The victory raised FSU's home unbeaten streak against non-conference teams to 19 games and the Tribe is also unbeaten in their last 11 games at the Seminole soccer complex dating back to the 2000 season.
"We are 18-2-1 at home now and we have not lost a non-conference game since the season-opener in 1999. I find that to be remarkable." said Baker. "We got tested this weekend and Missouri and LSU will test us again next weekend. Winning games at home does build confidence and we were blessed with another great crowd today and that is another factor. The crowd wills us to win here. They help us and in turn they like to come here and see us win games."
Super sophomores and Oklahoma natives Camie Bybee and Jez Ratliff each scored a goal and Ratliff also picked up a game-winning assist in the 61st-minute as FSU made it through the opening weekend undefeated. In two games at the Nike/FSU Invitational, the Tribe recorded 47 shots, 21 shots on goal, took 20 corners and forced the opposing keepers to make 16 saves as the ACC's second-leading offense in 2001 seemed to be picking up right where it left off.
"After Friday I wasn't really frustrated with not scoring because I felt we played well offensively," said head coach Patrick Baker. "Today I didn't think we were composed enough in the final third. We had some great chances to stick the ball in the back of the net and we just didn't show the type of composure we are accustom to showing in years past. That's going to come. If we keep creating chances they will eventually start to fall. We also faced two very good goalkeepers this weekend and I take my hat off to both of them."
Just like the opener versus Oregon State, FSU came out right away and attacked the Ducks with quality runs and created scoring opportunities. In the seventh minute, the Tribe had its first chance to take the lead as wide midfielder Summer Corum made a run down the right wing. The junior found forward Cindy Schofield inside the 18-yard box. The first team All-ACC selection beat a defender and then found Bybee with a pass in the center of the 18 but Bybee was unable to get the shot off.
Seminole fans didn't have to wait much longer for the first goal of the season as it came just moments after the first attack. Corum once again sent a great ball down the right side this time to Ratliff. Ratliff collected the pass and made a run to goal. The All-ACC rookie team member put a move on the keeper and then buried the shot at the far post. The goal, scored at 7:16, was the sixth of her career and the third she has scored in a game televised by the Sunshine Network.
"That one was easy to read because coach played us video in the locker-room before the game and showed how much Oregon plays back to the goalkeeper so when their defender got the ball, I just started hanging out in the back," said Ratliff. "Thankfully I was able to put it into the net. It felt great to finally get that first goal of the season. That always feels good. After Friday night we had so many chances in that 110 minutes, it was good to put one in the net.
"I can't explain scoring three goals in three games on Sunshine Network. I guess I like the cameras. Just kidding, I know my family was watching in Oklahoma and it is nice they could see me play."
Before the crowd could even finish celebrating the first goal of 2002, Oregon struck back. Just eight seconds after the Seminole goal, senior Sarah Denner got just the second goal of her career as she beat FSU keeper Kerry York to the side netting with a shot from just above the penalty kick mark.
After finding themselves in a tie game just eight seconds after moving into the lead, the Oklahoma connection of Ratliff and Bybee went to work again. In the 18th minute the two ran a give-and-go down the center of the pitch which freed Ratliff to go in one-on-one with the keeper. Oregon's Sarah Peters charged out to meet the Norman, OK native at the top of the 18 and slid feet first and got enough of the shot to knock it wide of the net.
In the 26th minute Ratliff once again almost gave the Tribe a 2-1 advantage as she used her pace to get behind the Oregon defense and get in 0ne-on-one with Peters. The senior net minder once again slide at Ratliff in an effort to save the shot but knocked it up into the air. Ratliff located the loose ball and blasted a header that bounced off the crossbar.
Florida State continued to apply pressure on the Oregon defense and Schofield almost got her first of the year only three minutes later when Peters made maybe her only mistake of the day. The keeper mis-hit a goal kick right to the senior and the Lakeland, FL native intercepted the kick and headed straight to goal. Her shot was once again saved by Peters sliding in feet first and just getting enough of a block to send it wide.
Freshman Leah Gallegos displayed a beautiful piece of individual brilliance in the 38th minute which just missed putting FSU in the lead. The Los Angeles, CA native beat three defenders about 12 yards from goal and fired a low liner that Peters was able to slide and knock out of bounds.
"We talked with our team after Friday night about making a move and beating the keeper when they keep sliding in at their feet," said Baker. "It paid off for Jez on her goal and later Cindy almost scored one like that also. That is something we will work on this week."
Florida State seemed to have the go-ahead goal in the 53rd minute when freshman Shannon Coe's summersault throw-in bounced inside the 18. Peters and Schofield both went after the 50-50 ball and collided as the ball rolled into the net. As the crowd celebrated, the referee waved the goal off due to goalie interference keeping the game tied at 1-1.
In the 61st minute the crowd would get a chance to cheer again as Ratliff helped put the Seminoles up for good as Bybee scored the fourth game-winning goal of her career. On a play similar to Schofield's just minutes before, Ratliff and Peters charged a 50-50 ball that the forward reached just seconds ahead of the keeper. The ball ricocheted to the right and on to the foot of a waiting Bybee who buried the shot.
"That was probably the easiest goal I'll ever score," said Bybee. "Jez took the ball away and I was just able to finish it up into an empty net."
Oregon had two more dangerous chances as they pushed forward looking for the equalizer. In the 68th minute, Denner almost got her second goal of the game as her deep shot caught York a step off the line and all-southeast region defender Kristin Boyce was able to clear the ball before it crossed the goal line.
Eleven minutes later, Valerie Mayer also nearly tied the match. The true freshman launched a dangerous shot from outside of the 18-yard box that caught the crossbar and was eventually cleared by the FSU defense.
In the 88th minute FSU threatened to put the game out of reach. Bybee made a perfect diagonal pass to a streaking Schofield. The ACC's leader in goals scored in 2001 dribbled around Peters but got so deep in the right corner of the box she was unable to sneak the shot in at the near post.
Once again the FSU defense and keeper York did the job as they have now allowed just one goal in 200 minutes of play. After registering the first opening day shutout in the history of the program Friday, the Tribe came back and once again shutdown an opposing attack. The team has now equaled the best defensive start in the history of the program by allowing just one goal through the first two games of the season. The only other time an FSU squad accomplished that was 1996.
Florida State returns to action Friday night at 7:00 p.m. in the second game of the 2002 Seminole Invitational. The Seminoles will play host to Missouri who opened the season with an overtime upset of No. 23 Illinois. The tournament kicks-off at 4:30 Friday when LSU and Miami face off. All regular season games played at the Seminole Soccer Complex are free. For more information on FSU soccer, please visit www.seminoles.com.