Dec. 14, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
For the first time in the history of the program, the FSU soccer team completed a season ranked in the top 20 of all five women’s college soccer polls. The National Soccer Coaches Association of American (NSCAA) and SoccerBuzz just released their final polls with the Seminoles finishing 17th and 20th,respectively. Florida State already finished 17th in polls released by collegesoccer.com and Soccer Times and 18th in the final Soccer America poll.
“I think this is a huge honor and compliment to our team,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “We were ranked in the preseason but I told our team it was the final poll we wanted to make sure we were in. I think our team felt like it needed to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke. We want to continually be one of the top 20 teams in the country and to be able to do that in back-to-back years says something pretty special about this group.”
In 2000, the Seminoles finished their season ranked in three of the five final polls after making a run to the Sweet 16. The 2001 Seminoles fell just short of equaling last season’s NCAA Tournament success when they controlled much of the play but eventually fell to No. 10 Clemson 1-0 in the round of 32. Despite the loss to the Tigers, FSU established more than 30 records or program firsts in 2001 including the most wins in a season (15), the best winning percentage in school history (.646), the highest ACC finish in school history (third) and the program’s first-ever appearance in the ACC Tournament Championship game.
“I think the coaches and players would have loved the opportunity to get a rematch down in Florida with the Gators in the Sweet 16 but Clemson beat us and they were deserving of the win,” said Baker. “Looking back, to have our best regular season ever coming off of last year, which we thought was pretty awesome, and then going to our program’s first-ever ACC Championship game against UNC on TV was pretty awesome. We came up a little short in the NCAA’s but it was a very good, solid season that we are all very proud of.”
The Seminoles’ success in 2001 came in the face of the most difficult schedule in school history and arguably the toughest schedule in the nation this season. Florida State’s opponents posted a combined record of 311-160-23 (.653) and five of FSU’s eight losses came at the hands of the final four teams that made up the 2001 Women’s College Cup field. Overall, the Seminoles lost seven of their eight games to teams ranked in the top 10 (No. 1 Santa Clara, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Portland, No. 4 Florida, No. 8 Virginia and No. 10 Clemson). Florida State recorded its fourth win over a top 10 team under Baker this season when the Seminoles traveled to Clemson and downed the Tigers 3-2 to open conference play.
“For us to look back and say that five of our losses came against teams in the Final Four says a lot about our strength of schedule,” said Baker. “We want to continue to play those types of teams and maybe just be more successful against that caliber of opponent.”
The Seminoles lose just three senior starters and return a team that started six freshmen or sophomores in 2001. Florida State will also have the luxury of facing North Carolina, Florida, Wake Forest, Virginia and Clemson at the Seminole Soccer Complex where the team went 8-0 in 2001 and where they defeated UNC, Florida and Wake Forest in 2000. The Seminoles’ 2002 schedule will also feature visits from Pac 10 teams Oregon and Oregon State and SEC member LSU.
FSU in 2001 Final Polls
Soccer Times #17
Soccer America #18