Sept. 16, 2006
Tallahassee, FL - The No. 1 Florida State soccer team will look to continue its impressive start to the 2006 season when the team begins a three game road trip in Boca Raton Sunday at noon. The Seminoles (5-0-0) will make their first-ever trip to FAU (3-2-1) to face the Owls as they look to remain perfect in the series with Florida Atlantic. This will be the second meeting in the last 10 games with FAU. The teams met in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
"FAU is a good team, they are disciplined and well organized," said FSU Head Coach Mark Krikorian. "Last year in the NCAA Tournament they stifled us for quite a while in the game. I think it will be a good, hard competitive game. It is supposed to be a beautiful day in Boca. It will be a great day for a good game of soccer."
"I think it helps a lot to have played FAU recently," said junior Kirsten van de Ven. "We have a good picture of them. They are a good team and this will be a tough game. You can't read too much into what happened last year. Both teams have players that aren't back and new players that are making an impact. There are so many things that change from one year to the next."
The Seminoles are off to the second-best start in program history. Last year the team bolted out to a 7-0 start. With a win over UCF Wednesday night, Florida State is in position to continue another impressive streak. FSU has now won seven straight versus opponents from the state of Florida and eight in a row versus Florida teams on the road.
"Obviously this is a good start for us and we are happy with where we are through five games," said senior Kelly Rowland. "FAU is a good team and we will need to be at our best if we want to keep winning. We are going to have to go into their stadium and do all the little things to have a chance at a result.
"We pride ourselves on doing well versus other teams from Florida. We want to be known as one of the best teams in Florida and one of the best in the country. Come NCAA Tournament time when people look at our resume if we have done well against the teams in this state we put ourselves in a better position to host. Especially since Florida, FAU and UCF are regulars in the postseason."
The game versus Florida Atlantic carries extra meaning for many of the players. Nine players on the FSU and FAU rosters are from Boca Raton or the closely surrounding areas. With such a large group of players sharing roots, it is a little surprising that only three attended the same high school. FSU's India Trotter and Colette Swensen and Christina Rodriguez from FAU are all seniors who attended St. Thomas Aquinas and played for Team Boca. Besides that pair, none of the Seminoles and Owls were high school teammates but many played with or against one another on club sides.
"It is always nice to go home especially in my senior year," said Trotter. "I get to eat at home and see some friends. I know a bunch of girls on FAU and in a sense I get to play in front of a home crowd. It will be a lot of fun.
"There is a lot more crossover with FAU compared to other Florida schools when it comes to knowing players. We know a ton of FAU players. I grew up playing with a lot of those girls. We don't play FAU as much so the rivalry isn't as big as it is with Florida but there is still some playful banter going back and forth. It is going to be great."
As much meaning as the game carries to all the South Floridians on both sides, for Krikorian he will take the same approach to the game as he does each time out. For the Seminole head coach, FAU is another quality opponent that will test his side as they continue to try and build on the first five games of the season.
"I think every game we play we look at the same way," said Krikorian. "We want to go out, perform well and give ourselves a chance to win. I don't know it means anymore or any less than any other game. It is another chance for us to measure ourselves and get better. We want to improve every time we go out."
The Seminoles will enter the game off of back-to-back shutouts and they have recorded clean sheets in three of the last four matches. Florida State's streak of not allowing a goal now stands at 231:08. FSU has never allowed a goal to FAU in the two meetings between the teams.
Offensively, the Seminoles are not off to quite the same start as they were in 2005 when they recorded 18 goals in the first five games. This season FSU has just half as many goals trough the same span. Last year Florida State had just one game in which they won by a goal through the first five. This year that has been the case in three of the five FSU victories.
"I think the offense is coming along great," said Trotter. "Different people are scoring goals. Everyone is playing well. We have great pieces on the outside and the build-up from the back is amazing. I think we have an enormous amount of potential that has a lot of room to grow from here."
"We are getting better," said Krikorian. "As we get some of our injured players back we will get more depth. We will get better as the season goes on. It is hard to tell a whole lot from the UCF game due to the weather. Our group responded again. We have given them a variety of challenges and each time they have met the challenge. Not always as cleanly as we would like but for the most part we are on a good course right now."
Sunday's game is set for a 12:00 p.m. start on the campus of Florida Atlantic. Fans who are unable to attend can follow all the action on SUN Sports live telecast of the tilt. There will also be an Internet radio broadcast at Seminoles.com along with Game Tracker.