TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Continuing its three-game road trip to start the 2016 season, No. 1 Florida State (1-0-0) will play a pair of matches in the state of Tennessee this weekend, beginning at Vanderbilt (1-1-0) on Thursday, August 25 and ending on Sunday, August 28 at Middle Tennessee (1-0-0). The Noles maintain their No. 1 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll for the second consecutive week and the 15th time overall. FSU has been ranked in the Top 5 of the NSCAA poll for 45 consecutive weeks and in the Top 25 for 148 straight weeks.
“It’s a tough start, taking a group of reasonably young players and putting them on the road in three challenging environments,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “Down at Texas A&M, there was a great crowd, an excited crowd and a hostile crowd and our players hopefully learned some lessons that we can apply moving forward.
“We walked away from last week realizing that we have the potential to be pretty good, which is what I had thought throughout the course of the preseason. If we can bring the same level of focus and concentration as we go on the road to other teams, hopefully we can get some additional good results.”
Thursday’s match at Vanderbilt will be the first-ever contest between the two schools, however there is a history between the rosters and coaching staffs of both programs. Vanderbilt’s starting midfielder, redshirt senior Kacy Scarpa, played for the Seminoles in 2013 and 2014, scoring a goal and two assists during FSU’s run to the 2014 NCAA National Championship.
VU’s head coach Darren Ambrose worked as an assistant coach at Florida State in 1999 under head coach Patrick Baker, and also worked with FSU’s current head coach Krikorian during his time at the Philadelphia Charge in the early 2000s.
In their last 15 matches against opponents from the Southeastern Conference, dating back to 2010, the Seminoles have posted a record 13-2, with a 4-1 mark in road matches during the regular season. The only losses are to Florida at home in 2014 and on the road in 2015.
It will be just the second time that FSU and Middle Tennessee will face each other, and the first during the regular season. The Noles defeated the Blue Raiders, 3-0, in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament in Tallahassee.
The match between the Noles and the Commodores will take place on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex and will be broadcast on SEC Network+. Sunday’s game at MT will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET at the Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium and will air live on CUSA.tv.
Follow Florida State soccer on Twitter (@FSU_Soccer), Instagram (@nolesoccer) and like our Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUSoccer) to keep up to date with everything about Seminole soccer.