Aug. 26, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
For the second consecutive season, the 10th-ranked Florida State soccer team is closing in on a consensus Top 20 ranking. The Seminoles garnered their second Top 15 ranking and third Top 20 ranking when Soccer America pegged FSU 13th in its first poll of the 2002 season. Last season marked the first time in the history of the program that FSU opened the year ranked in any preseason poll.
“I think we are taking a different approach to the preseason rankings this year,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “Last year it was new territory for our program. This year we are embracing the rankings because that is where we want to be as a program and as a team. We have worked extremely hard to get to this level. Our approach has helped us to stay grounded and it continues to make us work hard and pay attention to all the details. It continues to push our team and individuals to new heights.”
Soccer America is the first poll of the 2002 season to include five ACC teams amongst the Top 25. North Carolina makes its first appearance of the season in the No. 1 spot, Virginia is fourth and Clemson (No. 16) and Duke (No. 21) come in just behind the Seminoles. Florida appears in the 23rd spot and marks the fifth Top 25 team on the Tribe’s schedule this season.
“When it is all said and done, or at different points during the season, I think there could be as many as six or seven ACC teams amongst the Top 25,” said Baker. “Do I think there are six teams in our conference among the Top 30, without question. There are probably a couple that are on the verge of the Top 25 but just aren’t in right now. To have our conference make-up a fifth of the Soccer America poll says quite a bit about the ACC. This is a very elite conference from top to bottom when it comes to women’s soccer.”
“I think we are taking a different approach to the preseason rankings this year. Last year it was new territory for our program. This year we are embracing the rankings because that is where we want to be as a program and as a team. We have worked extremely hard to get to this level. Our approach has helped us to stay grounded and it continues to make us work hard and pay attention to all the details. It continues to push our team and individuals to new heights.”
Head Coach Patrick Baker
Florida State will get its first opportunity to put its highest group of preseason rankings to the test when they open the 2002 campaign at home Friday, August 30 at 7:00 p.m. versus Oregon State. The Seminoles went 8-0 at home in 2001 and have won 17 consecutive games against non-conference opponents at the Seminole soccer complex. The Tribe got its first test of the season Friday night when they defeated the 24th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs 2-1 in Athens, GA.
“Friday night was a start,” said Baker. “After the first 30 minutes, I was a little frustrated because Georgia seemed so much further ahead of where we were. The game really started to even out in the second 30 minutes and I felt better. The first goal for each team was very fortunate. I felt like we did enough things in the last 30 minutes to create a number of good chances and ultimately Jez (Ratliff) and Cindy (Schofield) really did a nice job in netting the game-winner.”
With three of the four preseason polls already released, FSU is slightly ahead of where it was coming into the 2001 campaign. The Seminoles opened 2001 No. 12 in the Soccer America poll and No. 16 in the NSCAA poll, both one spot higher than their 2002 rankings. On the other hand, FSU is ranked three spots higher in the SoccerBuzz preseason poll as they opened 2002 with their first-ever Top 10 ranking from the Internet publication.
The Seminoles host the Nike/Florida State Invitational this weekend as they welcome in Oregon State, Oregon and Wake Forest. After opening the season at home Friday at 7:00 p.m. versus the Beavers, FSU will face Oregon Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The Sunshine Network will broadcast the game live and it is one of three FSU regular season games fans can see live on television this season. There is never any admission charge for regular season games at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
For more information on the 2002 Seminole soccer team please visit www.seminoles.com where the complete 2002 media guide is now available in PDF format and live stats for all home games are available. A complete schedule for the 2002 Nike/Florida State Invitational is listed below.
NIKE/FLORIDA STATE INVITATIONAL Friday, August 30th
Wake Forest vs. Oregon 4:30 p.m. Florida State vs. Oregon State 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 1
Oregon State vs. Wake Forest 11:30 a.m. Florida State vs. Oregon 2:00 p.m.