July 19, 2001
The 2000-01 Florida State athletic season gave Seminoles fans many reasons to celebrate. The football team played in its fourth national championship game in the last five years while the baseball Seminoles were just one game away from advancing to the College World Series, but it was the emergence of the Seminole women’s programs that have led many to dub this athletic season as the “Year of the Seminole Woman.” Four Florida State coaches earned Coach of the Year honors while a number of athletes received recognition for individual excellence. Seven women’s teams went on to postseason play while each program achieved winning records.
Perhaps the 2000 Seminole soccer season was a glimpse of what was in store for the Florida State women’s programs this year. The success that Head Coach Patrick Baker and his `Noles enjoyed seemed to set a precedent for the other programs to follow. The Seminoles completed the most successful season in the program’s six years and one of the biggest turnarounds in Florida State athletics history when they advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in November. The FSU soccer team opened the season with a thrilling win over rival-Florida and went on to break or tie 14 individual records and 19 team records during the march to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Baker, who led the Tribe to a 14-8-2 record, was named the Southeast Region Coach of the Year and was runner up for national coach of the year as well. Freshman standout Emma Breland was named a third team All-American, the Southeast Region Freshman of the Year and a first team All-ACC selection.
The Florida State women’s volleyball team and head coach Cecile Reynaud returned to glory this season as the Seminoles achieved a 21-win season that was highlighted by Reynaud’s 600th career victory. Junior Norisha Campbell, who led the conference in hitting percentage for much of the year, was named first-team All-ACC while senior Jennifer Werrick earned All-ACC second team honors. Campbell was also named to the AVCA East-Region team after hitting .351 for the season with 431 kills. Jennifer Anderson, the Seminoles starting setter in her freshman season, was named to the ACC All-Freshman team. The most impressive accolade of the year went to Reynaud who, after coaching her way to her 618th career win, was named ACC Coach of the Year, marking the second time in Reynaud’s storied career that she has captured this prestigious honor.
Under the direction of first-year coach Bob Braman, the Florida State women’s cross country team earned four top five finishes over the season, the highest of which was a victory at the Florida Intercollegiate Championships. Those finishes were good enough to earn the Lady Seminoles a number two ranking in the South NCAA Region — their highest ranking ever. Freshman Amy Pleckaitis had an outstanding season, including a personal record of 17:35 over the 5K course which placed her in the top 10 all-time for the Seminoles. Pleckaitis led the women in five consecutive races before falling ill at the NCAA South Region Championships. That streak included two invitational wins and an All-ACC honor marking the first time any FSU harrier has earned that honor. Fellow Seminoles junior Brooke Bastien and sophomore Katie Jeffrey earned NCAA All-South Region Honors at the South District Championships. The team finished fifth overall, the highest finish ever for a Lady Seminole team in the South Region.
Women’s Basketball enjoyed its finest season in a decade and ended the year with a No. 25 national ranking. The Seminoles finished the year with a 19-12 record and made their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1990-91. Picked to finish eighth in the ACC preseason poll, the Tribe was the surprise of the conference, finishing in a third-place tie with a 9-7 league mark. It was Florida State’s first winning season since 1991-92 as well as the school’s best league finish since joining the ACC 10 seasons ago. Perhaps the most notable of many highlights during the season was when FSU defeated then No.4-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, making the Seminoles the only team in the nation to defeat the Blue Devils on their home court in 2000-01. The Seminoles also recorded their first-ever win over Virginia and they did it twice – once in the regular-season and once in the ACC Tournament. FSU earned its highest-ever seed in the ACC Tourney at No. 4 and advanced to the tournament’s semifinals for the first time. In her fourth season at FSU, Head Coach Sue Semrau was named the ACC Coach of the Year while senior Brooke Wyckoff earned All-ACC first team honors and senior Levys Torres and junior April Traylor earned All-ACC third team honors. The Seminoles received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and traveled to Ames, Iowa where they recorded their first ever NCAA tournament road win with a 72-70 victory over Tulane.
The Florida State women’s swimming and diving team finished the season 8-5 and earned a fifth-place finish at the ACC Championships. Freshman diver Chelsie Lerew had a remarkable showing at her first ACC Championships, sweeping the diving competitions in both the one-meter and three-meter dives. With her outstanding performance, Lerew was honored with the Most Valuable Diver Award at this year’s ACC Championships. Two individuals who had an exceptional year for the `Noles represented the women’s swimming and diving team at the NCAA Championships. Christy Cech competed in the 50, 100 and 200 Freestyle events while Keryn Krynauw swam in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke. Cech, a junior from South Africa, earned All-America honors and set a new school record in the women’s 50-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships in East Meadow, New York. She broke the school record with a time of 22:54 in the preliminary heat before swimming to a fourth place finish with a 22:58 in the final.
The Florida State women’s tennis team made its sixth straight postseason appearance in 2001. The Seminoles finished the season ranked No. 37 by the ITA and finished the season with a 14-11 record and placed 4th in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Individually, Alida Gallovits, Florida State’s No. 1 player, competed at the NCAA individual singles championship. Gallovits finished her junior campaign with 25 singles victories, the most on the FSU women’s tennis team in 2000-01. She was the Golden `Nole Award winner as the team MVP and was named to the All-ACC team for the third consecutive year.
The Florida State women’s golf team participated in the NCAA East Regional, finished third at the ACC Championship and earned four top 10 finishes (in five events) during the 2001 spring season. The Seminoles’ participation in the NCAA East Regional marked the eighth time since 1990 that head coach Debbie Dillman has guided the team into postseason play. In addition, the Seminoles’ third place finish in the ACC Championship marked the third best finish in the conference championship since Florida State joined the league in 1992.
The Florida State women’s track team followed a season in which they took home their first ever ACC Outdoor Championship with continued success. The Lady Seminoles finished third in this year’s ACC Championships, led by All-ACC performers Laura Gerber, Teressa Bundy and Makiba Batten. Gerber saw the most success of the trio, as the junior from Geneva, Switzerland made an appearance in both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships in the 800m run, and raced her way to NCAA All-America status in the indoor season with her third-place finish. Gerber was joined in the outdoor NCAA’s by teammate and All-ACC discus thrower, Makiba Batten.
The Seminole softball program enjoyed one of its finest seasons in recent years. The 2001 season marked the 14th time FSU has advanced to the NCAA Tournament since 1986 and the Seminoles came within one strike of making their sixth College World Series appearance, falling 3-2 to Cal in the 10th inning of the Tallahassee Regional. Florida State enjoyed another 50+ win season – the program’s 13th since 1979 – as the Seminoles posted a 58-12 record. FSU’s 58 wins was the program’s most since the 1995 season. The 2001 Seminoles had an impressive blend of solid hitting, pitching and speed. Led by sophomore Brandi Stuart’s .361 batting average, the Seminoles had six players hit over .300 for the year, ranked 10th in the NCAA in hitting and came very close to the FSU single-season home run mark with 21 blasts on the year. The `Noles set a new single-season record for doubles with 93. In all, the Seminoles outscored their opponents 321-75. On the mound, the FSU pitching staff, which ranked first nationally in ERA, combined for 33 shutouts and a 0.71 ERA. On the base paths, FSU recorded 102 stolen bases while holding its opponents to just 29 for the year. Florida State swept the ACC honors as Head Coach Dr. JoAnne Graf earned her fifth ACC Coach of the Year honor while junior pitching ace Leslie Malerich was named the Player of the Year and Jessica van der Linden earned Rookie of the Year accolades. Malerich became Florida State’s 19th All-American when she was selected a Louisville Slugger third team All-American. She and Stuart also earned second team Easton All-American honors. In late June, the softball coaching staff was named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Southeast Region staff of the year.
In the 2000-01 Sear’s Director’s Cup standings, the Florida State athletics program, as a whole, jumped 11 spaces from a season ago, going from a ranking of 46 in 1999-00 to 35 this year. The FSU women’s programs were instrumental in that improvement as they accounted for 60 percent of the scoring. Six of the nine Seminole programs earning points were women’s sports.
So, it’s easy to see that the women’s programs at Florida State are on the rise, giving Seminole fans even more to cheer about!