The USF women’s soccer team had its chances Tuesday night to upset the 12th-ranked team in the nation, but fell just short to FSU 1-0.
Traditionally, the Florida State match has always been a tight one for USF, as three out of the last four had finished with one-goal victories for FSU and the other finished in a 1-1 tie.
Tuesday night, Bulls’ goalie Valerie Wetzel did everything she could to make sure the match stayed close, finishing with 16 saves on 27 Seminole shots, allowing just one goal.
“As soon as I saw they were changing their keeper to Wetzel (from freshmen Breck Bankester) I knew we were in for it because she had an absolute blinder against us last year when it took us 109 minutes to pull out a win,” said FSU coach Patrick Baker.
In reference to the rivalry, Baker added, “I know Logan’s (USF coach Logan Fleck) young, but we start five freshmen, and only one of them is from Florida. There’s a little bit of a learning curve we experienced tonight.”
Bulls’ freshman forward Rachel Thjomoe also felt the rivalry for the first time, “We talked about it in the locker room, and you could just feel the electricity when you got out there on the field that it was gonna be a fun game,” Thjomoe said.
The fun started in the first couple of minutes, when ‘Noles freshman forward Camie Bybee blew an open-net shot from three yards out in the fourth minute.
“I turned to the bench and told the ladies … there’s a full moon out tonight, and FSU’s scared,” Fleck said immediately after the missed opportunity.
The ‘Noles went on to take 10 more shots with six corner kicks, failing to capitalize on their opportunities in the first half.”Our little dome thing we put out there, which kind of resembles Seth Greenberg’s head, really allowed ample time for our keeper (Wetzel) to make adjustments, and forced them to take their shots from far away,” said Fleck when asked about the defense he employed for the evening.
FSU finally broke through the shining defense in the 62nd minute as junior forward Cindy Schofield looped the ball over Wetzel’s head as she charged out to the 18 yard-line.The assist went to freshman Katie Beal for her first point on the season and it was Schofield’s fifth goal of the year.
“We scored the game winner this weekend against Louisville the same way,” said Baker about the goal.
Fleck was pleased with the efforts of defenders Stacci Sastre and Jamie Anderson, as well as midfielder Christina Koester, all of whom played the entire 90 minutes.
The Bulls’ rally effort was hindered by the red card given to junior midfielder Erin Sharpe with seven minutes to play, which forced them to play one short.
“I was not disappointed with our play; individually we worked our tails off,” said Fleck. “But to play in this (South) region you can’t be satisfied with a good try.”