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FSU Soccer Opens Practice On Thursday
Courtesy: Seminoles.com
Release: 08/15/2007
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Aug. 15, 2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The quest for a third straight College Cup appearance begins Thursday, August 16 as the Florida State women's soccer team opens practice at 9 am at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Twenty-eight student-athletes, including 14 newcomers, will take to the field on Thursday under the direction of third year head coach Mark Krikorian.

Florida State returns six of 11 starters and 14 of 24 letterwinners for the upcoming season. Included among the six returning starters are all four of FSU's starting backline from a season ago. The quartet of Katrin Schmidt, Libby Gianeskis, Sarah Wagenfuhr and Becky Edwards guided the Seminoles to its finest defensive season in school history setting single-season records for shutouts (14), GAA (0.67) and the fewest goals allowed with 18.

The Seminoles list just four seniors on the roster in 2007 marking the smallest senior class since 2003 and 2005 when Florida State listed two seniors on its roster. Ironically, in both those seasons FSU advanced to the College Cup. This year's senior class includes Gianeskis, forward/midfielder Holly Peltzer, defender Melissa Samokishyn and midfielder Kirsten van de Ven.

Florida State set a school record in 2007 welcoming 14 newcomers which include 11 freshmen and three transfers. It is the biggest group of new faces on a Seminole roster since 1999 when FSU added 11 players. The new batch of players also came highly regarded earning the school's highest ranking in program history. The Seminoles were recognized by Soccer Buzz with the nation's second best recruiting class in 2007, while grabbing the top spot in the Southeast Region. Both rankings are the highest garnered in the program's 13-year history.

"Certainly the foundation of our team will be our backline and our team defending, which has been a cornerstone since I've arrived at Florida State," said Krikorian. "The defense has the potential to be a really big strength for us as we replace many talented players from last year's squad. Graduation hit us pretty hard with the loss of Ali Mims, India Trotter, Kelly Rowland and many others. We are going to be a very new, very different team. But I also think it's going to be a very exciting team. Our expectations are very high on having an outstanding season."

The Seminoles will get their first taste of live action when they travel to the east coast of Florida on Friday, August 24 to face Jacksonville University in an exhibition match at 1:00 pm. That quest for a third straight College Cup appearance begins in Portland, Ore., on September 1 as Florida State opens the 2007 regular season schedule on the road against the Portland Pilots.

Here is a listing of the practice dates and times during the preseason:
Thursday, August 16 - Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Friday, August 17 - Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Saturday, August 18 - Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm (Scrimmage)
Monday, August 20 - Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm (Scrimmage)
Tuesday, August 21 - Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Wednesday, August 22 - Morning Session: 10:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Thursday, August 23 - Morning Session: 9:00 am; Afternoon Session: 5:00 pm
Friday, August 24 - Exhibition Match at Jacksonville, 1:00 pm

For a more inside look at this year's Florida State women's soccer team, Seminoles.com presents the 2007 Season Outlook.

Preseason Picks
* For the second consecutive year, Florida State was the coaches' pick to finish second in the ACC Preseason Poll as the Seminoles garnered one first-place vote for 104 points in 2007. The Seminoles have now been picked to finish in the top four of the ACC in five of the last six seasons. It marks the third time in the program's 13-year history that FSU has been slated to finish in second place. The 104 points accumulated by the Seminoles ties a school-record set a season ago.

* For the second consecutive season and for the third time in four years, the Florida State women's soccer team will begin the preseason ranked in the top 10. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Soccer Buzz announced their preseason national rankings on Tuesday, August 14 placing the Seminoles among the nation's elite. The NSCAA ranked FSU at No. 6, while Soccer Buzz placed the Garnet and Gold at No. 8.

The Attack
* The Garnet and Gold will look to replace three of their top four scorers from a season ago. The 10 letterwinners lost after last season accounted for 56.3% (72 of the 128 total points) of the total scoring in 2006. Junior midfielder Mami Yamaguchi is the top returning scorer on the team as she ranked third in scoring last year with 16 points (6 goals, 4 assists).

* Of the seven Seminoles who started at the front in 2006, three return combining for 11 starts. Mami Yamaguchi and Kirsten van de Ven each started four games at the forward position, while senior Holly Peltzer registered three starts last year.

* The Seminoles will be without the services of Selin Kuralay, Kelly Rowland and India Trotter in 2007. The trio combined for 75 starts a year ago. Kuralay and Trotter ranked one, two on the team in goals scored, points and shots on goal. Kuralay led the Florida State offense the past two seasons with a combined 29 goals, 70 points, 202 shots and 11 game-winning goals.

* Florida State registered the seventh highest scoring season in school history last year posting 128 points on 44 goals and 40 assists. Six of those seven seasons have occurred this century. In two seasons under head coach Mark Krikorian, the Seminoles are averaging just over 54 goals and 49 assists.

The Midfield
* Mami Yamaguchi is the most experienced returning midfielder in 2007 with 22 starts at that position last year and 24 as a freshman in 2005. Yamaguchi was named to the Southeast All-Region third team by Soccer Buzz in 2006.

* Along with Mami Yamaguchi, Kirsten van de Ven (14) and Onnie Trusty (5) are the only other returning Seminoles with more than one start at the midfield spot.

* When comparing positions on this year's roster, the midfield has the most depth with nine student-athletes listed to play at that position in 2007. Six of those student-athletes are new to the team including four freshmen and a pair of transfers in Erika Sutton (San Diego State) and Lauren Switzer (UCLA).

The Backline
* If there is a more experienced position on this year's Florida State team, look no further than the backline. Katrin Schmidt, Libby Gianeskis, Sarah Wagenfuhr and Becky Edwards combined to start 96 games defending the Seminole goal last season.

* Sarah Wagenfuhr begins the season on the watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy, presented at the end of the year to the nation's top collegiate soccer player. Wagenfuhr becomes the fifth Seminole in four years to be named to the watch list of this prestigious award.

* Becky Edwards returns for her sophomore campaign a year after she led the team in assists (8) and game-winning assists (5). Edwards became the fifth Seminole freshman to lead the team in assists and the first since Leah Gallegos tallied seven in 2002. Her five game-winning assists also tied the school record set by three other players.

* Katrin Schmidt led the backline in scoring a season ago with five goals and three assists. She enters the 2006 season as the second leading returning scorer. Schmidt recorded the school's first-ever hat trick in the NCAA Tournament last year scoring three first half goals in FSU's 6-0 win over Jacksonville in the first round.

Krikorian on the attack, midfield and backline: "It's very rare at any level that a team is able to keep its entire backline intact. We feel very fortunate to be able to have our back four returning. The other part of the equation is that all four of those student-athletes are very versatile. So if something happens elsewhere on the field, we know we will have the players available to fill those spots. A lot of our returning players are going to increase their roles on this year's team assuming more responsibility and taking on more of a leadership role. My expectations for these players will be very high. I think they are going to come in from day one and establish themselves as important and vital to our team's success."

Goalkeeping
* With the departure of Ali Mims, the biggest question entering the 2007 season is who will get the nod as the Seminoles' starting goalkeeper. Mims started all 26 games a season ago posting a record of 18-4-4. The senior keeper set single-season school records for shutouts (11) and GAA (0.65) last year.

* Florida State lists four goalkeepers on this year's roster, with the quartet combining for only four career starts at the collegiate level. Kate Milstead, a sophomore transfer from Penn State, owns all four of those starts as she moved into the Nittany Lion starting line-up for the final three games of the 2006 season. She appeared in a total of five games last year posting a record of 4-1-0.

* A pair of sophomore's in Kimmy Diaz and Becky Thompson are back for year two in a Seminole uniform. Both appeared in two games last year with Thompson leading the way in minutes played at 31:36, while Diaz registered 28:49 in goal. The two net minders did not give up a goal in 2006.

* Freshman Erin McNulty comes to Florida State via Winnipeg, Manitoba with a wealth of international playing experience. She participated as a full-time member of the U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-18 Canadian National Team. McNulty started in goal for the U-20 team at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Veracruz, Mexico in 2006.

Krikorian on the goalkeepers: "When you have four keepers that have diverse backgrounds, it gives you a lot of different options. Each of them is coming to FSU with different qualities that will make them successful. But it will definitely be a competition for playing time. It was very clear for the past two years that Ali Mims was our first keeper. This year there is a little more competition. Kimmy Diaz and Becky Thompson, who were on the team last year, have a year of college under their belt and have racked up the minutes this summer on their W-League teams. Kate Milstead, who came to Florida State last spring from Penn State, played a lot of minutes during our spring season. She has been training and working at camps this summer. Erin McNulty has been participating in the W-League in Ottawa this past summer and has been playing and training at a very high level. I think all four of them will come in sharp and ready to compete for playing time this year."

Newcomers
* For the third straight year, the Seminole roster will include international players as Sanna Talonen (Finland) and Erin McNulty (Canada) join the squad in 2007.

* This year's class features three transfer students who come to Florida State with prior playing experience from their previous schools. The three transfers include Kate Milstead (Penn State), Erika Sutton (San Diego State) and Lauren Switzer (UCLA).

* Five of FSU's recruits were ranked among the top 150 in America by Soccer Buzz Magazine. Those student-athletes include Amanda DaCosta, Marissa Kazbour, Casey Lademann, Margo McAuley and Jessica Price. Erin McNulty was listed among the top international recruits in 2007 by Soccer Buzz as well.

Krikorian on the newcomers: "We feel as though we have a good recruiting class and are very comfortable with the players coming in for the upcoming season. We know we lost some very good players from last year, but we also think with the class coming in that they will develop into very good players over the course of time. Our staff is very pleased with the kids that will be joining us at Florida State in 2007.

The Schedule
* Twelve teams on the 2007 schedule recorded 10 or more wins a season ago. Nine schools earned a bid to participate in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, while six of those teams played into the third round of the tournament.

* For the second straight year and for the eighth time in FSU's 13 seasons, the Seminoles will play against the defending national champs as they host the North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday, September 27. The Seminoles will face three schools in 2007 that have captured a national title (North Carolina - 18 titles; Portland - 2; Florida - 1).

* Florida State will open the 2007 season on the road at Portland. It marks the sixth time in 13 years that the Seminoles will open the season away from the friendly confines of the Seminole Soccer Complex. FSU is 2-3 when beginning the season on the road in five prior contests. The Seminoles welcomed the Pilots to Tallahassee to open the 2006 slate.

Krikorian on the schedule: "We are really excited about the '07 schedule. We have a collection of other teams, never mind the ACC schedule, that are going to be very challenging for us. We are interested in playing the best teams that are available. Starting out in Portland will be a tough task for us, but we are looking forward to it. The ACC schedule has the chance to make or break a season. We need to be on top of our game, stay healthy and get some positive results in league play that will provide our team with the appropriate preparation if we are fortunate enough to play in the NCAA Tournament. With such a strong conference and a great collection of teams, we know that we will be challenged every time out."

Leadership
* Florida State's four seniors have combined to play in 205 games, 33 of which occurred in the NCAA Tournament. All four seniors have played in at least one College Cup match over the last two years.

* Junior defender Sarah Wagenfuhr was named team captain for the upcoming season. Wagenfuhr has started 48 games in her first two seasons as a Seminole. She was named a watch list candidate for the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2007, an award given to the top collegiate player in the nation.

* Of the 14 letterwinners returning for the Seminoles in 2007, eight started at least one game a season ago. Six of the eight started at least 18 or more games, while Katrin Schmidt is the only returner to have started in all 26 games last year.

Krikorian on the leadership of this year's team: "Leadership is always an important aspect. If you have the right people in the right places to lead, then your opportunity for success is greatly increased. Sarah Wagenfuhr, who is the captain in 2007, will do a very good job in helping to guide this team forward. We know we will be a young team. We also recognize that we have a lot of student-athletes with a lot of character and a lot of positive personality that will help lead us in a very good direction."

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