Aug. 28, 2005
Los Angeles, CA – The 2005 season couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Seminole soccer team (1-0-0) and new head coach Mark Krikorian. Not only did the side travel across country and win a game on the road but they did it in convincing fashion over a top 20 team. The Florida State offense tied a record for the most goals ever scored in a season opener and the defense held a powerful USC team without a goal in recording just the second opening day shutout in program history. Now the squad will try to build on that against Loyola Marymount Sunday at 4:00 p.m. EST.
“We have been away from home for a few days now,” said Krikorian. “While everyone feels pretty good about the result versus USC we have another formidable opponent in LMU today. We need to make sure we are prepared physically and mentally to come in and challenge and compete giving ourselves every opportunity to win today’s game.
“We are still looking to develop some consistency in our play and every time we go out we are measuring ourselves. We know we are going to be tested again Sunday versus LMU. I am looking for us to go out and establish a good rhythm in the game as early as we can.”
With so many new faces in the Seminole line-up, the win over No. 18 USC was a perfect confidence boost to a young FSU team that came into 2005 unranked for the first time since 2000. While the result was more than Krikorian could have asked for, the first year head coach knows that it was just one game and the real test will be following up Friday’s win with the same level of intensity Sunday.
“I think Friday’s win was very good for this group,” said Krikorian. “Coming out and scoring the first goal of the game gave us a little bit of confidence. We were fortunate to be at 1-0 at half. Our intensity picked up in the second half. I think right now our team feels very good about themselves but we need to repeat that performance and play at a high level again. We have to build upon that positive showing.”
With four goals from the offense and a clean sheet turned in by the back four and keeper Ali Mims, on paper FSU did everything right Friday night. After watching video from the USC match, the Tribe knows there is still a lot of room for improvement just one game into the 18-game schedule.
“Offensively we want to keep going and build on the result we got Friday,” said wide midfielder Melissa Samokishyn. “It doesn’t matter how many goals we scored Friday because each time you step out it is another chance to test yourself. We want to continue to try and create chances, which will be difficult against an LMU team that opened the season with a shutout as well.”
Even more encouraging than Friday’s score was they way FSU integrated its nine newcomers. The first three goals of the match were all scored by first year players but each one of those goals was set up by an assist from a returner. The Seminoles started six newcomers versus USC so the coaches and players know that there is still work to be done when it comes to communication, timing and rhythm.
“I think the newcomers and veterans are meshing great on the field and we saw that Friday,” said Samokishyn. “Everybody’s individual qualities are starting to show and making everyone else even better. We are becoming more cohesive as a unit every time we play and practice together.”
The best example of that blending could be seen in the backline. Florida State started two first-year players in the back four and redshirt junior goalkeeper Ali Mims made just her second start in three years after coming back from a fractured fibula. Not only were the faces new but left back Katrin Schmidt was playing in a position she had very little experience in before coming to FSU and making the switch late in preseason.
“I was happy we recorded a shutout the first game,” said Schmidt. “I came into the match without much experience playing in the back. I think my teammates really helped me and we will continue to work on our communication, which still needs to improve.
“The position switch was difficult in the beginning,” said Schmidt. “The more I play in the back with Kelly (Rowland), Teresa (Rivera) and Sarah (Wagenfuhr), the more I like it. I feel we are getting better and better as the familiarity grows. I didn’t expect us to click as quickly as we did but the game Friday was a confidence boost.”
Sunday’s game versus Loyola Marymount will conclude FSU’s west coast swing and will be the first-ever regular season meeting between the teams. The Lions opened their campaign Friday with a double overtime, scoreless draw versus Indiana.
“Hopefully we can come out today and be as solid in our defending and goalkeeping as we were in the last game,” said Krikorian. “Also we want to create as many chances as we can and hopefully we will be able to finish some of those like we did Friday.”
Fans can follow all the action versus LMU live as it unfolds exclusively via Game Tracker at www.seminoles.com, the official athletic website of Florida State University.