Sept. 19, 2007
Tallahassee, Fla. - Throughout the season, Seminoles.com will take a closer look in getting to know the 2007 women's soccer senior class. Various features on this year's four seniors, which include Libby Gianeskis, Melissa Samokishyn, Holly Peltzer and Kirsten van de Ven, will be displayed on the official athletics website in what we call 'Senior Takes...'. This week Seminoles.com sat down with Libby Gianeskis for an exclusive one-on-one Question and Answer session.
by Brett Brecheisen
5-5, Senior, Defender
Tarpon Springs, Florida
Q: Your career at Florida State has included three NCAA Tournament appearances and two College Cup appearances in just three full seasons thus far. How much success did you expect to have when you decided back in high school to become a Seminole and have you met those expectations?
A: Making the decision to come to Florida State, I knew I wanted to be a part of a really good program and a program that had already established itself a little bit. I was excited to have the opportunity to get the chance to come here. When I arrived, FSU had just made it to the Final Four the year before so there were really high expectations coming in as a freshman. I think over the last few years it has been my goal to get back there every single time. When I came into college, I knew I wanted an NCAA National Championship and ever since I started playing soccer it has been my goal to win a championship at every level. I've gotten one in club and in high school so I need this one now. We still haven't reached the final game yet but I don't just want to reach it, I want to win it. It has been my goal since the beginning and I think we have the personnel and the focus to do it this year.
Q: You have been a consistent starter for the last three years and earned lots of playing time ever since you arrived in Tallahassee. Considering that this year's squad is relatively young, do you feel like your experience on the field in big games has led you to develop a leadership role on the team?
A: I think just being a senior, you know a little more than everyone else does, particularly the freshman since we have such a big class. That goes beyond soccer, too, whether it be academics or how to deal with school related things. It also applies on the field when we play against big time schools or in big, hostile environments. It does make a difference sometimes. For instance, I don't really get nervous anymore about a game. You just have to block everybody else out and if there is ever an opportunity for me to help someone younger get over something like that, then I look forward to it.
Q: Talk a little bit about the game-winning goal you scored at Wake Forest last year in the school's first ever win at WF and your penalty kick conversion in a shootout victory over the Deacs in the semifinals of last year's ACC Tournament.
A: I have been a defender pretty much my whole time at Florida State. I did play a little bit of outside midfielder and that allowed me to get into an attack mode a little more. I really enjoy moving up the field for corner kicks and having a chance to head the ball into the goal and that's something I take pride in. I don't get the chance to do that very often so when I did head that ball in against Wake Forest, it was an exciting experience for me. I don't remember much about the penalty kick goal in the ACC Tournament but I do recall that it just barely went in and it certainly helped the team.
Q: You did something in the semifinals of last year's College Cup that not many soccer players will ever have the opportunity to do and that is to play goalie. Looking back, what are your thoughts on the unique experience?
A: It's something that we had practiced before and I knew if we were in that situation that I would become the goalie, so I was prepared to do it. When the time came, I knew that's what was going to happen and I was just completely focused on playing that position and taking care of the role I needed to do. I remember that I actually had to save the ball (laughing) and the girl shot it right at me. Afterwards, when I replayed the game in my head, I just remember laughing. I threw the ball out to somebody and I thought it was the worst throw ever. It was like a sidewinder. It's funny now to think that I played in goal, had a black eye and was sprinting up and down the field because I was the goalie. When we had a couple of corner kicks I came all the way up and then had to chase a girl back. It was an interesting experience but it had a bad ending since we didn't win the game. Ideally, I wouldn't be in that position again but if the situation presents itself, I am more than happy and ready to do what I can. I had never played goalie before at any level and I am not really sure why anyone would willingly stand in front of people shooting rockets at them. It's beyond me but I just did the job the best I could.
Q: You signed your letter of intent to play with Coach Patrick Baker back in 2004. How has the program changed since Coach Mark Krikorian came along and describe the relationship he has with yourself and the rest of the team?
A: With Mark coming in, he laid out exactly what he expected from us. There was no gray area and there still isn't any gray area. We know exactly what he wants and what he is looking for. If you're able to do that and work hard everyday, give 100% in every single practice, then you'll be rewarded come game-time. He has always stayed true to that and I respect him a lot for it. He has always respected us as players both on and off the field. Mark has also taken a great deal of interest in our academics and it has helped all of us out a lot. He cares more about the academics than he does about soccer. His goal is to win a National Championship, as well, and he has said that right from the beginning. When he said that, I was completely on board with anything else he had to say.
Q: After three complete years and part of a fourth already in the books, what are your best and worst memories that you have taken from your experience with Seminole Soccer?
A: Some of the best things I can think of are just when we're all in the locker room together getting ready for a practice or a game and everyone is loose and goofing off. There's also nothing better than the feeling of playing on the field and knowing that everything flows and we are all playing together. Knowing that you are playing well and that everything is clicking is great. Beating North Carolina to go to the Final Four in 2005 was pretty monumental, as well. Definitely the worst memories are the flights home from the College Cup after a loss, not just once but twice.
Q: You have accomplished a lot thus far, both on a personal and team level. Other than a National Championship, what more would you like to accomplish before the season ends?
A: I really want to beat Virginia and to win an ACC Championship. Those are two minor goals compared to the NCAA Championship but Florida State, in all of our soccer history, has never beat Virginia and I would like to play on the team that breaks that trend. We tied them last year but we have never won.