Aug. 14, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
It’s been almost nine months since Florida State soccer had a full squad step on the pitch but that all changes at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning when the 2001 Seminole soccer team takes the field for conditioning exercises. Three-a-days during the first week of practice have been a constant since head coach Patrick Baker took over the program two years ago. The conditioning session and two practices seem to have been a success based on the team’s play over the last two seasons but could be intimidating to FSU’s nine newcomers.
“All of the returning girls are assuring us that we will get through that first week,” said freshman Jez Ratliff. “I’m not sure three-a-days will be fun but it will be worth it once the season starts. We’ll need to be in great shape this year so I don’t mind the extra training.”
The highlight of the first day of practice is the upperclassmen versus newcomer scrimmage that FSU’s 13th-ranked recruiting class of 2000 won last year. With the 2001 newcomers coming in with a No. 8 ranking, they are expected to uphold the tradition set by last year’s class.
“It was embarrassing losing to the freshmen last year,” said junior Cindy Schofield. “I think after last year’s loss it’s all about pride now. This year we are going juniors and seniors versus sophomores and freshmen, which makes it even more personal for me. It should be really interesting.”
The Seminoles were recently tabbed 13th in the SoccerBuzz preseason poll after reaching the Sweet 16 in 2000 and finishing the season with a No. 12 ranking. FSU faces one of the country’s toughest schedules, which includes three teams ranked in the top 5, five other nationally ranked teams and six regionally ranked opponents in 2001. The Seminoles will face a nationally ranked or regionally ranked opponent 14 times in 19 games this season.
“I am a little nervous considering our preseason ranking and the expectations surrounding our team,” said freshman Katie Beal. “I just want to help the team out this season and hopefully play well individually against a really difficult schedule.”
Florida State will have three-a-day practices through Saturday before cutting down to two-a-days in preparation for its preseason opener against Georgia August 24 at 7:00 p.m. at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Florida State opens its 2001 schedule at home August 31 at 7:00 p.m. against George Mason. The Patriots were ranked 6th in the Mid-Atlantic Region in SoccerBuzz’s preseason poll and join the University of Miami and Loyola (Md) in the season-opening Seminole Soccer Tournament, which runs from August 31 to September 2.