Sept. 11, 2002
Boca Raton, Fla –
The 2002 FSU soccer team left Tallahassee Tuesday morning for Boca Raton, FL and a Wednesday evening meeting with the Miami Hurricanes (3-1-0). Within hours of landing, the Seminoles (1-1-2) were out on the practice field at Florida Atlantic in preparation for tonight’s match.
“For the first time in probably two weeks, we (the coaching staff) felt like we had a very good training session,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “Needless to say, after two long weekend games, a day off and a travel day; I felt we had to prepare well yesterday to be able to play well tonight versus Miami. I thought we had a very spirited and competitive training session, which was great to see. I thought the team walked away feeling much better about themselves.”
The Seminoles will try to parlay Tuesday’s positive training session into more offensive production when they take the pitch Wednesday night. After starting the season off with a 0-0 tie versus Oregon State, FSU has started to find its scoring touch once again. After a record-breaking offensive output in 2001, this year’s squad has scored five goals in its last three matches. The Tribe has also had success versus Miami the past two seasons, scoring three goals in the two meetings.
“Anytime you have some offensive success versus an opponent, you don’t forget that but they are playing a different defensive system now,” said Baker. “The last two years they played three in the back and this year they are playing with four in the back so there seems to be a more defensive emphasis. Based on the system itself, it may prevent us from getting some of the chances we were able to get the last couple of times.
“Their personnel has changed also along with getting a new coach. I think it is going to provide new challenges for us because I don’t know if we are going to get the same offensive opportunities.”
The Seminoles have won the last two meetings with UM, one in Tallahassee and one in Coral Gables, by identical 3-1 scores. Senior All-ACC first teamer Cindy Schofield recorded the first hat trick of her career versus UM last season and the Seminole defense held the Canes off of the scoreboard for 84 minutes.
“Five of the six goals we have scored against UM in the last two seasons have come in the second half,” said Baker. “Cindy Schofield’s hat trick came entirely in the second half in 2001. We haven’t found ways to pull out victories in the second half this year and we are still searching for our team identity.
The Hurricanes lost the first match of their 2002 season to Missouri at the Seminole Invitational this past Sunday. The Tigers 1-0 win marked the first time UM has been shutout in 2002 after scoring 13 goals in their first three games.
“I think Miami is very confident right now and after Sunday’s result, they probably feel that they could easily be undefeated at this point,” said Baker. “For us right now, I haven’t addressed all the things they do well because the emphasis has been on our team. Not only from a playing standpoint but also from a mental standpoint and with our confidence. Trying to get our players to believe we are a good team and ultimately play that way. We haven’t played like I know we are capable of playing for a full game and hopefully that is something we can accomplish in the near future.”
After facing Miami, Florida State will stay in South Florida and compete in the UM Soccer Tournament over the weekend. The Garnet and Gold will face Virginia Tech September 13 at 4:30 pm and Charlotte at 12:00 pm Sunday, September 15. For more information on FSU soccer, please visit www.seminoles.com.