Aug. 30, 2002
As much as Patrick Baker’s Seminole soccer team has accomplished in the last two years, 2002 holds even more promise. After back-to-back Top 20 finishes and NCAA Tournament appearances, this year’s squad is poised for even greater success. Florida State returns eight starters and seven letterwinners who accounted for 48 of FSU’s program-high 55 goals in 2001 and 80% of the ACC’s second-highest scoring offense. All-ACC selections Cindy Schofield and Amber Tollefson and All-ACC Rookie team selections Camie Bybee, Katie Beal and Jez Ratliff are all back, and FSU is set in net with three talented sophomore keepers. The Seminole back line not only returns Beal but also All-Southeast Region selection Kristin Boyce and seniors Ashlee Fontes and Meredith Jones who should lead a stingy group. The 2002 schedule features 12 games at the Seminole Soccer Complex where FSU was a perfect 8-0-0 last year and 17-2-0 over the last two seasons. Combine that with another Top 25 recruiting class and 2002 has the potential to be the best ever in Tallahassee.
*The Seminole seniors enter the 2002 season with the best three-year record in the history of the program.
*The 2002 senior class has an all-time record of 38-26-4, has been to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, has finished in the Top 20 and has advanced to an ACC semifinal and ACC final the last two seasons.
*After advancing to the semifinals of the 2000 ACC Tournament and the championship game of the 2001 ACC Tournament, Florida State will host the prestigious championship for the first-time ever in 2002.
We’re probably as excited and anxious to start a season this fall as we have ever been. I think that is because we have put together three very solid years and more importantly the last two seasons we have been able to finish in the Top 20. We went through a season in 2000 when we shocked and surprised a lot of people. The program went from rags to riches in one year. Then in 2001, we had to change our mentality and approached things a little differently because we weren’t going to be able to surprise teams. For some people we became a big game on their schedule and yet we were still able to put together our best season ever. We were able to get another invite to the NCAA Tournament and reach our first-ever ACC Championship final, which were both wonderful positives for our program. Just when you thought we couldn’t have done more than we did in 2000, we end up equaling, and in some instances exceeding, those accomplishments. We now have the understanding that we are a good soccer team and we are becoming a reputable program. The challenge this year is to win more games than we lose, finish in the upper half of the ACC, get another NCAA Tournament bid and hopefully host a first round game. When you look at last year’s regional sites, its remarkable the percentage of those teams that hosted and advanced in the tournament. We want to put ourselves in that position this year.
*Florida State returns eight starters and seven letterwinners from the most successful team in program history.
*Seminole returnees scored 47 of the team’s record 55 goals in 2001 and FSU returns 80% of its offense from a team that finished 2001 as the 29th-best in the entire nation.
*Florida State returns six of its eight starters in the defense and midfield and all three goalkeepers from 2001.
It is comforting to know how many experienced players we have coming back in 2002. One thing a lot of people didn’t realize was in 2000 the number of freshman that started were all players that played out wide like Kristin Boyce, Amber Tollefson and Summer Corum. Last year, we had a freshman in goal, Katie Beal stepped in as a central defender, Camie Bybee played centrally in our midfield and Jez Ratliff played up top. So now those four players right up the middle of the field have the experience, which is where the strength of any team lies. I think it took some time for them to grow and develop last year. Hopefully we are going to be stronger defensively since we are returning three of our four defenders and with the depth we will have on our back line.
*The Seminoles completed the program’s first-ever undefeated home season in 2001 going a perfect 8-0-0 at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
*Florida State is 17-2-0 at home over the last two seasons. The team’s only losses came to Clemson, with two minutes remaining in the game, and Virginia who scored the game winner with less than 1:30 remaining on the clock.
*It has been almost three full seasons since a non-conference opponent came to Tallahassee and beat the Seminoles. Florida State has won 17 straight games versus non-ACC foes. The team’s last loss came against Miami in the 1999 home opener.
We have been successful at home especially over the last two seasons and we don’t take that for granted. There is something special about playing at our complex. Home field advantage has to mean something. We have gone 17-2 the past two seasons at home. We only have one loss in the last three years at home to a non-conference opponent. Winning keeps bringing our fans back in record numbers. Winning a lot of those games at home creates a mentality that we aren’t going to lose. The fans keep coming out because we have had success on this field and they give us the energy boost we need. Some of our greatest wins over the last few years have come at home and those wins have changed the complexion of our program.
2000 vs. 2002
*This season, Florida State faces 15 teams that they also played during the team’s historic 2000 campaign.
*The last time FSU played North Carolina, Florida and Wake Forest at home, the Seminoles defeated all three teams en route to the squad’s first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
*During the 2000 campaign, 8,799 fans came to the Seminole Soccer Complex to watch FSU. The top two all-time attendances were set that season when 1,582 fans watched FSU down the Tar Heels and 1,282 fans saw FSU open the season with a win over the Florida Gators.
A lot of those great wins we recorded at home in 2000 were losses last season when we had to go out on the road and face those same teams. In our minds we not only have a revenge factor but we have the confidence of knowing that in 2000 we beat both North Carolina and Florida on our home field. The Florida match was one of the most unbelievable finishes in college soccer in 2000 and then you turn around and knock off National Champion North
Carolina. Both of those wins came in front of the largest crowds in program history and that brings people back to the stadium.
We played Clemson and Virginia into the final moments and were just a few collective minutes away from being undefeated at home over the last two seasons. Those types of matches leave people with a great feeling about spending time at our complex. Then you go undefeated at home in 2001 and people really start to get behind what you are doing at Florida State. When our players step out on our field, there is not a better setting in the country. When our fans are out there, there isn’t a better women’s college soccer environment anywhere. It is just a special place and we hope that continues this year.
2002 ACC SCHEDULE
*2001 was a banner year for FSU in the ACC with the most regular season wins in program history (4), the highest finish in FSU history (2nd), three ACC players of the week, a player on the All-ACC first and second team, three players on the All-ACC Freshman team, the leading goal scorer in the conference (Cindy Schofield) and a trip to the ACC Championship finals.
*The Seminoles won their conference opener and started conference play 3-0 for the first time in program history.
*Florida State is now 5-2-0 at home against ACC opponents in the last two seasons.
One of the things you learn when you attempt to build a program in rural North Carolina and then in the streets of Philadelphia is that no matter what the environment the process is the same. There are certain steps you have to hit and you have to know where you have come from so you can appreciate where you are now and where you are going in the future. In 2001, we took some of those steps. We finished above .500 in the conference. We beat a Top 10 conference opponent on the road. We advanced to the ACC Championship final. Those were all huge hurdles we were able to clear. What we did as a program the year before was remarkable but one of the frustrating things was we still finished seventh in the conference.
It is very hard to pinpoint games within the ACC that you can look at and say ‘there’s a win’ whether they be home or away. We get four ACC home games this year but they are against North Carolina, Virginia, Clemson and Wake Forest. We lost to every one of those teams in the regular season last year besides Clemson. We want to finish in the upper half of the ACC again and that is a constant goal. Last season was exciting but we want to combine the best of 2000 and 2001. We want to get the big wins we got in 2000 while still being able to have the same type of success in the ACC.
WINNING BREEDS CONFIDENCE
*This is the first group in FSU history that has never endured a losing regular season as a Seminole.
*Two-thirds of FSU’s 2002 returnees have been to the NCAA Tournament, finished the season ranked in the Top 20 and have never been eliminated in the first round of the ACC Tournament since they stepped on campus.
This year’s group doesn’t really have the baggage of some of the disappointments of the past. When we took over the program, before a game the kids didn’t know if they were able to win or maybe felt like it would be nice if they could get a win today. This group has a totally different mentality. We expect to win when we step out now. That doesn’t come from arrogance or cockiness but these players have an inner confidence now. They know we have very talented players, we feel like we play an exciting brand of soccer and we feel like we can compete with anybody. I believe they have proven that the last two years.
*The 2001 Seminole offense finished the year as the second-best in the ACC and as the 29th-best in the nation.
*Florida State set program-highs for goals and points in 2001. The Seminoles’ 55 goals were four better than the record established in 1996 and their 168 points smashed the record of 139 set the previous season.
*In the six years prior to 2001, Florida State had just two players who had recorded double-digit goals in a season. Last year, Cindy Schofield (17) and Camie Bybee (10) both notched double-digit goals.
Last year was really an amazing offensive season and it came from a lot of different players. We have some wonderful attacking personalities on this team and I think we can create chances and score goals. If you look at where Cindy Schofield was halfway through the season compared to where she ended up, she had a very balanced year. Amber Tollefson scored some key goals for us. Camie Bybee, Jez Ratliff and other players picked their moments also. As much as Summer Corum may have been frustrated in the lack of production, the amount of chances she created and the dangerous situations that resulted because of her play were key to our success. On two different occasions, teams had to change the system they were playing to account for Summer. She may not have been sticking the ball in the back of the net but she was absolutely taking advantage of the situations that were presented to her. To have all of those weapons coming back and not to mention Meredith Jones, Katie Beal and Kristin Boyce who can all get forward and score goals from the back, it is very exciting. Jenny Garcia also had a wonderful spring from both a production and playing standpoint and she is gaining confidence. I don’t think it is a big secret though, when Cindy is doing good things up front, we stand a very good chance of being successful.
*Jez Ratliff and Cindy Schofield combined for 22 of the teams 55 goals in 2001. No other pair of forwards has combined for more goals in program history.
*Schofield was the ACC’s top goal scorer in 2001 and she was second in the conference in points, second in goals per game, second in scoring average and fourth in assists.
*Schofield also finished 27th in the nation in scoring offense and 28th in the nation in goals.
*Ratliff was one of three Seminoles to be named to the 2001 All-ACC Rookie team.
From a standpoint of who we have returning, Cindy Schofield and Jez Ratliff are back. We tinkered with a 4-3-3 in the spring and even played Summer Corum and Katie Talley up top from time to time. Really, Jez and Cindy will be our two top returnees at this position. Cindy had an unbelievable fall and the way she stepped up after we lost Emma Breland was big for us. She scored some great goals at crucial times. When you lead the ACC in goals, that says something. It was a remarkable accomplishment for her and our program. She just needs a sniff at goal to stickit in the back of the net and that is a dying breed of player these days. Jez arguably had the best spring of anyone on our team. That young lady worked extremely hard on her game. She was out there every Tuesday afternoon for an hour or an hour and a half with individual training on top of what we were doing as a team and it paid off. She scored in every spring game except one and gained such an inner confidence. She has the ability with her speed to change the complexion of the game with just one run. If the opponent makes a bad pass or isn’t as clean as they should be, Jez will make them pay. When you add Stephanie Dame and Leah Gallegos to that duo, you really have a special group up front. Leah has continued to get better and better since she committed to Florida State. She has a big-time skill level and reminds me a little bit of Cindy in that she doesn’t need a lot of chances to put the ball in the back of the net. She is deadly in and around the box and that is something I am excited to see. Stephanie will blossom into the player we know she can be when she steps into a more competitive environment here at FSU.
*The Seminoles return all four players who started in the midfield over the last half of 2001.
*Florida State’s four returnees in the midfield combined to record 19 goals and 20 assists.
*Amber Tollefson was named an NSCAA All-Region selection and to the All-ACC second team after she scored five of her six goals versus ACC opponents.
*Camie Bybee broke the freshman record for assists and was second in goals, game-winning goals and points.
We have such a great group returning in our midfield. When we lost Marte Vik Edvardsen for the whole second half of the 2001 season, it allowed us to play Jenny Garcia and Camie Bybee together in the center of our midfield. It was without question a blessing in disguise because they were projected to start there together this season. That time they started together last year allowed them to develop a great understanding for one another ahead of the timetable we had planned. They were able to expand on that relationship this past spring and I think they gained an even greater appreciation for one another and their abilities. They are truly able to better read one another on and off the ball due to that time they spent together. Camie’s job isn’t necessarily to score goals but that didn’t stop her from netting 10 last season. She was unbelievably productive for us in 2001. One of the reasons we recruited her was because I have seen her score so many goals from that central midfield position. Jenny is a perfect compliment to her since she possesses such a great defensive and heading presence in the center of that midfield. That was best exemplified when she won almost every ball in our spring game versus Tennessee.
With the loss of Marte Vik Edvardsen, central midfield is probably our thinnest position and that is where freshmen Erica Lewis, Erin Brown and Sarah Rosseau should really help. They will not only provide depth but we believe in time they will develop into players who can take on a starting role. They are very capable players and provide so many good things. I am anxious to get them on the field. With Summer Corum and Amber Tollefson out wide, we have two very good wide midfield players. We play with wide midfielders because of their talents. Both of them can run at a defense, they make good decisions, they can unbalance a defense, they can score goals and they can serve quality balls. They came in as freshman two years ago and haven’t left the starting line-up since. Katie Talley will also contribute in the wide midfield, and along with Jez, probably had one of the best springs of anyone on the team. Freshman Allison Ferreri will get a lot of minutes playing wide and she reminds me a lot of Amber. It is going to be very exciting to have a true four-player rotation in the wide midfield made up of quality players. That was something we had in 2000 but didn’t truly have in 2001.
*Boyce led all FSU defenders with five goals and 11 points in 2001 as she more than doubled both totals from her stellar freshman season.
If we are going to have success this year, we are going to have to defend better. One of the things I thought we did a much better job of in 2000 than we did in 1999 was defending. The amount of goals we gave up from one season to the next showed a huge improvement. This past year we didn’t do as good of a job and gave up too many goals in our opinion. We were, however able to outscore most of our opponents. One of our major areas of emphasis in the preseason will be better individual defending, better team defending across the board and starting to form a better mentality in our back four. This is the area where we will start our preseason training and workouts. I feel like if we are defending well we can refine our attack down the road. We need to feel like we aren’t going to give up goals this season. Someone is going to have to do some special things to beat our back line.
Kristin Boyce and Katie Beal really locked up the left side of our defense and that is the direction we will probably go in 2002. The right side of the defense is shaping up to be the position that will have the most battles this preseason. You have Ashlee Fontes, Meredith Jones, Marion Cagle, Shannon Coe, Teresa Rivera, Tori George, Erica Messinger and Jessica Bell. We have some options but one of our main objectives will be to make sure we establish good chemistry and continuity in the back and build on that. All of those players are very capable. Rivera is the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida and a regional team starter with the Olympic Development Program (ODP). Regional team starters have meant so much to our program if you look at players like Amber Tollefson, Summer Corum, Kristin Boyce, Jez Ratliff, Camie Bybee and Kerry York. I can’t imagine that Teresa won’t continue that great tradition. Coe and Bell are players we think are going to help us right away. I want to make sure we address our defending in the back four right away. Establishing the four players who are going to be in that back line when we take the field against Oregon State will be crucial.
*Ali Mims and Kerry York combined to shutout Virginia for 150 minutes in the 2001 ACC Championship semifinals.
*Mims started her FSU career by stopping the first three penalty shots she faced and ended the year saving five of the seven PK’s taken against her.
*Florida State’s three keepers combined for the second-most shutouts in school history in 2001 with six.
Kerry York, Ali Mims and Joy McKenzie each got to play extended minutes in the spring after York and Mims received most of the minutes in the fall. Anytime you have a freshman anywhere there are going to be inconsistencies but if you look how far all three of our freshmen keepers have come, with Joy McKenzie probably making the most considerable strides, it is a testament to not only the job that coach John Galas has done but how hard each individual has worked to enhance that area of our team. Each member of this group has wonderful attributes that make them special in goal. As competitive as the right side of the defense will be, this is probably our most competitive position right now. They are all so talented but obviously only one can play. For a long period of time, we never thought about splitting time in net. But that may be something we look at this year, at least at the start, until somebody solidifies herself as the starter.