Aug. 21, 2003
Tallahassee, FL - For two weeks Florida State soccer players have been talking about how special the 2003 season could be and it seems like the national pollsters agree. For the second time this week, FSU soccer debuted in the top 15 of a preseason poll when they were ranked 12th by SoccerBuzz in the Internet magazines first poll of the year. This is the third straight top 20 preseason ranking for the Seminoles in the SoccerBuzz poll.
"We think its great that people outside of our program feel that good about what we can possibly do this year but ultimately we just want to put ourselves in a good position come the postseason," said head coach Patrick Baker. "We would like to finish in the upper half of the ACC, which is very difficult to do. Then hopefully we get to receive a bid when it comes time for NCAA selection. If we get in and make another solid run, we will validate that ranking. It is an honor though."
This is the third consecutive year that FSU has started a season ranked second in the southeast region by SoccerBuzz. Under Baker's guidance, FSU has become one of the elite teams in the south. For the first time ever this past season, the Tribe finished second in the region behind only North Carolina and ranked ahead of every ACC school but UNC in the final SoccerBuzz poll. In SoccerBuzz's final regional rankings FSU finished ahead of Clemson, Auburn, Wake Forest, Florida and Duke to name just a few.
"Sometimes I have to pinch myself because it wasn't that long ago that we weren't even in the top 10 in the region," said Baker. "Two of the last three years, North Carolina and ourselves have made the deepest run into the NCAA Tournament from the southeast region so I think that ranking is somewhat justified. I would love for that to happen again but we have a very difficult but exciting schedule."
Seven of the Seminoles' 2003 opponents appear in the SoccerBuzz poll including three top 10 teams. Leading the way is No.2 North Carolina followed by No. 9 Penn State and No. 10 Virginia. Seminole opponents Maryland, Clemson, USC and Duke are all ranked as well. Two other FSU foes, Florida and Mississippi, are receiving votes in the first poll.
The Tribe will play its first preseason game of the year versus the Tallahassee United Boys U-16 team tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. at the Seminole Soccer Complex. The squad will take Saturday off and then face United Quest (Georgia) U-18 girl's team Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at home also. There is no admission charge for either game and live stats will be available at www.seminoles.com the official athletic website for Florida State University.