Sept. 17, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- When rivals Florida State and North Carolina clash on the soccer pitch, it's typically a strongly contested affair between highly ranked foes in front of a surplus of spectators.
Wednesday night's showdown at the Seminole Soccer Complex when No. 3 FSU (6-0-2, 1-0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) hosts No. 5 UNC (7-1-0, 1-1-0) live on ESPNU is expected to be all three of those things and then some. With the Tar Heels coming off their first back-to-back losses to the Seminoles in program history in the last two meetings, the intensity level between the two elite programs figures to be ratcheted up a notch.
"It's going to be a heck of a battle but I don't know that last year is relevant at this point for this year," FSU coach Mark Krikorian said. "It's two different teams with two different makeups but it's two good teams."
It's true that the Seminoles' success against the defending national champions in the past two meetings doesn't play much of a role when the lights come on Wednesday night, but it certainly doesn't hurt the home team's chances.
In a storied series history that has seen the two teams split the last seven matches 3-3-1, every ounce of information that can be obtained from watching film of those games and studying tendencies can be beneficial.
"We certainly have gone back and taken a look at some of the things in the past," Krikorian said. "But every time we have ever played North Carolina, it has been a dog fight. Their kids are extremely competitive, our kids are extremely competitive [and] we'll certainly take out of it that the tempo of the game is going to be faster than what we typically play at and what everyone plays at.
"The challenge, of course, is who is going to control the tempo of the game?”
If the Seminoles want to make it three victories in a row against the 'Heels, they have to slow down UNC's hectic pace and game speed. To do so, they must be more deliberate by controlling the ball and making Carolina work defensively.
"UNC plays really high pressure -- both attacking and defensively -- so it's about picking our moments when being composed and when we're going to play our style of play," senior Kassey Kallman said.
And she would know.
As a standout defender for the 'Noles, Kallman has been a key piece to a puzzle that has resulted in those consecutive1-0 victories over the Tar Heels in each of the past two meetings in this series. Not only does she know what it takes to beat the 'Heels, she knows what it's like to play in these types of games under this type of pressure.
"It definitely helps being here a few years and knowing how UNC plays," Kallman said. "My freshman year I was scared to death; they are a huge name. But being in the game and knowing their tendencies definitely helps. We have players in key positions that are really experienced so I think we will share that knowledge with the freshmen and they'll be fine."
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Kelsey Wys, who has a combined nine saves against UNC in the last two matches, thinks that pace isn't the only thing that the 'Noles need to key in on if they want to be successful.
They also have to communicate.
"Just being organized on the back line and communicating," Wys said. "I think communication as always can solve a lot of problems. So just making sure we are there for each other and being smart I think will help a lot."