Oct. 29, 2005
Clemson, SC - The fifth-ranked Florida State soccer team concluded the best regular season in school history Saturday night with another impressive victory. For the fifth time this year FSU defeated a team ranked in the NSCAA top 25 as they beat No. 23 Clemson 3-0 for their record-setting eighth straight win. The victory was the seventh straight for FSU (16-2-0, 8-2-0) in the conference. The Seminoles now join North Carolina as the only ACC teams to ever win seven consecutive conference games in a single season.
"Winning seven in a row in this conference is an awesome accomplishment," said senior Teresa Rivera. "I think it is a result of all the hard work we have been putting in all season long. That is something North Carolina was the only team to ever accomplish and now we've done it as well. It says a lot about our program."
Florida State recorded its ninth shutout of the year, tying the single season record, as they scored three first half goals en route to their most lopsided win in the series with Clemson (9-7-2, 4-5-1). The Seminoles have now won five straight conference games against the Tigers, which ties the longest win streak in team history versus any ACC opponent. Florida State has not lost a regular season game in Clemson since 1999 and this was the team's third shutout in ACC play this year as well.
"It feels great to get a shutout and close out the regular season with another big ACC win," said Rivera. "Defensively we played well and we have a lot of confidence right now."
"Getting an ACC road shutout is satisfying," said goalkeeper Ali Mims who is now fourth in career shutouts at FSU. "Recording our ninth shutout of the year is a testament to how hard this group has worked this season. We have defended well as a team. I would like to take credit for the clean sheets and the GAA but I can't. Those are team stats and team records."
Saturday's win capped off the most successful regular season and conference season in school history. Florida State's 16 wins, two losses and .889 winning percentage are all records as are the eight wins in ACC play. The Seminoles, who were predicted to finish sixth in the ACC, finish in second place in the conference for the second time in school history and will open ACC Tournament play Wednesday versus these same Tigers.
"This was a good run for us through the regular season," said FSU Head Coach Mark Krikorian. "Now we need to get back, regroup and prepare ourselves for the second season."
"The way we finished out the regular season definitely helps our confidence as we head into the postseason," said Rivera. "I don't think this is a team that gets overconfident. This gives us great momentum heading into postseason play."
Sel Kuralay recorded her 13th and 14th goals of the season to stake FSU to a 2-0 lead. The Australian Olympian is now fourth on the single season goal scoring list at FSU. Viola Odebrecht finished the scoring with her eighth of the year. Both players wrap-up the regular season with five ACC goals, which is good for second on the single season goal scoring list at FSU in ACC play.
Florida State allowed Clemson to get off just four shots and only one on frame. FSU scored its three goals on just 11 shots and this is just the second time all season that FSU has scored three goals in the first half of a game. This is the seventh time this year that FSU has won an ACC game by multiple goals, something the team had done just five times in the previous 10 years.
"This was a good road victory for us," said Krikorian. "We came into a hostile environment and I thought our group worked pretty hard and created some chances early in the game. Then we did what we had to do to preserve the win."
Kuralay got FSU off to a great start just over 11 minutes into the game. India Trotter started the build-up to Florida State's first goal by beating three Clemson defenders on the left side of the pitch. The junior All-America candidate swung the ball to the opposite side of the pitch where Rivera played the ball into Kuralay. The sophomore nailed a bending shot from almost 25 yards away for the first goal.
"I picked my head up and I normally like to take a chance from range," said Kuralay. "I felt the keeper was off to the left a bit so I struck it towards the upper corner.
"I think it was important for us to gat an early goal. We are usually conceding early goals and chasing back. Today it was good for us to get a goal early and it built our confidence running through the first half."
Less than 10 minutes later Kuralay got back on the board via a penalty kick, the first one of the season for the Seminoles. The PK was a result of Trotter and Kuralay combining sending Trotter in at the top of the box. Clemson's Britten Meyer dislodged the ball on a great slide tackle but it wound up right at the feet of Mami Yamaguchi. Meyer got back up and tried to once again win the ball back but was whistled for taking down Yamaguchi in the box.
Florida State's final goal came at the 37:39 mark and came courtesy of a brilliant combination between Rivera and Kuralay. Rivera, who recorded two assists on the night, played a ball into Kuralay down the right side. Instead of putting a shot on frame from a difficult angle, Kuralay played a perfect ball to Odebrecht at the back post. The German Olympian took a touch and then just placed the ball into the side netting.
"It was a great combination," said Odebrecht. "They made it an easy job for me to score that goal. It was a great build-up by Teresa and Sel."
"India played a good ball back to me," said Rivera. "I had time and space so I took a touch and I saw Sel. She was open and I saw we had numbers in the box. I figured our chances were good of making something happen. I played it in to Sel and she did the rest. Viola finished it off with a great goal."
This will be the second straight season FSU will face Clemson in the opening round of the ACC Tournament. Last year the teams tied 2-2 and FSU was eliminated in a shootout. This is the first time the Seminoles have ever played a team in back-to-back games in the same season. The only time FSU closed their conference season with the same team they opened up the ACC Tournament with was in 2001. That year FSU closed ACC play with a 2-0 win over Maryland and then downed the Terps 7-2 in the first round of ACC's on their way to the championship game. That year the Seminoles played a non-conference game versus Jacksonville between those two Maryland matches.
"We hope to carry over some of the things we have been building on," said Krikorian about entering the ACC Tournament on an eight-game win streak. "Going in and playing Clemson for a second time in five days will be difficult. We will go in, compete and see how things go."
Florida State will return to action Wednesday in Cary, NC at the 2005 ACC Soccer Championships. The Seminoles will be the third seed and open with Clemson. Time of the game is TBA.