TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Getting back on the pitch for the first time as a full team for the 2016 season, the Florida State women’s soccer team began its preseason training on Wednesday morning at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
The Noles return 13 players from the 2015 squad that won its third consecutive ACC Championship and advanced to the College Cup for the fifth straight season. FSU welcomes in eight newcomers for the fall – Yo Tachibana, Heidi Kollanen, Deyna Castellanos, Malia Berkely, Doriana Moul, Kristen McFarland, Clara Robbins, as well as graduate student Amanda Kopale – while three other freshmen (Briana Alston, Julia Phillips and Taylor Hallmon) enrolled at Florida State for the Spring 2016 semester.
On August 2, FSU was selected as the No. 1 team in the nation, as the National Soccer Coaches Association released its 2016 preseason poll. It is the second straight year that the Seminoles have earned the No. 1 ranking to open the season and the 44th consecutive poll, dating back to December 4, 2012, where the Noles are ranked in the top 5 by the NSCAA. It is the 14th time that Florida State has been the top-ranked team in the country.
“I say it every year, but I don’t think any of us pay too much attention to the preseason polls, it is the end of the season poll we are all hoping for,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “We graduated a boatload of talent, probably the best class we’ve ever had, at least during my time here. The good news is that the cupboard is not bare, we have very good returning players and some very good young ones.
“Overall, I’d say the kids came back quite fit and quite sharp. We did a little testing this morning, and I’ll go back and look at the results, but looking at the first glance I thought it was pretty good and here on the field with the ball was as I had hoped it would be and expected it to be.”
The Seminoles received 18 first-place votes in the NSCAA poll and earned 751 points to take the top spot. Defending national champion Penn State received 10 first place votes and 731 points to rank No. 2, while NCAA runner-up Duke is No. 3 with 701 points and two first-place votes.
Overall, Florida State will play eight teams during the 2016 regular season that received votes in the preseason poll, including five against top-10 teams. The Noles open the season at No. 8 Texas A&M (August 19) and will look to extend their 24-match home win streak against No. 7 Florida on September 2. FSU will follow with matches against RV South Alabama (Sept. 5) and No. 15 UConn (Sept. 8), before closing out the month with a 2015 ACC Championship Game rematch against No. 4 Virginia at home on September 25.
FSU will face RV Boston College (Oct. 6) and No. 9 North Carolina (Oct. 27) on the road, and will meet up with No. 3 Duke in Tallahassee on October 20.
The ACC led all conferences with seven teams ranked in the NSCAA Top 25, including four in the top 10. No. 13 Notre Dame, No. 14 Clemson and No. 17 Virginia Tech round out the remaining league members represented on the preseason poll.
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