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Seminoles give Gators early NCAA exit again

By DEBI JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 13, 2000


GAINESVILLE -- Florida State soccer coach Patrick Baker wrote something simple on the NCAA Tournament game program last year.

Hartford 1, Florida 0.

Baker, an on-field official for the Gators' second-round loss that ended their title defense, wrote the phrase down as a reminder that beating Florida at home would not be impossible.

While the score was different Sunday, the outcome was as he predicted. The Seminoles defeated the Gators 2-1 at Percy Beard Stadium in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

"I said FSU will be here in 2000 and the outcome may be the same," Baker said of his squad.

"I don't know why I wrote it, but I shared it with my team."

The Seminoles (14-7-2) advances to the final 16 in their first NCAA Tournament appearance.

For the second year in a row, Florida fell in its first tournament game after receiving a bye.

UF coach Becky Burleigh said the loss and the season were disappointing. The team's 16-8 record was Burleigh's worst in her six years with the Gators.

"All during the beginning of the season we kept saying, "We still have a tomorrow, we still have a tomorrow,' " Burleigh said.

"Today we face the fact that we don't have a tomorrow. We have to look toward the future."

The teams played a close match, both scoring in the first seven minutes.

Florida State got on the board with a 5-yard shot from midfielder Rachael Watkinin the fifth minute. Florida scored on a 6-yard shot from defender Robin Fulton during the sixth minute.

Forward Summer Corum scored the winner at the beginning of the second half on a 5-yard volley.

Close games are nothing new to the teams.

In the first game of the regular season, FSU defeated the Gators 3-2 on a last-minute score by forward April Murphy.

"Growing up in (state), Florida has always been the program and Florida State has always been in the shadow," Watkin said.

"This year I think we definitely have stepped out. Beating every team in the state of Florida definitely made us one of the best teams in the state."

FSU plays at Atlantic Coast Conference rival Clemson at 7 p.m. Friday in the third round.

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