Nov. 8, 2010
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By Zach Mendelson, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 9 Florida State (13-5-1) was selected during the NCAA Selection Show as a number two seed and will host Middle Tennessee State (13-8-2), Auburn (11-7-2) and South Florida (13-5-2) in Tallahassee this weekend. The Seminoles will start out with facing Middle Tennessee State (13-8-2) in the opening round on Friday, November, 12 at 4:30pm.
“We have had a very good season, and I think the NCAA recognizes that it’s about success on the field,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “Our kids have done very well and they have rewarded us for it by giving us a high seed and the opportunity to play at home. We are thrilled with it and we look forward to learning more about Middle Tennessee and begin our preparation for them and then getting ready for beyond that if we are good enough.”
This Friday’s match will mark the first time that FSU and Middle Tennessee have ever faced each other. Although the Seminoles and Blue Raiders have never met, the Florida State coaches will not be taking them lightly. “I am sure they are a very good program,” said Krikorian.
“They have earned their way into the NCAA Tournament, and like every team we play against from the first game of the year against Washington State to the last one against Wake Forest, we will approach it the same. We will respect our opponent, respect ourselves, respect the game of soccer and we are going to go out and play the best we can.”
The winner will face the victor of Auburn and South Florida which plays following the Florida State match at 7:00pm. Florida State last played South Florida in 2004 as the Seminoles lead the all-time series against the Bulls 7-0-1. The Seminoles have played Auburn much more recently, as they played on September 3rd of this season when the Seminoles fell 3-2 to the Tigers on a golden goal scored during the last minute of double overtime.
The Seminoles are 8-2 all-time against Auburn and will be eager to redeem themselves against the Tigers if given the opportunity. Having a chance to do so it’s quite the accomplishment for this team, as coming into this season there was a lot of uncertainty after losing two key players before the season began in junior All American’s Jessica Price and Tiffany McCarty. Because of those losses it might come as a surprise that the Seminoles made it all the way to being a number two seed, but people inside the program however knew that this team could still be strong competitor in the NCAA.
“It would be easy for our kids and our program to feel sorry for ourselves,” said Krikorian. “If you look at it early on and see Jess Price going out, you see Tiff McCarty coming out, along with a couple other situations with players that were not available to us this season. They have put together a couple of performances to allow us to get to this point and I don’t think we are done. We have all had to work pretty hard to get to this point, and I would say we are pretty satisfied with where are, but not satisfied to end it at this point.”
Senior Amanda DaCosta shared her coach’s sentiments, “We have overcome a lot. We have had a lot of changes in our team this year and everyone has worked extremely hard, so it’s just a testament our hard work and it means a lot.”
If the Seminoles can make it to through the first three rounds of the tournament, they might face the difficult task of facing No. 1 Stanford (18-0-2) out in California.
“I haven’t studied them, but Stanford is the number one team in the country, so obviously they are a very talented team. However, we will not allow ourselves to look at anything other than Middle Tennessee, and if we are successful against them we will turn our focus to whoever our next opponent is.” Even with being in the same bracket as Stanford, the Seminoles will come into this tournament confident and ready to compete with the very best.
“I am looking forward to winning a national championship,” said DaCosta. “When I came here that is why the recruited me because they wanted a championship team. That is what I have held myself to since I have been here, and I haven’t gotten that yet, so hopefully our team can do what they need to in the tournament.”
In the end, whether this team makes it to playing Stanford or the national championship, just being selected as number two seed and being able to host was a big sense of relief to those within the program who have worked hard to reach this point.
“A couple years ago we were a number two seed on the road, so we know that geography plays a part of it, with mathematical formulas and stuff that also helps dictate how this all shakes out,” said Kirkorian. “We sat here before the show completely uncertain about how this could go, and we are very relieved to play at home, in front of our own crowd, let our kids sleep in their own beds, go to class and be student athletes.”