Aug. 27, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
After never being nationally ranked before the 2000 season and never appearing in a preseason poll, the 12th-ranked Seminole soccer team is now ranked in all four preseason polls after Soccer America and SoccerTimes.com included FSU in its polls late last week. Florida State equaled its highest-ever ranking when it was ranked No. 12 by Soccer America and also appeared at No. 18 in the SoccerTimes.com coach’s poll.
“We are obviously excited,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “It is amazing how much can change in a year and it’s just nice to have your players and program recognized after a successful season. We were hardly considered a player on the national scene before last season and we have to remember this is based on what we did last year. Our goal is to still be there when all 19 regular season games have been played.”
The Seminoles are coming off of a season that saw the team defeat defending national champion North Carolina, down arch-rival and 1998 national champion Florida twice and tie or break 33 team and individual records on its way to the Sweet 16 of the 2000 NCAA Tournament. Florida State finished the season ranked in the top 15 for the first time ever and was just two years removed from a 7-11-3 season in 1998.
“This is a total turnaround for us,” said four-year senior co-captain Christy Peacock. “When I first got here we were nobody’s and people didn’t even know we had a soccer program at Florida State. Now we are somebody’s and people know about FSU soccer and we are receiving national attention, it’s just amazing.”
Before FSU’s remarkable run in 2000, the closest the Seminoles ever came to a national ranking was in 1996 when they received votes in all four polls after downing No. 10 Clemson 1-0. Florida State did make an appearance in the regional rankings during Baker’s first season in Tallahassee as the Seminoles spent four weeks as the No. 10 team in the Southeast region.
“Being ranked in all four polls is an honor for us and I guess if you averaged all the polls together we would end up just inside the top 15,” said Baker. “For us that is just huge. It is amazing to think of where we have come from in 1999 to where we are today and it is a credit to our players. Those players that came here with a vision to turn this program around and that freshmen class last year that took a leap of faith, those are the people who deserve to reap some of this national attention.”
The Seminoles will get their first opportunity to defend their national rankings at the Seminole Soccer Tournament this weekend when they open the 2001 campaign against George Mason and Loyola (Md). The Seminoles and Patriots open their respective seasons at 7:00 p.m. at the Seminole Soccer Complex Friday night. Florida State then faces Loyola (Md) at 2:00 p.m. Sunday also at the Seminole Soccer Complex. The University of Miami and Loyola (Md) open the tournament at 4:00 p.m. Friday. All games at the Seminole Soccer Complex are free.