Aug. 13, 2003
Tallahassee, FL - The first of four three-a-days for the 2003 FSU soccer team came to an end Wednesday night with the upperclassmen flexing their muscle against the nation's seventh-rated recruiting class. The Seminole returnees won a lopsided 5-0 scrimmage in the third and final session of the day.
"One of the biggest things that became apparent today was that we now have a starting point," said head coach Patrick Baker. "When you get your team back after the summer and you finally get to see a very talented freshman class it allows us to see some things that we have been waiting to see for a long time. We now have an idea of what direction we need to go with the rest of our training sessions."
The annual freshman versus upperclassman game came during the final session of three-a-days and went a long way to easing fears about the forward position due to the graduation of Cindy Schofield. The Tribe's only two returning forwards, Alli Ferreri and Leah Gallegos, each scored two goals and continued to build on a relationship up top they began to establish in the spring.
"I think Leah and I just fell into the same rhythm we had during the spring because we were surrounded by the same group on the upperclassman team," said Ferreri. "We work very well together and we were able to produce today. As a unit all the returnees played very well."
"We became so familiar with one another during the spring when we had a lot of time to get to know one another as players and as friends off the field," said Gallegos. "When we played together up top tonight, we just clicked due to the hard work in the spring."
Wednesday was the first taste of college soccer for one of the nation's top recruiting class. Despite the loss in the scrimmage, the new group acquitted itself very well especially when it came to fitness. Four of the top five times in the Cooper Test were turned in by freshmen.
"I was impressed by the fitness of the freshmen," said Baker. "The way Rachel McDowell stepped up and the other freshmen really seized a great opportunity to show they are physically ready and they are fit."
The day started off at 7:00 a.m. at Mike Long Track where the team went through physical testing including 40-yard dashes and vertical jumps. The squad then lined up for the Cooper where McDowell crossed the line ahead of everyone else. The four-year cross country letterwinner and sister of UNC's Mary McDowell and the Boston Breaker's Rebekah McDowell, set the pace and sprinted the last 100 yards to set the best mark.
"I think it was obviously a good start for me. I expected to do well but I didn't come in ever thinking I would finish with the best time," said McDowell. "Being from Colorado gave me a little bit of an edge due to the altitude. It felt nice but it doesn't mean much in the big picture."
"Today was really hard. The Cooper was challenging but I thought it was a great opportunity for bonding since we all got through it together," said freshman Kelly Rowland. "The training sessions were pretty intense. They were non-stop. The game was definitely frustrating but it was a great learning experience."
The second sessions of three-a-days begin at 7:00 a.m. Thursday, August 14, 2003. The Seminoles will continue preparations for their preseason opener next week. For complete updates on FSU soccer preseason action, log on to www.seminoles.com the official athletic website for Florida State University.