August 6, 2008 - by
FSU Soccer Opens Practice Wednesday

Aug. 6, 2008

Tallahassee, Fla. – The 2008 Florida State women’s soccer season officially opens on Wednesday, August 6 as the Seminoles look to build on the success of last year which included a berth in the national title game and the finest offensive output in school history. Twenty-three student-athletes, including eight newcomers, will take to the field on Wednesday under the direction of fourth year head coach Mark Krikorian.

Florida State returns eight of 11 starters and 13 of 20 letterwinners for the upcoming season. Included among the eight returning starters are all four of FSU’s starting backline. The quartet of Katrin Schmidt, Sarah Wagenfuhr, Becky Edwards and Erika Sutton guided the Seminoles to the second most shutouts (12) and the third lowest goals against average (0.94) in school history.

The Seminoles had a record breaking offensive season in 2007 setting the school record for points (233), goals (81) and assists (71). Despite the loss of MAC Hermann Trophy Winner Mami Yamaguchi, Florida State returns two of the top three leading scorers from last year including Sanna Talonen (42 points) and Amanda DaCosta (21 points). Both are coming off their freshman campaign while both were recognized as National Freshman of the Year by Soccer America and Soccer Buzz, respectively.

The Seminoles list just three seniors on the roster in 2008 marking the smallest senior class since 2003 and 2005 when Florida State listed two seniors on its roster. Ironically, in both those seasons FSU advanced to the College Cup. This year’s senior class includes Schmidt, Sutton and Wagenfuhr.

Florida State achieved yet another program first as the 2008 recruiting class, which features eight newcomers earned its highest ranking in school history. The Seminoles were recognized by Soccer Buzz with the nation’s number one recruiting class. This mark tops the number two ranking garnered by the 2007 class which welcomed 12 newcomers including three transfers. For the second year in a row, Florida State took the top spot in the Southeast Region.

“Once again, the foundation of our team is very strong,” explained Krikorian. “I am excited to see what is in store for this team with the players that are returning and the newcomers that will be joining us. This is the time of year that we all really enjoy as the players return to campus in preparation for the start of the upcoming season. This year we combined quite a bit of experience with some youth which I think is healthy for a team having players that will come in and challenge for playing time. The goal of course is to integrate the young players into the team and use the experience that the veteran players have earned over the course of time to help them along. If we can make that work for us then I feel we have a chance of being very successful.”

The Seminoles will get their first taste of live action when they square-off against Georgia in a preseason scrimmage at the Seminole Soccer Complex on Friday, August 15 at 2:00 pm. The quest for a fourth straight College Cup appearance begins a week later as the Seminoles play host to the UCF Knights at 7:00 pm in the season opener for both teams.

Here is a listing of the practice dates and times during the preseason:
Wednesday, August 6 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Thursday, August 7 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Friday, August 8 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Saturday, August 9 – Inter-squad Scrimmage: 2:00 pm
Monday, August 11 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Tuesday, August 12 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Wednesday, August 13 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Thursday, August 14 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Friday, August 15 – Exhibition Match vs. Georgia, 2:00 pm
Sunday, August 17 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Scrimmage: 7:00 pm
Tuesday, August 19 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Wednesday, August 20 – Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Thursday, August 21 – Morning Session: 10:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm

For a more inside look at this year’s Florida State women’s soccer team, presents the 2008 Season Outlook.

Preseason Picks
* For the third consecutive year, Florida State was the coaches’ pick to finish second in the ACC Preseason Poll as the Seminoles garnered two first-place votes for 102 points in 2008. The Seminoles have now been picked to finish in the top four of the ACC in six of the last seven seasons. It marks the fourth time in the program’s 14-year history that FSU has been slated to finish in second place.

The Attack
* The Garnet and Gold will look to build off last year’s high powered offense that set school records for points (233), goals (81), assists (71), shots on goal (202) and scoring margin (+2.04). It marked the first time in ACC history that a school other than North Carolina led the league in every major offensive category.

* Florida State returns 59.2% (138 of the 233 points) of its total scoring from last year as half of the top eight scorers in 2007 were freshmen. Sophomore forward Sanna Talonen, the 2007 Soccer America Freshman of the Year, is the top returning scorer for the Seminoles as she ranked second on the team with 42 points (18 goals, 6 assists).

* Talonen had an outstanding freshman campaign leading the team and the ACC with six game-winning goals including three in the NCAA Tournament. The mark tied for the second most in a single season at FSU. She finished in the top 10 in the ACC in points per game (2nd), goals per game (3rd) and shots per game (10th). Talonen went on to set the freshman school record for shots, points, goals and game-winning goals while finishing the year tied for third with three game-winning assists.

* The Seminoles will be without the services of 2007 MAC Hermann Trophy winner Mami Yamaguchi, who led the country in points (66), while finishing second in both goals (24) and assists (18). She finished the season as the only student-athlete in the nation to rank in the top 10 in points per game (2.44), goals per game (0.89) and assists per game (0.67). Yamaguchi finished the season setting FSU individual season records for points, goals, assists and multi-goal games (5).

* Florida State registered the highest scoring season in school history in 2007 posting 233 points on 81 goals and 71 assists. Seven of those eight seasons have occurred this decade, while the top two offensive outputs (2005 – 188 points; 2007 – 233 points) in school history have come under the direction of head coach Mark Krikorian. Over the last three years with Krikorian at the helm, the Seminoles are averaging just over 63 goals and 56 assists.

The Midfield
* Amanda DaCosta started all 27 games in the Seminole midfield and joined Erin McNulty as the only two freshmen to start every game at FSU in 2007. DaCosta ranked third on the team in points (21) tallying six goals and nine assists en route to being named Soccer Buzz National Freshman of the Year. She also earned second team All-America accolades from Soccer Buzz while grabbing a spot on the All-ACC second team and All-ACC freshman team.

* Along with DaCosta, Marissa Kazbour, Rachel Lim and Lauren Switzer played valuable minutes in the midfield for the Seminoles last year. All three individuals, playing in their first season in Tallahassee, appeared in a combined 74 games registering nine goals and nine assists. Kazbour, who closed out the season making 19 consecutive starts, earned her first career start against North Carolina.

* When comparing positions on this year’s roster, the midfield once again has tremendous depth with seven student-athletes listed to play at that position in 2007. Only two student-athletes are new to the team including a pair of high school PARADE All-Americans in Casey Short and Ella Stephan.

The Backline
* When it comes to experience look no further than the Seminole backline which returns four starters from last year. Headlining this year’s defensive unit are three seniors (Katrin Schmidt, Sarah Wagenfuhr and Erika Sutton) and one junior (Becky Edwards). Schmidt and Wagenfuhr are the only four-year starters on this year’s team while Sutton made 19 starts in the backline and 23 overall after transferring from San Diego State following her sophomore season in 2006.

* The Seminole defense allowed a goal or less in 18 of 27 games last year. FSU registered 12 shutouts, the second highest total in school history, including a school record three shutouts in the NCAA Tournament.

* Katrin Schmidt is the top returning assist leader as she closed out her junior campaign with a career-high 10 assists. She became the fifth Seminole in school history to record double-digit assists while her season assist total tied for third all-time in a single season at FSU. Schmidt also tied for the team lead with three game-winning assists. A defender has now led the Seminoles in assists the last two years as Becky Edwards led the squad in 2006 with eight.

* Erika Sutton led the backline in scoring a season ago with five goals and three assists. She enters the 2007 season as the third leading returning scorer. Sutton fired 32 shots and posted a .406 shots on goal percentage.

Krikorian on the attack, midfield and backline: “Our backline will once again be a strong point for us. I thought that the group did a very good job last year. Of course the first priority of any backline is defending and I thought that all of them did a very good job individually in that role but even more so collectively. Their communication is good, their position is good and their ability to read the play is good. Again, we look at that as being a strength for us heading into this year. We also have a good core of players back in the midfield and up front. Sanna (Talonen) certainly came on strong at the end of the year, scoring a lot of big goals for us down the stretch, particularly in the NCAA Tournament in which she carried us through some of those games. She had a very good summer playing in Vancouver (W-League) and with the national team back in Finland. We have high expectations for her in 2008 and believe she has proven herself to be a very good goal scorer. Now it’s a matter of finding the right pieces to make her as effective as she can be.”

* Florida State will be without the services of Freshman All-American Erin McNulty in 2008. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native will redshirt the upcoming season as she competes with the U-20 Canadian National Team in preparation for the U-20 World Cup which will be held in Chile in late November.

* McNulty started all 27 games between the posts becoming the first freshman goalkeeper in school history to perform such a feat. She finished the 2007 season setting freshman single-season records for wins (18), shutouts (8) and GAA (0.94), while sitting second in saves with 84.

* Kimmy Diaz and Kate Milstead will compete for the starting nod in goal in 2008. The two net minders have played in a combined 14 games during their collegiate career registering over 640 minutes on the pitch. Both have played in the NCAA Tournament with Diaz playing over 24 minutes against Jacksonville in 2006 and Milstead making five appearances including four during her freshman year at Penn State.

* Kate Milstead appeared in seven games a season ago tallying over 200 minutes in goal for the Garnet and Gold. She finished the year with a GAA of 0.87 allowing just two goals all year. Milstead went on to record four saves while facing a total of 16 shots. Kimmy Diaz redshirted her sophomore season as she did not compete for the Seminoles in 2007.

Krikorian on the goalkeepers: “We have two experienced goalkeepers that will be here in Kate Milstead and Kimmy Diaz. We are looking to both of these players to push each other and themselves and to give the team the same solid goalkeeping that we have had here since I arrived. I feel that both are capable of stepping in and doing very well at the position. When you look at a first semester freshman (Erin McNulty) going into goal and looking at what she went through in her first season, we felt she had a stellar season. Like all players there are going to be bumps in the road, but overall we were thrilled with her performance. She made some big saves in some key moments that kept us in some games last year. We look at that as a real positive step for her and for us and know that her participation in training camp with the national team this fall and then playing for Canada at the U-20 World Cup will only make her a better goalkeeper for us when she returns next year.”

* Florida State added eight new players, all freshmen, in 2008. This year’s class includes five PARADE All-Americans and five participants on the U.S. U-18 National Team. Now in his fourth season as head coach, Mark Krikorian has welcomed 42 newcomers to the Seminole soccer family.

* The Seminoles were recognized by Soccer Buzz with the nation’s top ranked recruiting class in 2008, while grabbing the number one spot in the Southeast Region for the second consecutive year. The honor marks the first time the Seminoles have garnered the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. The ranking comes on the heels of FSU’s second ranked class in 2007 making it the first time FSU has had back-to-back top 10 classes.

* Six of FSU’s recruits were ranked among the top 50 in America by Soccer Buzz Magazine. Those student-athletes include Tori Huster, Julie Lancos, Tiffany McCarty, Toni Pressley, Casey Short and Ella Stephan.

* Julie Lancos and Ella Stephan got an early start to their collegiate career arriving on campus in January enrolling at Florida State for the spring semester. Both student-athletes took part in off-season conditioning while collecting valuable minutes during the Seminole spring season.

Krikorian on the newcomers: “We are really excited about this incoming class. We feel as though we addressed a lot of our needs. One of the biggest advantages coming out of this class is the versatility of the players. We think each one of theses student-athletes can play a variety of positions and we hope that will be a key for us in the future. We have a very good group coming in and we expect all eight of them to come in and compete for playing time right from the start. We welcome them into the Florida State family and know that they will have a great four years in Tallahassee.”

The Schedule
* Twelve teams on the 2008 schedule recorded 10 or more wins a season ago. Thirteen schools earned a bid to participate in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, while six of those teams played into the third round of the tournament. The first three matches and six of the first seven games in 2008 will feature teams that participated in postseason play a season ago.

* Florida State will face an early road test in week two when the Seminoles travel to State College for a pair of matches against Penn State and Connecticut. FSU has faced the Nittany Lions just once before while the Seminoles and Huskies will battle for the fourth time in series history. FSU defeated Connecticut in the quarterfinals of last year’s tournament erasing a one-goal deficit late in the second half and then scoring the game-winner in double overtime to advance to its third straight College Cup.

* The Garnet and Gold will open the 2008 season at home welcoming the UCF Knights to Tallahassee on August 22. It marks the eighth time in 14 years that the Seminoles will open the season in front of the hometown crowd at the Seminole Soccer Complex. FSU is 5-1-1 when beginning the season on its home turf including a streak of two straight victories. The Seminoles traveled to face Portland to open the 2007 slate.

Krikorian on the schedule: “We have a collection of teams that historically play in the NCAA Tournament year after year which I feel will certainly present a challenge for us. It has been the position of this team since I arrived in Tallahassee to play the best that is out there and we are willing to travel to do so. We went out to Portland last year to start our season and this year we are going out to State College to play Penn State and Connecticut and then going to Auburn to play the Tigers and South Carolina. We look forward to playing the best teams in the country and I feel that this year’s schedule certainly presents that situation. I think that by the time we finish our non-conference schedule we will be tested and prepared for the ACC schedule which as everyone knows will be vigorous and will certainly present some challenges.”

* Senior Katrin Schmidt and junior Becky Edwards enter the 2008 season on quite a run. Schmidt has started every game that she has appeared in (77) while stringing together a streak of 61 consecutive starts heading into her final season. Edwards has started in 33 consecutive games and 52 in her career. She is currently riding the longest consecutive minutes streak on the team at 2,104:09. Together the two student-athletes combined to play over 4,800 minutes on the pitch in 2007.

* Despite just three seniors listed on the roster in 2008, Florida State will counter with a group of underclassman loaded with experience. Of the school record 12 newcomers that came to FSU in 2007, 11 saw playing time with six making at least one start. Three of the top five scorers from last year were newcomers while 45.5% of the total offensive output came from those new faces in Garnet and Gold.

* Senior defender Sarah Wagenfuhr was named team captain for the second straight season. She started the first 10 games in 2007 before suffering a season ending injury. Wagenfuhr has started 58 career games through her first three seasons at Florida State playing both midfield and defensive positions.

* Of the 13 letterwinners returning for the Seminoles in 2008, nine started at least one game a season ago. Seven of the nine started at least 19 or more games, while Amanda DaCosta, Becky Edwards, Erin McNulty and Katrin Schmidt started all 27 games last year.

Krikorian on the leadership of this year’s team: “We have a lot of positive leaders on this squad and it certainly starts with Sarah Wagenfuhr and Katrin Schmidt. You can also look towards Becky Edwards, Marissa Kazbour, Amanda DaCosta and some of the other younger players that have come in and made an impact right from the start; we are expecting those student-athletes to also grab some of the responsibility and help steer this ship in the right direction. Leadership is something we at Florida State take very seriously and is a quality we hope our players will develop. We certainly want these players to take the initiative while holding each other accountable from one day to the next. I feel we have a good group of leaders returning this season and I think you will see some of the same leadership characteristics from the incoming freshman class as well.”


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