry. They defend well and they score goals. It is a credit to our group to come to a difficult place to play and get a result."

"Katie Beal served an amazing ball that landed at Jez's (Ratliff) feet," said Gallegos. "She found me, took a touch and passed it. I then went to the back post."

"Immediately after that ball goes in the goal, it is the most excited you could ever feel," said Gallegos. "You just run to every player on your team and don't even really know what is going on. You are screaming and celebrating. After that it starts to sink in that you are going to the Elite Eight."

"We tried to stay tough and keep our composure," said Gallegos. "It happens and they gave us a really good game. It was a little scary when they tied it up. We knew it wasn't over and we weren't going to let down."

"This is a huge leap for this program and this team," said Amber Tollefson. "We worked so hard today and to win a game in the last 20 seconds, it doesn't get much better than that. We fought and we got to the Elite Eight and that is so special."

"Every year is different and the first two times we made the Sweet 16 we were still kind of glad to be there," said Tollefson. "This team deserved to advance further. Those experiences helped us. You can't put into words how it feels to get over that hurdle. It is indescribable. I am so happy for this team. It is a dream come true."

"After the first goal, we took a deep breath and regrouped. We knew we would be fine," said Katie Beal. "We obviously didn't want to give up an early goal but I thought we responded."

"I felt pretty comfortable taking the PK," said Beal. "We have been practicing them almost everyday so I felt good stepping up and taking it. That was the easy part. Julia (Schnugg) played in a great ball and Leah got taken down. I just stepped up and tucked it in."

"This is really rewarding," said Jez Ratliff. "All the hard work, all the tears we shed all the sweat that everyone put in has paid off. Everyone is feeling good and confident as we head to Gainesville."

"It came off a corner kick that Rachel (McDowell) drove over everyone," said Jez Ratliff. "It was hard to locate at first because of the sun but once it came inside I just tried to put it back across the face of the goal. I knew Kelly (Rowland) and Camie (Bybee) would be making their runs there. Kelly got up and put in the header at the back post."

"West Virginia definitely had the momentum in the second half," said Jez Ratliff. "Once overtime started we had a renewed energy and that showed offensively. Towards the end we were getting a lot of chances and we knew it was coming. Beal hustled to get the ball and served it in. I thought I heard Camie (Bybee) calling for it. I knew someone was there so I turned and made the pass and it was Leah (Gallegos)."

"It is great to statistically help the team but this was a complete team effort," said Jez Ratliff. "We had different people step up in different roles today. Everybody helped and everybody's effort made the difference today."

"We had some chances that we didn't capitalize on but outside of North Carolina I thought this was the best team we played all year," said Jez Ratliff. "They were very balanced and excellent in all three areas of the field."

"In the first half I think we took the crowd out of it a little bit," said Jez Ratliff. "After they got that first goal it got a lot louder. After the second goal, you felt the crowd. They made it difficult for us but it was also sweeter to beat them in front of a large crowd."

"Last year when we were in the Sweet 16, that was rewarding for me. I was a freshman and really didn't know any better," said Leah Gallegos. "Seeing the upperclassmen and their emotions when we lost that game, knew we wouldn't be satisfied unless we advanced further. I learned from them. It made me want it that much more. I am so excited."

"Jez (Ratliff) played me a perfect ball," said Leah Gallegos. "I had time so I didn't get nervous. I took my touch and just made sure it was on frame. I was just thinking score, score, score. That was all that ran through my head. I knew there wasn't much time and I did what I could."

"It is so exciting to get a win in OT but even more so to extend our season another week," said Leah Gallegos. "To have another opportunity to run to all your teammates and hug them and scream and celebrate. I love that feeling more than the individual success from scoring the goal."

"The only reason the goal is special to me is because it sends us into the Elite Eight," said Leah Gallegos. "I still have another game with my teammates. That is so much more important than a record."

"I was just hoping I would get it in because I hadn't been taking great corners as of late," said Rachel McDowell. "Coach told me to aim for the six and that is what I did. I had confidence Kelly (Rowland) or Camie (Bybee) would get on it. I floated it in and Jez (Ratliff) and Kelly did a great job."

"It was really exciting and Jez worked really hard to keep that ball in and allow Kelly to score," said Rachel McDowell. "It is encouraging and gives me confidence to know that when I go in I can make an impact and help this team win."

"Everybody has played a huge role in this team's success," said Rachel McDowell. "It is exciting for the freshmen because we had high expectations but I don't know if we expected this our first year. We came in and wanted to help. I think we have proven ourselves when given a chance."

"Coming into the postseason, everyone warned the freshmen that the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament were huge stages," said Kelly Rowland. "I think that excited our class and we have stepped it up since then. Everyone of us has found a way to contribute a goal, an assist a pass, something. But we are the only ones. The team has raised the level and our class has just tried to match that."

"It came off a corner and it went to Jez (Ratliff)," said Kelly Rowland. "She had a great header that went right to my head. I just tried to knock it home."

"I just think on set pieces if we put it up there, either me or Camie (Bybee) will latch on to any ball," said Kelly Rowland. "We are really confident right now in the box and try to keep up that mentality."

"In the first half we played pretty well defensively," said Kelly Rowland. "In the second half you have to give West Virginia credit. I think Joy (McKenzie) may have been interfered with on the first goal but that happens. It is part of the game. We need to keep getting better but we held strong in the overtime and didn't break."

"It is an awesome feeling to know that all the hard work from the first day of preseason to know is paying off," said Kelly Rowland. "If we have come this far, we might as well keep going. We want to take that mentality into our next game. Put it all on the line and see what happens."



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