Sept. 23, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The past four days for FSU soccer player Leah Gallegos have been something special. In the first conference game of her career, the Los Angeles, CA native scored three goals including the game-winner in overtime to help FSU defeat No. 17 Clemson 4-3. She then turned around and recorded the first game-winning assist of her career in a 3-2 FSU win over South Florida. For her efforts, Gallegos was named the ACC Player of the Week Monday. She is the first freshman in FSU history to ever garner ACC Player of the Week honors.
"This is a great acknowledgement and I am so excited about the honor," said Gallegos. "There are so many great players in this conference and it means a lot to me to be recognized. Scoring goals is a team effort and that was the case against Clemson. I was just the last player who touched the ball before it went into the net. I never planned on any of this when I came to college. I just wanted to do my best and help the team win."
Gallegos made quite an impression in the first ACC game of her career. The striker recorded the first hat trick of her collegiate career, the first game-winning goal of her career and the first golden goal as she led FSU past the Tigers 4-3 (OT). Gallegos' three goals came in a span of less than 30 minutes.
After FSU's Cindy Schofield tied the game at 1-1 just 2:27 into the second half, Gallegos took over. In the 64th minute, the striker collected a throw in just inside of the 18. She split two defenders on a beautiful move and turned to goal. She struck a low line drive ball to the near post beating Clemson keeper Leigh Ann Harrison and putting FSU up 2-1. After the Tigers scored two goals to reclaim the lead at 3-2, time was running down for FSU. With less than three minutes remaining in the match, Gallegos started the run that would eventually tie the game at 3-3 on the far right side of the box. The striker beat one Tiger defender and megged another as she created just enough space to fire a shot at new keeper Sarah McClurg. McClurg had no chance as the shot to the far post beat the freshman from Tipp City, OH. Gallegos completed the hat trick and gave FSU its second-consecutive win in an ACC opener when she scored the golden goal just over two minutes into OT. Gallegos got the ball from Camie Bybee at the top of box. She wasted little time before pulling the trigger as she rocketed a low shot to the left side of the net for the first golden goal of her Seminole career.
Gallegos didn't slow down Sunday versus USF as she had a hand in two goals in FSU's 3-2 win over the Bulls. Gallegos played a great ball to sophomore Marion Cagle with FSU in front 1-0. The Tallahassee, Fla. native made a long run down the right side of the pitch and played a beautiful ball into the center of the box. Senior midfielder Katie Talley was there waiting and stuck the cross into the back of the net. Gallegos got the game-winning assist less than five minutes later when the forward collected a throw-in, beat a defender with a spin move and sent a ball into Summer Corum standing just outside of the six-yard box on the right side. She collected the pass and fired a high shot past the diving keeper to give the Seminoles a 3-0 lead in what would end up a 3-2 game.
"It (Friday night versus Clemson) was a wonderful night for Leah and a wonderful night for our team," said head coach Patrick Baker. "You could tell before she even scored that she was playing well and doing a lot of good things. It is great to see her breakout like that.
"To be a freshman in you first ACC game and score, let alone score three times versus a nationally ranked opponent is pretty impressive. Then she comes back and gets a game-winning assist versus USF Sunday. We are very excited for her and it was a well-deserved honor."
For the weekend, Gallegos recorded seven points on three goals and an assist and was credited with a game-winning goal and a game-winning assist. She now leads the team in goals and points and is second in game-winning goals and assists.
FSU will return to practice tomorrow and begin preparations for Friday night's showdown with No. 17 Florida. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start and admission is free at the Seminole Soccer Complex. For complete information on the Seminole soccer team, live stats and photo galleries, please logon to the official athletic website for FSU at www.seminoles.com.