April 30, 2004
Q: What is your overall impression of how the spring season went?
A: We ended the spring season on a positive note and there were a lot of good things that happened throughout the spring that we can draw upon from both an individual and group standpoint. Ultimately the overall picture was very good at times. The fact that we didn't lose based on the competition we faced was a positive.
One of the things that was difficult is that it is tough defending a final four appearance and I think that will be the same in the fall. People look at you and approach you in a different way. That has probably been the most eye-opening realization of the whole spring. The perception of Florida State soccer has changed.
Q: What was this spring like returning every starter except for one from the College Cup team?
A: The interesting thing about that is we never played a single spring game with the 10 returning starters who lined-up when we faced UConn in the national semifinal. For various reasons we never played those 10 players plus one new starter. That was probably the most frustrating part of the spring. We would have loved to just start those 10 and audition players to step into Amber's vacated spot but injuries didn't allow that. I did warn the team at the end of the fall that nothing stays the same. I told them they can't approach the spring and next season as 10 starters are back and just one spot is available. Right now, I think 16 players started at least one game during the spring. Some players who never started a regular season game for us got multiple starts. That is a great thing for player development. A lot of those players logged meaningful minutes with the outcome of the game still in the balance. Hopefully that will make us stronger come this fall.
Q: Was there a theme or particular area you were focusing on this spring?
A: Towards the end of the spring, it was really about just making good decisions more often than not or being more dynamic. We know we have good players now but we have to keep pushing the envelope and raising the bar. At times I thought we did that. Last year the theme became team defense and we didn't allow a goal all spring. This year we gave up some goals but we didn't have an All-America in Katie Beal back there due to injuries. No disrespect to the players who filled in but when you lose an All-American and most of your other defenders are very young, you are going to have those moments and we did. I stressed to them that no matter who was playing or not playing, this is who were are and we have to step out and play to a certain level. We just kept striving to become better in all aspects of the game.
Q: Did any individual players stand out this spring?
A: I thought Teresa Rivera did a nice job from a playing standpoint when she had to slide in as a central defender for Katie Beal. It was good to see T back in the role she played as a freshman. With T sliding centrally, I thought Sarah Rosseau stepped in to her left back spot and did a very good job for us at times.
In my mind the two players who probably took of the most from the fall to the spring are freshmen Toby Ranck and Rachel McDowell. They were usually our first two players in the substitution rotation in the fall. Toby, from the opening weekend, played like the young lady we recruited. She was consistently good. She made good decisions. She used her pace, got end line, got good service and had the game-winning assist in our win over Florida. She scored a goal also later that day in a 1-0 win. She played exceptionally well as a wide player and we needed that.
Rachel, on the other hand, is so smooth on the ball and each week she just kept getting better. She had an exceptional game versus Miami and I think she is moving into the off season on a high.
I thought two players were the difference between us winning and losing throughout the spring - Jez Ratliff and Camie Bybee. Jez and Camie provided the performances that we needed at a very high level. It is just great to see Jez embrace the captain's role and become a leader, which isn't easy in the spring. In all facets of play making, Camie has done a remarkable job of making us go on the field.
Kelly Rowland's become much more of a vocal leader in the back four and has improved her game technically. Her U-19 national team experience opened her eyes to the next level and she has made very good strides this off season.
Q: The wide midfielder spot is open with the graduation of Amber Tollefson so you must feel good two wide players (Toby and Rachel) had such good spring seasons?
A: There is still a very good chance that Julia Schnugg could get called in for U-19 National team duty for World Cup qualifying and if that happens we will be forced to change the line-up. It is nice to know Rachel, Toby and Jez can all play there. With Julia spending a lot of time in National Team camps this spring, we got to see those players out wide and Ali Ferreri up top. It is nice we have a three or four player rotation in all those positions.
Q: What is Julia's situation as far as the US U-19 National Team is concerned?
A: She attended every camp from the end of the college season and up until the final camp prior to the start of World Cup qualifying in Canada. She did not make the group of 18 but is one of the first alternates. As any player would be, she was in every camp and is of course disappointed. She established an identity with that team and to not get that last phone call is tough. She is such a special player and person though that her response is that she is just going to keep working hard because you never know when that opportunity will come again. If that phone rings, she wants to be ready. I think she will have an edge also with the three extra weeks of training she will get as we travel to Australia.
GAME SCORES & GOALS
FSU 2 Tallahassee United 2
FSU 1 Florida 0
FSU 1 Hillsborough County United 0
FSU 1 UCF 0
FSU 6 CSA All-Stars 1
FSU 2 Georgia State 1
FSU 3 LSU 0
FSU 2 Miami 1