Aug. 17, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
If the calendar reads August it must mean it is once again time for Florida State soccer to start establishing program firsts and records. After setting more than 130 records and firsts over the past two seasons, the Seminoles started compiling a new list for 2002 when they received their first-ever Top 10 preseason ranking Saturday. Florida State was tabbed the 10th-best team in the nation by SoccerBuzz, which is the highest ranking the school has ever received from the influential Internet magazine.
“It is great to be recognized in the preseason and to potentially be a high profile team,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “But there is so much soccer to be played between now and November and I just hope when it is all said and done we are somewhere in the Top 25 again.”
Last season, the Seminoles were ranked in every college soccer poll’s preseason Top 25 with the squad’s highest-ranking coming from Soccer America when FSU was tabbed 12th in the nation. The only other time FSU has been in the Top 10 of any poll came last season when the Tribe was ranked seventh in the CollegeSoccer.com media poll two games into the 2001 campaign. This season, Florida State finds itself ranked ahead of college soccer powers Clemson, UCLA, Washington, Texas A&M and Florida.
“It is great to be recognized in the preseason and to potentially be a high profile team. But there is so much soccer to be played between now and November and I just hope when it is all said and done we are somewhere in the Top 25 again.”
Head Coach Patrick Baker
The Seminoles also equaled their highest regional ranking by SoccerBuzz as they were named the second-best team in the Southeast region just behind North Carolina. This is the second-consecutive season FSU has been tabbed No. 2 in the region to start the year.
“A number of teams in the Southeast are always striving to get close to North Carolina,” said Baker. “We’ve always taken the view that if we are relatively close to them (UNC) that has to be a good thing because they are one of the most, if not the most, successful women’s soccer programs year-in and year-out. It is nice to see that people feel that way about us but with five of the Southeast’s Top 10 schools on our schedule, it will all work itself out.”
The Seminoles will play four teams who are nationally ranked in the 2002 SoccerBuzz preseason poll and half of the teams that are ranked in the Southeast region. The Garnet and Gold will face No. 2 North Carolina, No. 4 Virginia, No. 16 Clemson and No. 19 Florida. They will also face-off next week against No. 24 Georgia in a preseason scrimmage. The Seminoles will also play regionally ranked squads Miami, Duke, Charlotte and UCF.
“We feel like we play a number of the top team’s in the country within the ACC,” said Baker. “Also, within our region we feel it is very competitive. We have continually tried to get close to teams like UNC, Florida and Clemson because there is a phenomenal group of teams in our region. We all play one another and if we want to keep our ranking we’ll have to win those intra-regional games.”
The ACC, Pac-10 and WCC lead all conferences with four teams ranked amongst the Top 25. The ACC is the only conference to place three teams in the Top 10 and four teams within the Top 16. The BIG EAST and the SEC each placed three squads in the Top 25. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) will release its preseason poll next week as the start of the 2002 women’s soccer season rapidly approaches.