Aug. 23, 2002
ATHENS, Ga. –
The 10th-ranked Florida State soccer team will get its first and only warm-up before they open the season Friday, August 30th versus Oregon State when they take the field tonight versus the 24th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. The game, scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start in Athens, GA, will mark the third consecutive year the Seminoles have faced UGA in the preseason and it will be the first collegiate action for eight Seminole newcomers.
“This game will help us get out that nervousness that surrounds the first game of the season,” said All-ACC second team selection Amber Tollefson. “It also gives the freshman their first taste of collegiate soccer which is really important before the games start to count. I remember playing Georgia my freshman year and I was so nervous. It is great to get that all out of your system. It paid off for us because after the UGA game my first year we opened the season with a win over Florida.
“We just have to remember that this is the first game and things aren’t going to be perfect. We can’t get frustrated. We are fit right now be I don’t think we are game fit yet and that is a big difference. Tonight should help us in that aspect. I am excited about tonight. We feel this is the first step in proving we deserve our No. 10 ranking. This game will set the standard for the upcoming season.”
The Bulldogs are coming off of one the best seasons in program history as they finished second in the SEC East and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Georgia went 13-6 last year and 7-2 in the conference. The Bulldogs were slated to return 10 starters from that squad but injuries have taken a toll on UGA this preseason and they will be without forward Ashley Winton and midfielder Jessica King when they teams meet tonight.
The loss of two of UGA’s top players hasn’t changed head coach Patrick Baker’s opinion of the highly ranked Bulldogs. Although the fourth-year coach would love to get a win, he knows the preseason isn’t just about the result on the scoreboard.
“If you are going to play a game, you would love to win it,” said Baker. “Realistically the result doesn’t count, so from that standpoint it is about trying to play well and see where you are at. Playing a nationally ranked team like Georgia is only going to help us. It will give us the feedback we need.
“After tonight, we will have a better understanding of how good we are defensively, in the midfield and if our attack is where it needs to be. The information from the game this evening will allow us to work on our weaknesses and in a week’s time be more prepared for Oregon State.”
Florida State returns nine players who started the second half of the 2001 season, which was the most successful in school history. Cindy Schofield, the ACC’s top goal scorer, leads an offense that set records for the most goals and points in a season in 2001. All-ACC Rookie team selections Camie Bybee, Jez Ratliff and Katie Beal are back and All-Region defender Kristin Boyce will lead FSU’s back line.
The Tribe seems prepared to replace their three lost senior starters from the 2001 season. Ratliff will move into Maren Vik Edvardsen’s forward spot. The Oklahoma-native started seven games up top for the Seminoles last year and recorded five goals and six assists. Ratliff recorded eight of her 15 points in four of those seven starts. Senior co-captain Jenny Garcia started 12 games last season including eight in the central midfield after senior Marte Vik Edvardsen was lost for the season due to injury. The Garnet and Gold’s only other loss is senior defender Heather Dyche and Baker has a plethora of experienced returnees and freshman Teresa Rivera, Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year, to fill her shoes in the center of the FSU defense.
“I think we are going to try and sort out how we can best play as a team,” said honorable mention All-American Schofield. “We will try to get the kinks out for our home opener next weekend. We’ll take what we do tonight and then work on it all week in practice and hopefully be prepared for Oregon State Friday.”
The Seminoles host the Nike/Florida State Invitational next weekend as they welcome in Oregon State, Oregon and Wake Forest. After opening the season at home Friday versus the Beavers, FSU will face Oregon Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The Sunshine Network will broadcast the game live and it is one of three FSU games fans can see live on television this season. For more information on the 2002 Seminole soccer team please visit www.seminoles.com where the complete 2002 media guide is now available in PDF format.