July 24, 2002 - by
ACC Soccer Coaches Hand FSU Highest-Ever Preseason Ranking

July 24, 2002

Greensboro, NC –
For the first-time in the eight-year history of the program, the Florida State women’s soccer team was voted to finish the 2002 season in the top half of the conference by the ACC coaches. The Seminoles were picked to finish fourth behind three teams who all advanced to the Sweet 16 or beyond in 2001. Before 2001, FSU had never been selected higher than seventh in an ACC preseason poll. Last year, FSU was tabbed fifth by the coaches, the highest-ranking ever before this year’s fourth-place projection.

“We are excited that our peers feel like we have the talent and the type of team that can finish in the upper half of the conference again this season,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “Our goal is to finish in that top four and we were able to accomplish that for the first time ever last year. We want to keep climbing up the ladder in the conference but I sometimes think it is easier to get up that ladder than it is to stay there. The challenge for us will be to stay in the upper half again this year.”

Florida State completed its first-ever winning season inside the nation’s premier soccer conference in 2001. The Seminoles finished last season with the best conference record in program history (4-3), the highest regular season finish (third) and the most successful conference tournament finish (second). The Tribe also had three ACC players of the week, a player on the All-ACC first and second team, three players on the All-ACC rookie team and the leading goal scorer in the conference (Cindy Schofield) all of which were program firsts. With four conference wins in 2001, Baker’s Seminoles almost equaled the five wins the program had amassed in ACC play in the previous six seasons combined.

“I think the preseason ranking reflects the success we had during the regular season and our run to the ACC Championship final,” said Baker. “With the top three teams in the preseason poll all coming to Tallahassee this year, we feel like we have to protect home field advantage. We have done that pretty well the last two year’s going 17-2 over all at home and 5-2 within the conference.”

North Carolina was an almost consensus choice to win its 14th consecutive ACC Championship as it received 62 of a possible 64 points. Elite 8 member Virginia was tabbed second 16 points ahead of Clemson. The Tigers, who made a run into the Sweet 16 in 2001, just edged out the Seminoles by four points to take third place. Duke made the biggest jump of any school as the coaches placed them fifth in 2002 after a seventh-place finish last year. NCAA Tournament teams Wake Forest and Maryland finished fifth and sixth respectively while NC State garnered 13 points placing eighth.

2002 Preseason ACC Women's Soccer Poll
School             Points     2001 Record/ACC Record
1) North Carolina    62       24-1-0/7-0
2) Virginia          57       17-4-2/5-2
3) Clemson           41       15-5-1/4-3
4) Florida State  37      15-8-1/4-3
5) Duke              32       8-10-1/2-5
6) Wake Forest       27       9-9-2/3-4
7) Maryland          23       10-7-2/3-4
8) NC State          13       8-10-0/0-7
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