Oct. 21, 2002
Tallahassee, FL –
The 21st ranked Seminole soccer team (8-4-3, 2-2-1) will look to sweep the state of Florida for the second time in three years when they welcome Jacksonville University (13-1-2, 8-0-2) to the Seminole Soccer Complex Tuesday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m. Florida State has won nine straight games versus in-state teams and is looking to improve to 5-0-0 versus teams from the state of Florida this year. The Dolphins come into the match riding a 15-game unbeaten streak during which they have compiled a 13-0-2 record.
“They (Jacksonville) are coming in with a lot of confidence,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “They lost their first game of the year and have gone 15 straight games without losing again. They are finding ways to win and be successful. That is always dangerous.
“This game lies between two big conference games for us and we spent today making sure our kids are focused on Jacksonville and that we are ready for them. They are a better team than last year and we better be prepared.”
On top of winning their last nine games versus opponents from the state of Florida, FSU has also won 17 of its last 18 contests versus in-state opponents including NCAA Tournament games. Baker also has a winning record versus every team in the state of Florida since he took over the program in 1999. The Seminoles have outscored JU 16-3 in the last four contests and have gone 4-0-0 over that stretch.
“We feel like we play some of the best teams in the state and that is important to us,” said Baker. “When we came here to Florida State this program probably wasn’t considered one of the three or four best in the state. We have really tried to emerge as the program in the state but there are so many good schools, coaches and options for out of state players considering coming to Florida. We want the best players in the state and in the country to look at FSU of they are thinking about playing soccer in this state. Hopefully our success against our in-state rivals will help make that a reality.”
The Jacksonville Dolphins might be in the midst of the most impressive season in program history. After a season-opening loss to George Washington, the Dolphins are undefeated in their last 15 matches going 13-0-2 and are currently 8-0-2 in conference play. Senior striker Vanessa Illanes is having a career year. After scoring five goals in her first three seasons, the Ft Lauderdale, FL native already has 11 this year on top of a team-leading 11 assists. The senior is just six goals shy of equaling the all-time single season record for goals in JU history.
Tuesday night’s match will be the second-to-last home game of the 2002 regular season for the Seminoles and FSU has just four games remaining overall. After a big ACC road win versus NC State this past weekend, FSU must not overlook the Dolphins as No. 16 Maryland awaits them Friday night. The Seminoles have two non-conference games remaining, including Jacksonville, and two more ACC contests also remaining on the schedule. The Seminoles can finish the 2002 regular season with the fewest losses in team history and, if they can sweep their last two ACC games, will finish no lower than third in the conference standings.
“The biggest thing for us to do down the stretch is play well,” said Baker. “At this point in the season, you have to be playing well and that is what pleased me the most about the win versus NC State. On top of that, we have to get results. Playing well and getting results are the two main things we want to accomplish in the last four games of the regular season. The results are very important but if we can play at a high level it just makes us that more dangerous as we head into postseason play.
“Jacksonville is the last regional team we play. We want to make sure that the three teams ahead of us in the region (North Carolina, Charlotte and Wake Forest) are the only teams that have beaten us this year.”
With just two home games left, the Seminoles seem destined to break the all-time single season attendance record. Florida State needs just 594 fans over the next two games to set the new all-time attendance record. The original record of 8799 was set during the magical 2000 season. More importantly, if the Seminoles are able to draw 1,794 fans to the last two home games, they will break the 10,000-fan mark for the first time ever. Florida State is already averaging a school record 821 fans per game, which is just ahead of the record 800/game average set in 2000 also. The Tribe will have to do slightly better than 821 for the games versus Jacksonville and Virginia if they want to reach 10,000 spectators.
If you can’t be there in person, follow all the action between Jacksonville and No. 21 Florida State with Live Stats available only on www.seminoles.com. Fans can also find gameday programs, player features, up-to-date stats, game notes and much, much more on the official athletic site for the Florida State University Department of Athletics.