August 26, 2005 - by
Seminole Soccer Opens 2005 Campaign Tonight Versus No. 18 USC

Aug. 26, 2005



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Game Notes

Los Angeles, CATo say the start of the 2005 season for the Seminole soccer team will begin in unfamiliar territory doesn’t just mean starting the year in California for the first time ever. Florida State will take the field tonight at 6:00 p.m. EST versus the 18th-ranked Women of Troy with a new coach on the sidelines for the first time since 1999. Only three players who opened the 2004 season in the starting line-up are expected to be in the first 11 tonight and the Tribe will take the field unranked in any preseason poll for the first time since 2000, which was the first year the program ever advanced to the NCAA Tournament.


 


“It is definitely a different opening to any season I have ever experienced,” said senior defender Teresa Rivera. “This is exciting. It is a different environment than any player on this team has ever experienced to start a year. There is a level of excitement surrounding this team to see how we fare against a top 20 program.”


 


“I am really excited to get this season started,” said first year head coach Mark Krikorian. “There has been an awful lot of hard work put in the last six or seven months looking forward to this day. Considering everything, it is time we go out and play a quality opponent and begin to measure ourselves.”


 


The biggest storyline in the season opener for both FSU and USC will be new faces. Southern Cal brought in the nation’s top recruiting class and will open tonight with 12 freshmen on the roster and with as many as half of that group in the starting line-up. The Seminoles are in a similar boat. When they defeated USC 2-1 last season there were as many as nine players on the field in Garnet & Gold who will not be in the starting line up this evening.


 


“I don’t think we can read anything into the meeting between the teams last year,” said Krikorian. “I am not sure how many of the same players will even be on the field for both teams. I know USC has a number of their defenders back so I am sure they will be organized in the back. Their goalkeeper is a seasoned keeper after starting 10 games last year. I assume their back play will be good. I am familiar with some of their attacking players and I know they are good so we will have our work cut out for us but like many teams in the country, the first game will be a learning situation for all of us.”


 


“I think we are in the same boat as USC,” said Rivera. “Both teams are going to need some time to get accustomed to playing with new players. I think the difference may be that our newcomers for the most part aren’t freshmen. They have experience at the collegiate and international level. It is a different kind of experience but they have all been in pressure situations. It will be a learning process for both teams as the season progresses.”


Florida State lost five seniors from the 2004 squad and seven of the players who started versus USC last August aren’t even on the roster in 2005. As many as six of FSU’s nine newcomers could make the first collegiate start of their career this evening including highly touted freshman Sarah Wagenfuhr.


 


“I am so excited,” said Wagenfuhr. “I have been playing my whole youth career to get a chance to play in a big time collegiate game. It will be a huge test for all the newcomers but we are ready to finally get out there and start the season.”


 


“I am really happy with the way the new players have come in and preformed,” said Krikorian. “I am also really satisfied with the attitude and mentality of the returning players. I couldn’t be happier with the mixture we have. The players and their personalities are meshing very well. Our team is only going to get better. As the season goes on and we all get to know each other and there are a lot of possibilities and a lot of potential with this group.”


 


The Seminoles revamped back four will be tested versus the top freshman in the nation is USC’s Amy Rodriguez. The newcomer from California was named Gatorade and Parade National Player of the Year. Along with Rosa Anna Tantillo, the Women of Troy will provide an immediate test for the FSU back four.


 


“I think the back four is ready to be tested by a team with as many talented attacking players as USC has,” said Rivera. “We have faith in our offense so there isn’t a lot of nervousness surrounding the defense that we need to be perfect on day one. Our goal is to defend well and that hasn’t changed.”


 


“I think every time you play a team it is a chance to measure yourself,” said Krikorian. “The result of today’s game is not the end of the world nor is it the National Championship if you win. It is one game. It has its share of importance being the first game of the year. Getting a win today isn’t nearly as important to us as winning the last game of the year.”


 


Offensively the Seminoles will have a completely different look when they take the field tonight. Gone are graduated seniors Jez Ratliff and Camie Bybee. All-American Leah Gallegos is now at USC and All-ACC second teamer Julia Schnugg has also relocated to California playing at Cal Berkley. While the FSU attack may have as many different faces on opening day as any season in program history, that doesn’t mean there is a lack of confidence in the team’s ability to score goals.


 


“I think if you have confidence in your team and your ability, your age isn’t a factor,” said Wagenfuhr. “If you believe you can play at this level, it goes a long way toward being successful.


 


“We only played one preseason game versus a college team but I think we are as ready as we can be to face a top 20 squad. If we play together and move the ball around like we are capable of, we will have a good chance of being successful both offensively and defensively versus a very good USC team.”


 


This is the third straight season that FSU and USC have met on opening weekend splitting the first two meetings. Last season the Seminoles took the game 2-1 in Tallahassee. Fans can follow all the action tonight live as it unfolds exclusively via Game Tracker at www.seminoles.com, the official athletic website of Florida State University.


 

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