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Courtesy: Florida State Athletics
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Soccer Season Opener
Courtesy: Seminoles.com
Release: 08/21/2014
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Week 1 - Game Notes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The wait is finally over, so let the games begin! The Florida State women’s soccer team officially opens the 2014 regular season with a pair of home matches this weekend inside the Seminole Soccer Complex. The second-ranked Seminoles will face 11th-ranked Portland in the season opener on Friday, August 22 at 7 pm before welcoming Minnesota to town for a 1 pm match on Sunday, August 24. Admission is free to every home Seminole soccer game this fall.

“I have all the respect in the world for both Portland and Minnesota,” Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian said. “We will have to bring our ‘A-Game’ if we are going to want to compete with both teams.”

The Seminoles return nine starters and 14 letterwinners from the 2013 squad that advanced to their second national title game appearance in program history, third straight College Cup and seventh semifinal appearance in 11 years. Florida State also earned its second ACC tournament title while finishing the season ranked No. 2 in the country.

Expectations are once again high for the Seminoles after landing their highest preseason ranking in school history. Florida State will open 2014 campaign ranked No. 2 in all three major polls – NSCAA, Soccer America and TopDrawerSoccer.com. FSU was also picked to repeat as champions of the ACC as voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches.

The Seminoles welcome back all seven players who registered double-digit points a season ago including Dagny Brynjarsdottir, who led the team in goals (14), points (33), shots (74) and game-winning goals (7), and Megan Campbell’s team-leading 13 assists. Jamia Fields and Marta Bakowska-Mathews are coming off superb junior seasons in which both midfielders set single-season career-highs for goals, assists, points and game-winning goals.

The biggest question surrounding the Seminoles as the 2014 season approaches lies in the backline where the Seminoles will have to replace two key pieces following the graduation of All-Americans and four-year starters Kassey Kallman and Kelsey Wys. Last year, the Seminole defense finished the season ranked in the top 25 nationally in goals against average (11th) and shutout percentage (23rd). Florida State registered 15 shutouts and closed out the 2013 campaign allowing just 16 goals, the third fewest allowed in school history.

Kristin Grubka will look to continue FSU’s defensive dominance by patrolling the middle of the Seminole backline this fall. Grubka has appeared in every game for Florida State since setting foot on campus in 2011, while starting 63 straight matches. Kirsten Crowley and Isabella Schmid will join Grubka in the backline as both Seminoles played valuable minutes as outside backs a season ago.

Caroline Brockmeier and Cassie Miller will vie for the starting goalkeeper job, a position vacated by Wys. Miller enrolled at FSU in the spring of 2013 and received a redshirt last fall after spending the previous year training with both Wys and keeper coach Mike Bristol. Miller is a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American and has participated in national team camps at the U-15, U-17 and U-20 levels. Brockmeier, a Tallahassee native and product of Chiles High School, began her college career a semester early enrolling at FSU in the spring of 2014. She was ranked as the third best goalkeeper coming out of high school by TopDrawerSoccer.com.

The Seminole Soccer Complex has provided its home field advantage for Florida State through the years especially since the arrival of Krikorian as the head coach has led the Noles to a home record of 102-8-4. The Noles enter Friday’s contest on a 35-game unbeaten streak at home (34-0-1), the longest active home unbeaten streak in the nation and the seventh longest without a loss at home in NCAA history.

“We love playing at home,” said Krikorian. “It’s very comfortable for us and the local community has come out and supported our team as well as I could have ever expected. We are looking forward to Friday night’s game and expect there will be a nice, big crowd to welcome in the 2014 season.”

Krikorian, who enters his 10th season as head coach in 2014, continues to lay the groundwork that has built Florida State into a national power. Once again this fall Krikorian and his staff will look to lead the Seminoles back to the College Cup in search of the program’s first national championship.

“Winning a national championship is how we define success,” added Krikorian. “That is what we are shooting for, that’s what I think we all dream about, work toward and hope for. But there are certainly several different elements that go in to building a champion.

“We have exceptional student-athletes in our program that not only do the work in the classroom and on the playing field but also in the community. The fact that our kids are such high achievers with type-A personalities and that they do such a good job with all the responsibilities that they have is something we are very proud of. The goal here is no different than what it has been in the past, we want to compete at the highest level that we can and to compete for national championships.”

Live stats will be available for both matches on Seminoles.com. As always, Seminole fans can follow the Noles on twitter @FSU_Soccer and remember to like the Seminoles on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FSUSoccer) and on Instagram (NoleSoccer).

Check out the 2014 Florida State Soccer Season Outlook:

By: Scott Moriak, FSU Assistant SID

Leadership & Experience

The 2014 Seminoles will field an experienced group with seven seniors on this year’s roster. Midfielders Marta Bakowska-Mathews, Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Hikaru Murakami, along with defenders Megan Campbell and Kristin Grubka and forward Jamia Fields create a solid foundation for a Florida State team looking to repeat as ACC Champions.

Florida State will also benefit from the experience of transfers Morgan Kennedy and Cheyna Williams. Kennedy started in all 20 matches at Oregon State in 2012 and appeared in 37 games over two seasons for the Beavers. Williams was a two-year starter for Vanderbilt and brings explosive skills to the Seminole attack after tallying 55 points as a Commodore.

Overall, nine starters from a year ago have come back for the new season and 13 of the 14 returning letterwinners started at least three games in 2013. The top six goal scorers, as well as the top eight players in assists from 2013 will be back donning the Garnet and Gold this fall.

Krikorian on the leadership of this year’s team:

“This is an area where I feel very comfortable with as we go through the season. Dagny will serve as our team captain this fall, but as she expressed to her teammates before we started preseason practice ‘you don’t have to be the captain to be a leader.’ And she is right, we have a lot of players on this team that have gained a lot of experience whether it is here at Florida State or another school, playing for their respective national teams or club teams. These players want to win a national championship; they know they have to work harder to get better after coming up short against UCLA last year. There is no doubt in my mind that everyone will hold each other accountable to work toward that goal, to train harder and to do the best job that we can each day.”

The Goalkeeping

The 2014 Seminoles will see a new goalkeeper following the graduation of All-American Kelsey Wys in 2013 after setting 17 total goalkeeper records throughout her four-year career. Redshirt freshman Cassie Miller from Cave Creek, Ariz., and Tallahassee’s own Caroline Brockmeier will compete for the starting spot to highlight the Seminole defense this season.

Miller redshirted the 2013 season at Florida State giving her invaluable experience to learn from Wys as Florida State set a new school record in goals against average with a mark of 0.55. Miller was a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American and also earned Arizona Division II First Team honors at Cactus Shadows High School in 2011 and 2012.

Brockmeier enters Florida State as a true freshman from Chiles High School after earning Defensive MVP honors for the Timberwolves in 2010 and 2011. She was ranked No. 26 nationally by TopDrawerSoccer.com coming out of high school and was the No. 3-rated goalkeeper.

Krikorian on the goalkeepers:

“It’s never easy losing a player like Kelsey Wys, someone who meant so much to our program the last four years, but we have two very good goalkeepers in Cassie and Caroline and we are excited to see how both will contribute to the team this year. Both are young players with a tremendous amount of talent. Cassie spent last year working very hard with both Kelsey and Mike (Bristol) and has made a lot of improvements to her game. Caroline is a highly touted keeper coming out of high school who has a great deal of talent. We feel that as both keepers continue to grow and learn the college game both will develop into top level goalkeepers.”

The Defense

Despite the loss of All-American and 2013 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Kassey Kallman, the core of the Seminoles’ defense returns with seniors Kristin Grubka and Megan Campbell anchoring the back line that posted 15 shutouts in 2013 and allowed more than one goal in a game just twice in 28 matches. Campbell also was a threat on the offensive end in 2013 with one goal and 13 assists as opposing teams struggled to defend her throw-ins. Her 13 assists rank second in FSU history in a single-season and trails only Mami Yamaguchi who tallied 18 assists during her 2007 season when she won the MAC Hermann Trophy.

Junior Isabella Schmid along with redshirt sophomores Kirsten Crowley and Kacy Scarpa also return to the Seminole defense after each made at least 11 appearances in 2013. Schmid recorded six points on two goals and two assists in 2013, while Crowley’s lone goal of the season against UCF helped her to win ACC Player of the Week honors on September 3.

Florida State ranked among the nation’s best in goals against average (11th – 0.551), shutout percentage (23rd – 0.536) and save percentage (52nd – 0.824) a season ago. FSU was also 14-2 in one-goal games, including six wins by a score of 1-0. The Seminoles’ two losses on the 2013 season each happened in overtime. FSU has not trailed at the end of regulation in 34 consecutive matches – a streak dating back to November 12, 2012 in a 4-2 loss to Virginia in the ACC Tournament.

Krikorian on the defense:

“Kassey Kallman was a tremendous leader and played a big part in the success of our team over her four-year career at Florida State. But her hard work and determination will carry on thanks to the group that we have returning this year.  Even though we lose two key components to our defensive alignment from last year, I am confident in the players that we have returning to pick-up where we left off. Kristin Grubka has been a three-year starter, working alongside Wys and Kallman the last two years, and will be a tremendous asset to our team defending. Kirsten,  Isabella, Megan and Carson all have experience playing on the backline and will serve as a formidable line as we move through the season.”

The Midfield

Dagny Brynjarsdottir will highlight the midfield attack for the Seminoles in 2014 as she led FSU in goals (14), points (33), shots (74) and game-winning goals (7) a season ago. Fellow seniors Hikaru Murakami and Marta Bakowska-Mathews will help give experience to a midfield looking to help maintain possession, a cornerstone of the Seminole attack. Every midfield starter from 2013 will be back looking to make yet another run at the College Cup as Florida State has reached the final site of the NCAA Tournament seven times in the last 11 seasons.

Senior Jamia Fields was integral to FSU reaching its second national title game appearance. Fields finished with five goals and 18 points on the season but her biggest performance came in the NCAA semifinal against Virginia Tech as she tallied her first career multi-goal game to help give FSU a 3-2 victory. She now has 22 assists in her career, which is tied for sixth-most in program history.

Juniors Carson Pickett and Michaela Hahn bring high energy to the midfield after a great 2013 season. Pickett recorded four goals and added four assists while Hahn finished tied for third on the team with seven assists as she added three goals of her own.

Sophomores Yulie Lopez and Nickolette Driesse will look to build upon impressive freshman campaigns a season ago. Lopez played in 15 games with three starts and recorded two assists at home against Auburn and Pittsburgh.

Driesse posted seven assists in 28 games on her way to first team All-Freshman honors by Soccer America as well as being named to the ACC All-Freshman Team. The Wayne, N.J., native was the only freshman on the 2013 roster to play in all 28 games and her seven assists tied for the fifth-most in a single season by a freshman in program history. Driesse gained valuable experience in August as a member of the U.S. U-20 team at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Krikorian on the midfield:

“When it comes to our midfield, we have a great deal of depth which will allow us to vary our attack throughout the year. I feel that the quality in the midfield is very good and probably ahead of where we have been in past years due to the fact that we return a lot of experienced and talented players.  It takes time for our players to gel with the possession style attack that we play, so to have a large number of players back from last year will shorten the learning curve especially for our newcomers.”

The Attack

The frontline attack for Florida State will come from redshirt sophomore Berglind Thorvaldsdottir and junior transfer Cheyna Williams. Thorvaldsdottir was third on the squad with seven goals in 2013 and also recorded three assists in 26 games to help the Seminoles set a program record with 23 wins en route to their seventh College Cup appearance.

Williams, previously from Vanderbilt, tallied 55 points in her two seasons at Vanderbilt and led the Commodores in scoring in both 2012 and 2013. She earned 2013 All-SEC First Team honors and was also named to the 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team.

Last season the Seminoles finished with 177 points on 59 goals and 59 assists. It marked the fifth highest scoring campaign in the Mark Krikorian era and the sixth-most points in program history. The four most productive seasons have come under the watchful eye of Krikorian (2007 – 233 points; 2009 – 204 points; 2008 – 194 points; 2005 – 188 points). Since 2007, the Seminoles are averaging over 60 goals and 61 assists per season.

Krikorian on the attack:

“From what I have seen during the preseason, I am very pleased with the players we have up top. The athleticism, quickness and their overall ability to read the run of play is what I have been impressed with the most. This year more than ever, I feel we have more options to help us in our attack which I hope leads to more goal scoring opportunities. And if we find ourselves in those situations, we need to make sure we do a good job of putting the ball into the back of the net.”

The Newcomers

Florida State adds seven new players in 2014 including five freshmen and two transfers. Three student-athletes joined the program in the spring of 2014, including Cheyna Williams, Caroline Brockmeier and Debbie Hahn while Emma Koivisto from Finland is the only international player from this year’s class.

Williams, a junior transfer from Vanderbilt, and Morgan Kennedy, a graduate student from Oregon State, will add to the on-field experience of the 2014 roster that consists of six seniors and four juniors returning from the 2013 College Cup and ACC title team.

Haylie Grant (Brentwood, Calif.) and Ari Hudson (Portland, Ore.) round out the remaining newcomers to join the Seminoles in 2014.

Krikorian on the newcomers:

“I have been very pleased with the work ethic and athleticism on display from our new players. To have Cheyna, Caroline and Debbie with us in the spring was huge, not only to learn the system but to familiarize themselves with the university and their teammates. Morgan Kennedy is a seasoned veteran, who adds a tremendous amount of playing experience at the college level. Add Ari, Emma and Haylie to the mix of this year’s new kids and I think we are going to be just fine. Now it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together and finding the best combination of players to start the season.”

Schedule

Eleven teams on the 2014 schedule participated in the NCAA tournament a season ago with eight schools ranked in the top 25, including four ranked in the top 10 of the final 2013 NSCAA Coaches Poll (Virginia – No. 3, Virginia Tech – No. 4, North Carolina – No. 5 and Florida – No. 10). FSU opens the season against perennial powerhouse Portland while the remaining non-conference schedule includes dates against Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Florida, St. John’s, Stetson and Connecticut before beginning conference play.

The Seminoles look to continue their dominance at home with 10 regular season matches scheduled within the Seminole Soccer Complex. FSU has not lost at home since October 16, 2011 and brings a streak of 35 consecutive home games without a loss into the 2014 season which ranks eighth all-time in NCAA history. Last year, FSU posted a 16-0-1 record at home and are now 102-8-5 at home under Krikorian.

Florida State will play a 10-game ACC schedule in 2014, including matches against fellow 2013 NCAA national semifinalists Virginia and Virginia Tech. The Seminoles will have five road games and play five times at home leading up to the ACC Tournament. The four teams with the best record in the regular season will participate in the 2014 ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., on November 7-9.

Krikorian on the schedule:

“We are excited as can be for the season to get underway. Once again we have challenged ourselves in the non-conference part of the schedule to prepare us for the ACC and then hopefully beyond. We will start off here against Portland and Minnesota, two very good teams. As we look at the non-conference segment we know it’s loaded with quality opponents. We know that by playing 10 ACC games, we are going to have 10 good games against very strong opponents. Every year we look forward to the challenges that the league schedule presents.”

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