August 21, 2013 - by
2013 Seminole Soccer Season Preview

Aug 21, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 2013 Florida State soccer season will get underway on Friday, August 23 when the Seminoles host Oregon State at 7:00 p.m. inside the Seminole Soccer Complex. Before Friday’s season opener, previews the 2013 season taking a look at each position, this year’s schedule and things to watch for throughout the year.

General Outlook
The Florida State soccer program enters its 19th season as a varsity sport in 2013 posting an all-time record of 257-129-30. The Seminoles have registered a mark of 38-12-2 in 13 trips to the NCAA Tournament good for a .750 winning percentage. FSU sits with the third highest winning percentage and eighth most wins all-time in NCAA Tournament history.

The Seminoles return six starters and 12 letterwinners from last year’s squad that advanced to their second straight College Cup and sixth semifinal appearance in the last 10 years, claimed the outright ACC regular season title for the first time in school history and finished the season ranked No. 4 in the nation.

With six College Cup appearances since 2003, Florida State is one of only three programs in the nation to play in soccer’s version of the `Final Four’ six times in the last 10 years. Since 2000, the Seminoles have made 13 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, played in 11 `Sweet 16’s’ and advanced to the quarterfinal round eight years in a row – the longest active streak in the nation.

FSU returns three of its top four leading scorers from last year in Dagny Brynjarsdottir (27 points), Kristin Grubka (16 points) and Jamia Fields (14 points). Tiffany McCarty, who graduated with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree following the 2012 season, left Florida State as the Seminoles’ all-time career leader in 14 different offensive categories.

The Seminoles welcome seven newcomers to Tallahassee in 2013. Six of the seven student-athletes arrive as freshmen including three who enrolled at FSU back in the spring of 2013 (Anna McClung, Cassie Miller and Ani Sarkisian). Megan Campbell is the lone international standout of the group hailing from Louth, Ireland. A transfer from the Institute of Technology Carlow, Campbell has two years of eligibility remaining.

Mark Krikorian embarks on his ninth year as head coach of the Florida State soccer program amassing a record of 146-39-14. Krikorian has led the Seminoles to five College Cup appearances (2005-07, 2011 and 2012) and a berth in their first national title game in 2007. He led Florida State to a share of the ACC regular season title in 2009 before winning it outright in 2012. Krikorian also guided the Seminoles to their first league championship in 2011.

Krikorian on the upcoming season:
“The goal here at Florida State never changes. Every year you want to give yourself an opportunity to compete at the highest level. We certainly lost some very good players but every team in the country is graduating good players. Some people may use that as an excuse, but the way I see it, we are a good program with good players. The expectation is to come out, compete and do the best we can. At the end of the day, if we are not good enough then we are not good enough and we will work to continue to get better. But teams go through this transition every year. Our kids need to go out there and perform, we as coaches need to prepare them adequately so they can perform and compete at the highest level. The hope is that we get better every time out.”

Leadership & Experience
Despite small in number, this year’s senior class packs a mighty punch in the return of two three-year starters in Kassey Kallman and Kelsey Wys. Both have played an integral role in the success of the Seminole defense over the last three years and will be looked upon to provide leadership and guidance to a very young Florida State squad in 2013.

Kallman has been named team captain for the second year in a row. The Woodbury, Minn., native enters her senior season with 66 career starts and 22 points on eight goals and six assists. She has been a fixture in the Seminole backline since 2010 and has gained valuable international experience along the way as a member of both the U-20 and U-23 U.S. Women’s National Teams.

Of the 12 letterwinners returning for the Seminoles in 2013, 11 have recorded at least one career start. Six have started at least 15 games including Wys (68), Kallman (66), Dagny Brynjarsdottir (37), Kristin Grubka (36), Jamia Fields (34) and Isabella Schmid (19).

Seven student-athletes were named to the ACC All-Academic Team in 2012 raising the total to 28 players honored since 2009 – the second most in the league during that span. Kallman capped off the year earning second team Academic All-America honors from Capital One/CoSIDA while claiming second team Scholar All-America accolades from the NSCAA. Seventeen Seminoles went on to earn ACC Academic Honor Roll accolades during the 2012-13 school year maintaining a 3.0 overall GPA as well as earning a 3.0 GPA each semester. Jessica Price, who graduated with her masters’ degree following the fall 2012 semester, became the first Seminole to be named a six-time selection to the ACC Academic Honor Roll.

Krikorian on the leadership and overall experience of this year’s team:
Kelsey Wys is a silent leader. She goes out and does all the right things. She will have a chat with a kid if it’s needed but for the most part she is just a great role model for the others. Kassey on the other hand is a vocal leader. She is not shy about holding players accountable and making sure that the goals of the team are placed well above the goals of each individual. Kassey is all about hard work and accountability and as this year’s captain she is as good of a leader as we have had here at Florida State. Neither one of them wants to lose; they want to get back to the College Cup and compete for a national championship.”

The Goalkeeping
For the second year in a row, Florida State will carry two goalkeepers on its roster in senior Kelsey Wys and freshman Cassie Miller. Both are highly touted and have earned a great deal of experience participating as members of several U.S. Youth National Teams.

Wys returns for her final season at Florida State as the all-time career record holder in nine different categories including overall wins (51), shutouts (30) and starts (68). The Coral Springs, Fla., native is coming off a junior year that saw her post single-season career bests in wins (19), GAA (0.70) and fewest goals allowed (15). She led the ACC in shutouts (10) and save percentage (.830) while ranking nationally in GAA (31st) and minutes played (32nd). Wys went on to make school history following the 2012 campaign becoming the first goalkeeper in program history to earn All-America accolades as she was named a third team honoree by the NSCAA.

Miller was one of three incoming freshmen who arrived on campus in January of 2013 enrolling at Florida State for the spring semester. The Arizona native got a good feel for the college game during the Seminoles’ spring exhibition schedule but also gained valuable experience with the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team as she was called into camp twice in 2013. Miller is a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American.

Krikorian on the goalkeepers:
“We felt last year with Kelsey and Taylor (Vancil) that goalkeeping was a big strength for us and that feeling is the same this year. We have two players that are national team caliber goalkeepers. Both individuals play at a very high level and will have an opportunity to continue to anchor our defense. Kelsey has proven over the course of her career that she is one of the top goalkeepers in the country, while maintaining a level of excellence during her time at Florida State. Cassie is a young player that has all the talent in the world. As she continues to grow and learn the college game, Cassie will also develop into a top level goalkeeper.”

The Defense
Despite the loss of Ines Jaurena and Casey Short on the backline, defending should once again be a strong suit for the Seminoles in 2013 thanks in large part to the return of both center backs in Kristin Grubka and Kassey Kallman. Last year, Florida State set school records for shutouts in a season (17), goals against average (0.62) and fewest goals allowed in ACC play (4), while tying the program record for the fewest goals allowed in a season with 15.

The Seminole defense finished the 2012 season ranked in the top 40 nationally in shutout percentage (2nd – 0.708), GAA (12th – 0.619) and save percentage (36th – 0.839). Opponents had a hard time finding the back of the net against Florida State a year ago as the Garnet and Gold strung together a school record nine consecutive shutouts including eight straight in ACC play, while posting a consecutive minute shutout streak that lasted a school record 934:09.

Florida State also had a great deal of success in one-goal games in 2012 posting a record of 12-3 as 11 of those 15 matches resulted in a 1-0 decision with the Seminoles winning 10 of those matches. It marked the most 1-0 victories for the Seminoles in a single-season.

While the verdict is still out on who will replace Jaurena and Short on the ends, the Seminoles will look to the triangle of Wys, Grubka and Kallman to lead the defensive effort in 2013.

Krikorian on the defense:
“Certainly there is a great sense of security in having two center backs return to the team in 2013. The triangle with Kelsey, Kassey and Kristin is very strong; they are very effective playing as a unit. Having the experience of Casey Short and Ines Jaurena helped the backline last year but my hope is that the experience of both Kallman and Grubka will assist in the learning process of the new players that will play next to them in the backline this year. As the season goes along, the backline could once again become a big strength for us.”

The Midfield
The midfield will provide the most depth for Florida State entering the 2013 season with eight players returning from last year’s College Cup squad that combined to play in 149 games making 67 starts. Those eight players also accounted for 39.9 percent of FSU’s scoring in 2012 combining for 69 points on 20 goals and 29 assists.

Dagny Brynjarsdottir is coming off a breakout sophomore season in which she posted single-season career-highs in every offensive category including goals (9), assists (9), points (27), shots (40), game-winning goals (5) and game-winning assists (2). The Icelandic native also had a productive summer as a member of the Full National Team at the 2013 Euro Women’s Championship as her game-winning goal against the Netherlands in pool play led Iceland into the quarterfinals of the championship for the first time ever.

Jamia Fields has caused havoc for opponents on the outside with her quickness and ability to create scoring chances especially during ACC play. In her first two years, Fields has registered 14 assists including six of the game-winning variety. She has already racked up eight career assists against league opponents which are tied for the fourth most against ACC foes in Florida State history.

Marta Bakowska-Mathews, Kahlia Hogg, Nora Kervroëdan, Hikaru Murakami, Carson Pickett and Isabella Schmid all played valuable minutes in the midfield for the Seminoles last year and were major contributors to FSU’s run to a second straight College Cup appearance. Look for this group along with an infusion of newcomers to see continued action on the pitch for the Seminoles in 2013.

Krikorian on the midfield:
“We have some experienced and talented players returning, but the players coming in are going to have to lift their performance a little more. But with that said, we have a number of kids that have some big time experience. I feel that the quality in the midfield will be very good, but it always takes longer to mesh all these pieces together with the possession style attack that we play. So when you look at the players we lost from last year, there are some gaps to fill and there are some question marks that we are going to have to address. The precision and the play are going to take some time. But at some point this year, we are going to be very nice to watch. I just hope it’s earlier rather than later.”

The Attack
Of all the positions on the field, the Seminole attack was the hardest hit by graduation as the Seminoles lost two of their top scorers of all time in Tiffany McCarty and Jessica Price. The Seminole duo combined for 235 career points tallying 88 goals and 59 assists. McCarty departed Florida State holding 14 offensive records including the career leader in points (150), goals (63), game-winning goals (14), multi-goal games (13) and shots (283). Price finished her career as the Seminoles’ all-time leader in assists (35) and game-winning assists (12).

Florida State returns 53.2 percent (92 of the 173 points) of its total scoring from last year including three student-athletes who registered double-digit points. Dagny Brynjarsdottir is FSU’s top returning scorer after tallying 27 points on nine goals and nine assists a season ago. Five Seminoles return after posting five or more assists last year including Brynjarsdottir, Jamia Fields (8), Kristin Grubka (6) and Carson Pickett (5).

Last year, the Seminoles finished the season with 173 points on 55 goals and 63 assists. It marked the fifth highest scoring campaign in the Mark Krikorian era and the sixth most points in program history. The four most productive offensive seasons have come under the watchful eye of Krikorian (2007 – 233 points; 2009 – 204 points; 2008 – 194 points; 2005 – 188 points). Since 2007, the Seminoles are averaging over 61 goals and 62 assists a season.

Nineteen different Seminoles contributed with at least one point in 2012, while 16 Seminoles scored at least one goal. Six players finished the season with double-digit points with three returning for the 2013 season.

Krikorian on the attack:
“We certainly have some talented kids that will play this position in 2013. But the level of consistency that Tiffany McCarty brought over her four years was fantastic. She averaged more than 15 goals a season; that is not easy to do with the schedule that we play. Her production rate was just magnificent. Now that Tiff is gone, where are her goals going to come from in 2013? As soon as we can figure that out and make sure that we are going to put the ball in the back of the net, we will probably be able to answer a lot of the questions that we have. With all the talent on this year’s roster, I fully expect us to score goals in a lot of different ways. Tiff was a proven scorer at the highest level in college soccer, but now it’s a matter of others stepping forward and taking over that responsibility.”

The Newcomers
Florida State adds seven new players in 2013 including six freshmen and one transfer. Three student-athletes joined the Seminoles a semester early enrolling during the spring 2013 semester, while this year’s class includes only one international player in Megan Campbell from Ireland.

Anna McClung, Cassie Miller and Ani Sarkisian got an early start to their collegiate career arriving on campus in January enrolling at Florida State for the spring semester. The Seminole trio took part in off-season conditioning while collecting valuable minutes on the pitch during the spring season.

Campbell is the lone transfer in this year’s crop of newcomers. A member of the Irish Full National Team, Campbell attended the Institute of Technology Carlow in Carlow, Ireland.

The remaining members of FSU’s crop of newcomers including Nickolette Driesse (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills HS), Yulie Lopez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) and Marlo Sweatman (Herndon, Va./Flint Hill HS).

Krikorian on the newcomers:
With the graduation losses that we had there are some new players that are going to have to come in and help us right away. There has been some significant improvement in the play of last year’s freshmen and even last year’s sophomores. Between the newcomers and the players that have been growing in the program, I think we are going to be fine but now it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together and finding the best combination of players to start the season.”

Krikorian on the advantage of beginning school a semester early:
“It is a big advantage from a lot of perspectives. They all did very well academically and they all have acclimated into the soccer and university culture seamlessly. I think their performance on the field in game situations will be enhanced by the fact they were here (a semester early). Each of them was getting used to the level and speed of the game. My expectation for them is quite high and my hope is that the time they spent here during the spring will benefit them when it comes to the on-the-field performance this fall.”

Thirteen teams on the 2013 schedule recorded 10 or more wins a season ago. Twelve schools earned a bid to participate in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, while five of those teams played into the third round. This year’s opponents posted a combined record of 230-139-41 in 2012 good for a .611 winning percentage.

FSU will play 12 of its 19 regular season matches this fall inside the Seminole Soccer Complex, a venue that has proven to be a difficult place to play for opposing teams. Last year, the Seminoles finished with a perfect 14-0-0 record at home and are 86-8-3 all-time at home under Krikorian. Following a win over Notre Dame in the 2012 NCAA Quarterfinals, Florida State tied the school record for the longest home win streak at 18 – a streak that will be put on the line when the Noles open the 2013 campaign against Oregon State on August 23.

Florida State moves to a 13-game ACC schedule in 2013 with the additions of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the league. The Seminoles will play seven home matches and six on the road all leading up to the ACC Tournament first round matches which will be held on the campus of the higher seeded teams on Sunday, November 3.

Krikorian on the schedule:
“I’m not sure any of the teams that we have on the schedule have not been regulars in the NCAA Tournament over the course of the last five years. And with a young team, there is some growth that is going to occur. We always look at the big picture; we are not going to be bothered about any one game. Our goal is to continue to progress through the course of the season. Where we start is not nearly as important to me as where we end. If there is a bump in the road then so be it, we will learn from it, work to get better and move on to the next game. We have enough talent; everyone is putting in the work to establish ourselves early and to be a good team from the start. Our schedule will be challenging, there is no question about it.”

Krikorian on the home crowd and environment inside the Seminole Soccer Complex:
“Our crowd has been just fantastic over the years. It is nice to go out and play in front of a crowd that is so supportive. We have a beautiful field and our kids are very comfortable playing at home. We do feel we have a home field edge and we do all we can to take advantage of that every year. Hopefully we can continue that trend this season.”


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