Sept. 21, 2001
Tallahassee, Fla. –
The Seminole soccer team returns home for the first time since September 2, 2001 when they host Kansas University tonight at the Seminole Soccer Complex at 7:00 p.m. The Jayhwaks (4-1, 0-0) enter tonight’s match regionally ranked with their only loss coming in double overtime to No. 23 Illinois. The 17th-ranked Florida State soccer team (3-1,1-0) enters the match after recording its first-ever conference-opening win in a 3-2 upset at No. 7 Clemson.
“Knowing head coach Mark Francis the way I do, I know his team is going to be organized and I know they well be fit,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “They will play the game the way its supposed to be played and they will be well coached for 90:00. Kansas took a very good Illinois team to double overtime and that has been their only loss this season. We will be in for all we can handle Friday night.”
This is the first meeting between the two schools but it marks the third consecutive season the Seminoles have faced an opponent from the Big 12 Conference. Last season, FSU welcomed then seventh-ranked Texas A&M and got one of its biggest wins of the year downing the Aggies 4-1. Senior transfer Hilla Rantala who has four goals and an assist on the season leads the Jayhawks who are off to one of the best starts in the program’s history.
“We’ve never played Kansas before and we don’t know a lot about them so familiarity will be one of the things we are up against,” said Baker. “We know what system they play and we know who their personality players are. It is going to be another tight game for us. Every game we’ve played has been close other than our two losses.”
Tonight’s match is the first for FSU since its emotional 3-2 upset of No. 7 Clemson in South Carolina Monday night. The win was the first victory in a conference opener for the Seminoles and marks the teams fourth win over a Top 7 school in the last two seasons. It was just Clemson’s 12th loss in 89 games played at Riggs Field.
“We are coming off of a big emotional win and our girls are very excited about being at home,” said Baker. “We feel good about how we play here. We play a little differently. Friday night is going to be big because we have the opportunity to possibly move to 4-2 and they are a regionally ranked team. This is big. We need a lot of wins obviously but this is a win we definitely need.
“We are hoping we can continue to build on what we did at Clemson. Even though we may not have played the best soccer all game against Clemson, at times we played very well. We played them much better this past Monday than we did when we faced them last year in the Sweet 16.”
Florida State is currently third in the conference in scoring offense and is averaging two goals per game. Sophomore Cindy Schofield and freshman Camie Bybee who both have six points lead the Seminoles offensively. Bybee, Schofield and sophomore Amber Tollefson each have two goals and senior Heather Dyche leads the team with three assists.
“We are finding ways to score this season,” said Baker. “It was well into October last year before we were shutout for the first time and once again we are scoring goals. I like that about this team. I am very aware that we are also giving up more goals than I would like and we have to shore that up. We need good defensive efforts this weekend and I think that will help us immensely from a mental standpoint going into next week.”