April 8, 2011
By Zach Mendelson, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State soccer team will travel this weekend to play the Louisiana State Tigers on Saturday, April 9 for another spring exhibition match held at the Orange Beach Sportsplex slated for a 1:00 p.m. (CST) start in Orange Beach, Ala.
The match will provide another opportunity for the coaches to evaluate the progress that their players have made this offseason.
“As always spring for us is not about results, but about individual development and helping kids in making big steps forward in their play,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “This spring we have seen significant improvement in many players. We are very pleased with the attitude and the mentality that the players are showing up with in training and they are coming each day with the hope and idea of getting better.”
The Seminoles have played in four competitive matches so far this spring. Florida State officially began their spring season with a 3-0 shutout victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks followed by a scoreless 0-0 tie against Georgia Bulldogs during a Feb. 26 double-header played in Athens, Ga. Both matches were played for sixty minutes.
The Seminoles next played against the Atlanta Beat of the Women’s Professional Soccer League as FSU fell 1-0 in a competitive 90-minute game played at Columbus State University’s Walden Soccer Complex. The game presented a unique opportunity for the team to measure themselves against some of the best players in the world.
“Like all these spring games, we don’t treat these exhibitions as a normal game,” said Krikorian. “We don’t put together a scouting report. Against LSU we are actually going to play in a three period, 30 minute format instead of a normal two, 45 minute periods. We will kind of choreograph who is going to play at what times, and what minutes they are going to get, so quite honestly there isn’t a whole lot of coaching going into the games or strategy going into it. It’s more about putting kids in certain situations, with the information we have had, and see how they do in different situations that present themselves through the course of the game and we will then reevaluate again.”
“A lot of times we talk about the spring being more about the individual, and it has been that way, but the comeback of Tiffany McCarty and Jessica Price has made our team kind of jell together more,” added upcoming senior Tori Huster. “I am so excited about our team. I think we will be really good, and we have a lot of leaders, leaders that want to make the team jell. We have a lot of talent, and I am really looking forward to this coming fall.”
Florida State’s most recent match came in a 3-2 victory over rival Florida during a 90 minute exhibition held at the Viera Soccer Complex in Melbourne, Fla. True freshman Jamia Fields was the star of the day, scoring all three goals for the Seminoles.
“Boy I thought that was fantastic,” said Krikorian. “She is just a first semester freshman. We have had four spring games and she has had four goals. When you look at Tiff McCarty and Jessica Price both coming back, and now the contributions that Jamia is making, that is three pretty good forwards that are all going to be capable of putting up some really good numbers for us in the fall. If Jamia continues to work as she has and has a good summer, then I think the sky is the limit for her.”
Because of the new addition of Fields, the exciting comebacks of All-Americans Price and McCarty, as well as a sixth year of eligibility for returning scoring leader Janice Cayman, Krikorian and his staff tweaked their usual 4-4-2 lineup against the Gators.
“Against Florida we played a 4-3-3 lineup, which is playing with four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards,” Krikorian explained. “We have never played that way before, and quite honestly we haven’t even trained it. We just talked about it for half an hour one day in practice before we went down there to play. I think anyone that wants to be considered a decent coach has to look at the personnel they have and try to put together the pieces and the system of play based on their personnel. Knowing that we wanted Jess and Tiff to get sixty minutes, and for Jamia to get significant minutes, the jigsaw puzzle kind of fell together in having that lineup out there. With Janice Cayman coming back, and Casey Short capable of playing as a front player, and a few others as well, we can play a lot of different systems and be successful. Will we be more attack minded? I am not sure about that. Our theory and philosophy of valuing the ball really is not going to change. However, will our system of play change? Well, it may.”
“We were concentrated more on ourselves and testing out a new system and formation, but we came out with a lot of intensity because it is the Gators and we wanted to compete and win that game,” said Huster.
Added fellow upcoming senior Toni Pressley, “I think it’s great to get the new freshman in, and have Tiff and Jess back,” added All-American Toni Pressley. “Those two have been through a lot, and they are definitely progressing and getting better. I think this spring is very foretelling what we are going to have in the fall, and I think it’s going to be great.”