Sept. 8, 2001
Winston-Salem, NC –
The seventh-ranked Seminole soccer team will look to bounce back from a 3-1 loss Friday night to No. 2 Portland (2-1-0) Friday night when they face sixth-ranked Santa Clara Sunday, September 9, 2001 at 12:00 p.m. The Broncos (3-0) opened the Wake Forest/Nike Invitational with a 1-0 win over No. 20 Wake Forest (0-1-1) and will meet FSU in the regular season for the first time in school history.
“I don’t know how much we’ll have in the tank after extending ourselves against Portland but whatever’s left, we’ll use,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “Santa Clara is very good. I know a lot more about them individually than I did about Portland. They are as dynamic and dangerous as Portland is. We played them in the spring a couple of years ago and it was a clinic. Our work will be cut out for us but this is another great opportunity to play a fantastic team coached by one of the best coaches in the world.”
Florida State is coming off of its first loss of the season Friday night falling 3-1 in a closely contested match against one of the nation’s premier teams. Portland, a final four participant five of the last seven years, broke on top of the Seminoles just 10 minutes into the game but Florida State fought back and evened the game in the 34th minute. The match remained tied until the Pilots scored a goal just before half to go up 2-1. Portland added an insurance goal late in the contest as Florida State pushed forward looking for the equalizer.
“I learned more about our team in 90 minutes against Portland than I did in 180 minutes last weekend,” said Baker. “We were stretched, we were taken out of our comfort zone, we were able to do some things at a high level and we weren’t able to some other things at a high level. Hopefully we can give a better performance than Friday night.”
Santa Clara enters Sunday’s game raked anywhere from fifth to seventh in the nation and are coming off of a successful 2000 campaign that saw them advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The Broncos have three first-team preseason All-Americans, more than any other school in the nation, but are looking to replace six lost starters with a recruiting class named the fourth-best in the nation.
“Playing Santa Clara will be a lot like playing Portland Friday night,” said Baker. “They are one of the premier soccer programs in the country. We’ve got to start the game better than we did against Portland. We can’t put ourselves in a hole ten minutes into the game like we did the other night.
The Wake Forest/Nike Invitational is one of the top tournaments played in 2001 and Florida State’s invitation represents just how far the program has come in two seasons under Baker. The Seminoles entered the weekend a consensus Top 15 team for the first time in the program’s history and just over a year ago they could never have envisioned playing even or within a goal against the nation’s second-ranked team for almost 80 minutes.
“It is exciting for us to be playing in a tournament with this group,” said Baker. “So many people have called this week saying they will be checking the scores from this tournament because there are some huge match-ups. There are four Top 20 teams in one location. A fifth of the country’s best teams are playing here. It is exciting for our players to get a taste of this type of environment.”
Florida State returns home to face the University of Miami (3-0) Wednesday, September 12, 2001 in a game regionally televised by the Sunshine Network. The game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start and admission is free at the Seminole Soccer Complex.
NOTE: Sunday’s game between Santa Clara and Florida State will be available over the Internet on a live stats broadcast. Just log onto www.seminoles.com and head to the soccer page where you will find the live stats link.