July 26, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
For the second year in-a-row, head coach Patrick Baker has signed a nationally ranked recruiting class according to SoccerBuzz. The Seminoles’ class, ranked eighth in the nation and second in the Southeast region, is the most highly rated class in the program’s history and is highlighted by the Gatorade Players of the Year from Maryland and Oklahoma, a 2001 Parade All-American, the runner-up for Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Oklahoma and one of the top players in the state of Florida.
“I am very excited,” said Baker. “It’s great to see that the hard work of our incoming freshman class and the hard work of our entire staff allowed us to garner such a highly-ranked recruiting class. We knew we needed help in certain areas from this year’s class and we feel we got that help in this group. I am also very excited by the opportunity that is in front of this class. This group of freshman has a fantastic chance to leave their mark on this program.”
In just two seasons, Baker has landed the Seminoles’ first-ever nationally ranked recruiting classes with the No. 13 class in 2000 and this year’s No. 8 class. His 2000 class was ranked third in the Southeast and the 2001 class is No. 2 in the region. After landing its first nationally ranked class in 2000, FSU went on to establish 23 more program firsts as the Seminoles advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
“We were able to move from third to second in the Southeast rankings and I do feel that we have the second-best class in the region,” said Baker. “The strength of our class up the middle of the field with Kerry York, Katie Beal and Camie Bybee is as good as anybody’s. With Jez Ratliff and Marion Cagle added to that group, I think this is a very exciting group. Any time you can be mentioned in the same breath as North Carolina, who had the No. 1 class in the Southeast, it is great since they are where we are aspiring to be.”
Florida State’s 2001 class is also rated the third-best class in the ACC behind Virginia (No. 1 in the nation) and North Carolina (No. 2 in the nation). The nation’s top soccer conference landed four of the top 12 recruiting classes in the country with Florida State and NC State (No. 12) joining UNC and UVa in the top 12 of the SoccerBuzz list.
“This is the second straight year we’ve had the `third best’ class in the ACC,” said Baker. “Last year we were 13th overall and sat behind North Carolina and Clemson. This year we are eighth and sit behind Virginia and UNC. We’ve always felt that if our recruiting class is in the top three or four in our region every year, we will have the opportunity to be successful in the regular season. In a powerful conference like the ACC, third is pretty good.”
After winning the unofficial state title in 2000 by posting a perfect 8-0 record against teams from Florida, including NCAA Tournament wins over Jacksonville and Florida, FSU took the state recruiting title for the second consecutive year. The Gators were the only other Florida school to finish in the Top 25 with UF landing the nation’s 18th-best class. The Miami Hurricanes’ recruiting class was ranked 29th in the SoccerBuzz poll.
“Florida is such a strong state in terms of soccer talent,” said Baker. “It is a huge feather in the program’s cap to have the best class in the state two years running and to see how far this program has come in a relatively short time. To have had the success on the field in 2000 against the Florida schools and to also be able to recruit and land the best players, I think shows the program is once again headed in the right direction this year.”
The 2001 FSU class features goalkeeper Kerry York and midfielder Camie Bybee whom captured Gatorade Player of the Year honors for their respective states and could fill two of FSU’s biggest needs due to the graduation of All-Southeast players Sarah Crawford and Rachael Watkin. York is one of the top keepers in the East and Bybee holds the state record for goals scored in a season in the state of Oklahoma with 38. Jez Ratliff, the runner-up for Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Oklahoma and the second leading goal scorer behind fellow FSU recruit Bybee, should come in and contribute immediately. Defender Katie Beal, a 2001 Parade All-American, and Tallahassee native Marion Cagle will help solidify a Seminole defense that is coming off the most successful season in the history of the program.
SoccerBuzz has been ranking NCAA women’s soccer recruiting classes since 1998 and is the only publication to devote itself solely to the coverage of collegiate women’s soccer.