Oct. 7, 2004
Sports and hyperbole go hand in hand but it is not an understatement to call this one of the biggest regular season weekends in Patrick Baker's tenure at Florida State. This is the first time since 1999 that FSU has faced two ACC teams in one weekend. Florida State has never won a single game in any of the four previous two-game, ACC weekend series. The Tribe is 0-6-2 all-time in conference games played on the same weekend. This year's games are even more important when you consider the current ACC standings. Wake Forest and Florida State are currently tied for sixth place, which is so crucial because the sixth place team avoids playing an opening round ACC Tournament game Halloween weekend. Virginia Tech is 3-2 in the conference already and a win over the Hokies would give FSU an edge in the head-to-head series if it comes down to that tiebreaker. Another reason the games are so important is that they are the last two home ACC games for FSU outside of No. 1 North Carolina. The Seminoles broke a two-game skid with a win over USF Tuesday night but they are still looking to break their two-game losing streak in ACC play. The last time FSU lost three straight ACC matches was in 2001 when FSU lost to North Carolina, Wake Forest and Virginia. That season FSU finished ACC play with a 4-3 record. The only time Baker has ever lost four straight ACC games was in his first year at FSU in 1999.
Florida State Women's Soccer ACC games in a 3-day period
0-6-2 (H, 0-3-1) (A, 0-3-1)
Sept 18 Fri
Wake Forest - H, L 1-3
Sept 20 Sun
North Carolina - H, L 0-7
Oct 23 Fri
Duke - A, T 0-0
Oct 25 Sun
North Carolina State - A, L 1-2
Sept 17 Fri
North Carolina - A, L 0-9
Sept 19 Sun
Wake Forest - A, L 1-2
Oct 22 Fri
North Carolina State - H, T 2-2
Oct 24 Sun
Duke - H, L 1-3
Wake Forest holds a 2-7-2 all-time edge in the series...while it flew under the radar, FSU's win over the Demon Deacons at last year's ACC Tournament was just the second ever Tribe victory against WFU...did you know that the Demon Deacons are the only team to ever beat a Patrick Baker led FSU team in OT (2002 WF 3 FSU 2--2ot)...Jez Ratliff is the only active Seminole player to have scored a goal against Wake Forest in a regular season game and that came in 2001 at Wake in a 4-2 loss...Leah Gallegos scored both of FSU's goals against the Demon Deacons in a 2-1 win at last year's ACC Tournament...Florida State has started a different goalkeepers in the last three regular season meetings versus Wake Forest....Joy McKenzie has allowed just one goal against Wake Forest in her 200 minutes of play 110 of which came last year in a 0-0 tie in Winston Salem...in 2003 the Seminoles' eight corner kicks were the most ever by FSU in a game versus Wake Forest....Camie Bybee and Katie Beal are the only active Seminoles to have started in the last four games against Wake Forest....four of Florida State's seven loses to Wake Forest have been by one goal...the last three regular season meetings between FSU and WF have gone into overtime.
The only meeting ever between Florida State and Virginia Teach came in of all places Coral Gables, FL in 2002...FSU defeated the Hokies 1-0 on an goal in the 87th minute by Camie Bybee...the Seminoles out shot Va Tech 21-7 on the afternoon limiting the Hokies to just one first half shot...the Tribe held a large edge in corners too taking 13 to just two for Virginia Tech...over half of FSU's 21 shots were taken that day by former players Amber Tollefson, Kristin Boyce and Jenny Garcia...Camie Bybee not only scored the only goal that afternoon she also led all FSU's current players with three shots on the day...only three players that started for Virginia Tech the last time the squads met are still on the Hokie roster today and of the 17 players that faced FSU two years ago, only six are still on the roster...FSU has only four players on its current roster who were starters in that game two seasons ago. Of the 20 Seminoles that played that day, eight are still on the roster...Tech head coach Kelly Cagle has never coached against FSU but the former Duke Blue Devil has played against the Tribe. In 1995, the former Kelly Walbert took six shots against FSU in Tallahassee as Duke went on to a 2-0 win over the Seminoles.
A STARK CONTRAST
Florida State is on a record pace for goals allowed this season, which is amazing since 2003 was the all-time best season ever for FSU as far as allowing goals is concerned. The Tribe is giving up just 0.82 goals per game. The Seminoles have never in team history allowed less than a goal a game. The record for a complete season is 1.05 and as mentioned above, was set by last year's squad. Last season was also the first time ever FSU had a positive goal differential of a goal or above. The Tribe averaged 2.25 goals per game and allowed 1.05 for a 1.20 goal differential. It was the fourth straight season FSU posted a positive goal differential but the first where that differential was more than a goal a game. Florida State only posted a positive goal differential once in the five seasons prior to head coach Patrick Baker's arrival. If the Tribe wants to repeat the feat of the 2003 squad, they will need their offense to pick it up. The Seminoles are a positive 0.81 this season, which would be the second-best goal differential in school history if the season ended today. That is an amazing stat considering the offense's 1.63 goals per game is the second lowest average in the 10-year history of Tribe soccer.
One of the reasons the FSU offense might be having trouble scoring goals could be the team's penchant for getting caught offsides. The Seminoles have been whistled for 37 offsides penalties compared to just three for their opponents. That means that not only is FSU 12 times more likely to get caught offsides they are getting caught in offsides position more than three times per game. Florida State is on pace to shatter the record for the most offsides in a season, which is 67 and was set by the 2001 and 2003 teams. The biggest discrepancy between offsides came in 2001 when FSU held a 6:1 edge but this season's discrepancy is double that amount.
SHUT IT DOWN
With FSU's 2-0 shutout over USF earlier this week, the Tribe recorder their fifth shutout in 11 games. Only one team in FSU history has ever recorded more shutouts through 11 games and that was the 1996 squad who recorded six in the first 11 games. The record for shutouts in a season is nine and was set last season by the 2003 team. With just one more clean sheet, the 2004 Seminoles will be tied for the third-most shutouts in a single season at six. The Tribe should have a chance at the shutout record considering of the seven teams left on the regular season schedule, FSU shutout four of those squads the last time they played.
R TO THE MCD
Rachel McDowell's first goal of the season really could not have come at a better time for FSU. Her 27th minute goal versus USF was a game-winner, the first of her career. The goal was just the second of McDowell's career and the first regular season goal of her career. Her lone goal coming into the 2004 season came against Dartmouth in the opening round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. McDowell played all 90 minutes in the win against USF and that was crucial since Baker is still searching for the right combination in the midfield especially with Camie Bybee's injury. This season four different players have started out wide on the left side of FSU's midfield, three different players have started in the attacking spot vacated when Bybee was injured and two different players have started out wide on the right. McDowell's success could be a key for the Seminole midfield, which is searching for stability.
Jez Ratliff will leave FSU as one of the most consistent goal scores and point producers in school history. The senior is just one point away from becoming only the second FSU player ever to record double-digit points in all four of her seasons at FSU. She is also just the fifth Seminole ever to record 20 goals in her career. Jez started the 2004 season with four goals in the first six games but has yet to find the back of the net since. That isn't uncommon for Ratliff since 12 of her 20 career goals have come in the first 21 games of a season meaning she scored her other eight goals in 58 other career appearances. This season she scored four times in the first six games. In 2003 she recorded three of her five goals in the first five matches. In 2002 two of her six goals came in the first three games and in her freshman year she scored four of her five goals in the season's first six matches. That doesn't mean Jez hasn't scored some big goals late in the season as well. You just need to look at her goal in the Elite Eight versus Florida last year to see that.
Not only has the Seminole defense got off to the best start in team history as far as allowing goals, but they also helped out on the offensive end in the 2-0 win over USF. Defender Katie Beal scored one of the two goals and fellow back liners Teresa Rivera and Kelly Rowland each contributed with an assist. FSU defenders have accounted for 14 of FSU's 60 points in 2004, almost 25% of the team's goal scoring production and only eight points behind the offensive production of the FSU frontrunners. Kelly Rowland leads the team with six assists and is third on the squad with eight points.
STABILITY IN THE BACKOne off the reasons FSU is having so much success defensively is due to the team's stability in the back. Six players have started all 11 games this season and three of those players are defenders. The back five, including keeper Joy McKenzie, has started a combined 53 of a possible 55 games. If you go back to 2003 the back five, consisting of Joy McKenzie, Katie Beal, Marion Cagle, Teresa Rivera and Kelly Rowland, have combined to make 163 starts in 185 opportunities. That cohesion is a big reason the FSU defense is excelling in 2004.