June 20, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
Head coach Patrick Baker has released No. 14 Florida State’s 2003 soccer schedule and it appears to be the toughest slate in program history. More than half (9 of 17) of the scheduled matches are against 2002 NCAA Tournament teams including two College Cup participants (Penn State and North Carolina). Not one team on the schedule posted a losing record last season and FSU’s opponents went a combined 226-114-24 (.654). Eleven of the teams had 13 or more wins and six won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament.
“I feel great about the make-up of our schedule. I think our ladies are accustomed to this level of competition and are looking forward to the challenges this fall,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “We play in the ACC, which is one of the most competitive and exciting environments in college athletics.”
The opening weekend of the 2003 season features two of women soccer’s top programs traveling to Tallahassee. Florida State opens the season at home August 29 at 7:00 p.m. versus the University of Southern California. The Lady Trojans made their fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002 and USC returns nine starters from a squad that went 11-8-3. Two days later FSU will turn-around and face Penn State at 1:00 p.m. The Nittany Lions, a 2003 College Cup participant and eight-time NCAA Tournament team, is one of the most storied non-ACC schools to ever visit the Seminole Soccer Complex. Penn State has played in two of the last four College Cups, they have won five consecutive Big Ten regular season titles and three straight Big Ten tournaments.
“A lot of people will be focused on our results versus USC and Penn State to open the season,” said Baker. “It will be two of the most talented teams we face all year. There will be two Top 25 teams making the trip to Tallahassee and it should be a very exciting weekend.”
Florida State won’t play at home again for 19 days after the opening weekend as the team plays three road games over a two-week span. Things don’t get any easier for the Seminoles as they head to Gainesville, FL for a Friday night date with the Gators at Percy Beard Stadium. Florida missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years in 2002 despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation and posting a .500 record. The Seminoles have just one win all-time in Gainesville and none in regular season play.
The Tribe ext travels to Lawrence, KS to take part in the 2003 Fall Jayhawk Classic. The Seminoles open tournament play versus 2001 NCAA Tournament team Kansas. The Jayhawks went 11-7-2 last year. After Kansas, FSU closes out the tournament against San Diego State. The Aztecs posted a 13-7 record last season. The Aztecs went to the NCAA Tournament in 1998 and 1999 and have posted a winning record in eight of the last 10 seasons.
Florida State returns home to host the Nike Seminole Classic. The tournament features 2001 NCAA Tournament team and intra-state rival Miami and 2002 NCAA Tournament opponent Ole Miss. Florida State has won the last three straight from the Canes and has an 11-game home win streak versus teams from the state of Florida that dates back to 1999. Ole Miss and FSU met for just the second time ever last season in the opening round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Florida State knocked the Rebels from the postseason with a 2-0 win.
The last ten games on the Seminoles’ slate will al b against ACC foes and in-state schools with six of the games being played on the road. After a September 26 meeting with Maryland in Tallahassee, FSU plays five of its next six games away from home with trips to South Florida, Virginia, UCF, Clemson and Wake Forest. The only home match during that run is an October 10 meeting with Duke.
“It will be a tough conclusion to the season but that is just the rotation that we are in this year,” said Baker. “We did very well on the road last year and hopefully enjoy similar success this fall.”
Florida State will close out the home portion of its schedule with games against NC State and Florida Atlantic. The Tribe is currently in the midst of a four-game unbeaten streak against the Wolfpack, a program best against an ACC foe. The home regular season finale will be the first-ever meeting between Florida State and FAU.
The Seminoles end the regular season in Chapel Hill, NC where they will take on 17-time NCAA Champions North Carolina. A week later the 2003 ACC Tournament will take place just down the road in Cary, NC at the brand new SAS Soccer Park. The stadium, which holds 10,000 fans, will also be the home for the 2003 and 2004 Women’s College Cup.
NOTES – In the newly released NCAA attendance figures from 2002, Florida State finished the season ranked in the top 10 for overall attendance and in the top 20 for average attendance. The Seminoles drew a school record 12,422 fans (ninth-best in the NCAA) to 15 home games. FSU had never approached 9,000 fans in season before shattering the school record of 8,799 last year. The average crowd of 828 (19th-best in the NCAA) was the best ever in the program’s eight year history. The Seminoles set three single-game attendance records last season including the largest crowd in school history when 1,603 spectators saw FSU down Florida 2-1. The team also played in-front o two 1,000-plus crowds in one season for just the second-time in program history.