August 9, 2004 - by
ACC Coaches Pick Florida State Second In Preseason Soccer Poll

Aug. 9, 2004

Tallahassee, FL – It is safe to say that expectations for the 2004 Florida State soccer team are as high as ever. With 10 starters returning from the team that took on Connecticut in the national semifinals last year, FSU was tabbed second in the preseason ACC soccer coaches’ poll Monday. This is the highest preseason ranking ever for Florida State from the coaches and it comes on the heels of FSU’s appearance in the College Cup and the 2003 ACC Championship finals.

           


 “I am honored that the ACC coaches feel that way about the potential of this team,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “It is a preseason poll so we have to remember that but we are excited about the possibilities for this team.”


           


Florida State was tabbed third in the 2003 coaches’ poll but exceeded those expectations by not only finishing second in the regular season standings but also playing for the conference championship in the ACC Tournament finals. It was the second time in three years that the Tribe played for the conference crown. Since Baker took over the program in 1999 he has continually strived to improve FSU’s standing within the nation’s top soccer conference. After never finishing above .500 in the program’s first five seasons, the team has finished at .500 or above for three straight years.


           


 “In 2000, we had a breakout season but it was mainly outside of the conference,” said Baker. “We played a number of ACC teams close but we really hadn’t made strides within the conference. Part of that was because of how tough it is to win games in the ACC. That is something we have put a premium on in our program. Finishing in the upper half of the ACC so we can get a good placement in the conference tournament. We have been fortunate enough to do that the last few years and as a result we have played for the ACC title two of the last three years. That is important to us. It shows we are headed in the right direction both during the season and in the postseason.”


          


Last season Baker’s Seminoles had their best conference season in school history. The Tribe posted a 4-2-1 record while allowing only five goals in ACC play. The Seminoles shutout four straight ACC opponents for the first time in school history and went over 532 minutes without allowing a goal to an ACC foe. Both of the Tribe’s losses came on the road and both were by just one goal. The Seminoles fell to eventual National Champion North Carolina 1-0 and at Virginia 3-2.


        


“We are looking to build on what we did last year,” said Baker. “The only room for improvement though means we have to finish first, which is something we are striving to do, not only in the regular season but also in the conference tournament. We played North Carolina as well as anyone in the country did last year. If we are able to max out at the ACC Tournament and at the NCAA Tournament we are going to have a very special season.”


          


Florida State enters 2004 with 10 starters returning from the team that played in the 2003 College Cup. The Seminoles return six players that were honored with All-American, all-region and All-ACC honors in 2003 on top of returning three of the top five all-time career goal scorers in program history.  Every member pf the FSU backline that started in the College Cup returns as well. The Tribe defense is coming off a season where it set records for both goals allowed and goals allowed in conference play. On top of the players returning, the Seminoles will also play 13 of their 18 games at home this season.


           


“We have a very talented group returning and a great freshman class coming in,” said Baker. “On paper it could be one of the most exciting seasons we’ve ever had here. We need to be healthy. We need to stay fit and play a good brand of soccer. If all those things come together, it could be a great year.”


          


Florida State will open three-a-day practices Wednesday morning. Just four days later they will be in Alabama to face UAB in a preseason scrimmage. The first time fans can catch the Tribe in action at home will be Friday, August 20 at 7:00 p.m. The Seminoles will host 2003 Sweet 16 team Tennessee in its final tune-up before the regular season.


 


Florida State opens the 2004 season by hosting the Nike Seminole Classic. The Tribe will play two top 25 teams as they open the season at 7:00 p.m. August 27 versus Arizona State. They then turnaround and play USC Sunday, August 29 at 1:00 p.m. For more information on the 2004 FSU soccer team and updates on three-a-days, please visit the official athletic site for Florida State at www.seminoles.com.



 


2004 Preseason ACC Women’s Soccer Poll


School Points 2003 Record


1. North Carolina (8) 98 27-0-0 (7-0-0)


2. Florida State 83 17-8-1 (4-2-1)


3. Virginia (1) 76 12-5-4 (3-3-1)


4. Clemson (1) 69 11-7-2 (4-3-0)


5. Duke 64 14-7-1 (4-3-0)


6. Maryland 47 11-8-2 (2-5-0)


7. Wake Forest 46 10-7-3 (1-4-2)


8. NC State 28 9-9-1 (1-6-0)


9. Virginia Tech 22 9-9-0 (2-4-0)*


10. Miami 17 9-9-1 (3-4-0)*


* denotes Big East conference record in 2003
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