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Women's Soccer National Champs Moneymaker
2006 FSU Soccer Season Outlook
Courtesy: Seminoles.com
Release: 08/24/2006
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Aug. 24, 2006

GENERAL OUTLOOK

u Florida State returns nine of 11 starters from their 2005 College Cup team and 13 of the 19 letterwinners are back this year as well.

u The Seminoles return every statistical leader offensively and defensively from a record-breaking season last year.

u The 2005 season marked the sixth straight time FSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament and the Seminoles have advanced to at least the round of 16 in four of those six tournaments.

ACCORDING TO KRIKORIAN

"I am excited for the 2006 season. We have built upon the tradition of success that was started here with Patrick Baker and his staff. We will have a pretty talented group. There are always a lot of unknowns and uncertainties when preseason starts because you never know how a team in going to mesh. Last year everything went right for us. The group meshed very quickly and it seemed like we got breaks all along the way when we needed a break. There was certainly more involved than just that. We did our fair share as a group in the success we had last season. This year's group is fit, they have a good mentality, they train hard and right now we all feel pretty good."

Burning Question: Last year's team came into the season with something to prove as the squad was unranked and had a new coach. Will the same level of desire be there coming off the best season in school history?

"I think we are coming into this season with even higher expectations for ourselves and more to prove. I don't think any of us feels we went out of the College Cup the way we wanted to go out. We were there to win it all and that was our goal. Our performance in the national semi-final versus UCLA was a surprise to everyone in this locker room. This year's freshman class is one of the best I have seen in my years at Florida State so our goal is to start out strong and end that way as well."

- Melissa Samokishyn

EXPECTATIONS IN 2006

u Florida State will enter the season with the highest preseason ranking in program history.

u Soccer Buzz not only tabbed FSU No. 4 in the nation but it picked Florida State No. 1 in the Southeast. That is the first time in the history of the poll a team has unseated North Carolina atop the preseason regional poll.

u The ACC coaches have high expectations for FSU in 2006 as well. For just the second time in conference history, Florida State was picked to finish second in the nation's top soccer conference.

u The first time the Seminoles went to the College Cup (2003) the team was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament the following season.

 

ACCORDING TO KRIKORIAN

"Obviously that is a different type of pressure. You want to get to a point where the expectations of your program are that you will make the NCAA Tournament, you will succeed in the tournament and you are going to be playing in meaningful games at the end of the year. Is it realistic to think you will do that every year? I am not sure. Certainly that has to be the goal. I do like the focus the team has come in with. We have talked a lot about the idea that some people have of "one-year wonders" and how we can prevent that from occurring. Our leadership among the players has been very positive. Our leaders have a great outlook and will have to lead this team in the right direction. We have high expectations for ourselves this year just as we had high expectations last season. At the end of the year we will look back and see if we met those expectations."

Burning Question: The expectations surrounding Florida State soccer have never been higher. Is this where you want to be as a team or would you rather start a season without such lofty expectations?

"Personally I would rather we came into this season like last year. It is fun when you are unranked and nobody expects much out of you and you're the underdog every game. The fact that the expectations are there, now it is our job to live up to them. We want to prove to everyone that we have made it to the College Cup two of the last three years and we deserve to be there again. We are still striving to be seen as one of the most consistently successful programs in the NCAA."

- India Trotter

THE ATTACK

u When FSU opens the season versus Portland, players responsible for 56 of the team's record 65 goals in 2005 will still be in uniform.

u This is just the second time in school history that FSU will return a group of players that accounted for more than 50 goals the previous season.

u In 2005, FSU's attack generated a school-record 188 points. This season players who accounted for 145 of those points (77%) will be back wearing Garnet & Gold.

 

ACCORDING TO KRIKORIAN

"We think we have good pieces again. There is a little bit of uncertainty with three significant injuries. Kirsten van de Ven, Melissa Samokishyn and Onnie Trusty are all still not fully fit from off season injuries. Those are important pieces for us. Early in the year we will probably have to adjust things a little bit to compensate for their injuries. When the time comes and we have the whole group healthy on the field, we could be a dangerous attacking team."

Burning Question: Last season was the most prolific in FSU history as far as goals scored. Will this squad be able to generate the same kind of offense?

"I think we will be able to reach that level again. The way things look in practice right now I feel confident that the off-season additions will bolster our attack. All the competitiveness we have on the practice field everyday helps us continue to play at a high level. We lost some good players but I know the players that are here are ready to step up and do what we need to have similar success offensively."

- Holly Peltzer

THE MIDFIELD

u Replacing first team All-American Viola Odebrecht will be the toughest challenge facing FSU this season. The junior scored nine goals and recorded eight assists in 2005.

u Viola Odebrecht is the only player that started more than one game in the midfield in 2005 that is not returning in 2006.

u Last season nine players combined to make 100 starts in the FSU midfield. Seven of those players are back and they combined to make 75 starts.

 

ACCORDING TO KRIKORIAN

"We have a lot of different pieces in the midfield. One of the things we have done in recruiting is getting versatile players. Last year we saw that with India Trotter starting in the midfield and sometimes playing as an attacking midfielder, as a defending midfielder and at times going up front. That was also the case with Selin (Kuralay), van de Ven and with many of our players. We have a lot of versatility in the way we can play. It is hard for me to project what the starting midfield will look like because one of the benefits of being this versatile is we get to look at a lot of different opportunities. We won't know all the answers until we see everyone together in a competitive environment. What we do know is we have some good players and it is just a matter of figuring out what the best fit is."

Burning Question: How hard will it be to replace a player like Viola Odebrecht?

"She is an extremely hard player to replace. Her level was so high that it is difficult to believe that just anyone can step in and bring what she brought. She organized the team, she always had everyone in the right place and she came up big when we needed her the most. She drove this team. It will take all of us stepping our game up to cover for the loss of Viola."

- Kirsten van de Ven

THE BACKLINE

u Kelly Rowland will enter the 2006 season having started all 71 games of her career in the middle of the Seminole defense.

u Katrin Schmidt, Kelly Rowland and Sarah Wagenfuhr combined to start 74 games in the FSU backline last season.

u Four-year starter Teresa Rivera is the only defender not returning in 2006. Florida State will also be without Sarah Wagenfuhr at the start of the season due to commitments to the U-20 US National Team.

 

ACCORDING TO KRIKORIAN

"Kelly Rowland has been a leader and an important piece for three years here as far as leading the defenders. She certainly will impose herself into the team. When we get Wags (Sarah Wagenfuhr) back from the U-20 World Championships, she will come in and step right in. Onnie Trusty is capable of walking in and helping us. It is great to have Katrin Schmidt back at the left back position. With a year of experience and playing here, she will be even better this year. We have three very good pieces returning and we have some other possibilities for players to step in at the right back spot."

Burning Question: Last season Florida State allowed just 22 goals and recorded a season-best 11 shutouts. Can this year's group repeat that type of performance?

"I think we have a pretty good chance of not only repeating what we did last season as a defense but exceeding those numbers. With three returning starters and the freshmen we have coming in, we have a legitimate chance of having another record-setting season in the back."

- Kelly Rowland

GOALKEEPING

u Ali Mims enters the season coming off the best year ever by an FSU goalkeeper. The six-year senior posted a 0.90 GAA and nine shutouts.

u FSU's senior keeper is the career leader for wins at FSU and she set single season records for shutouts, GAA and wins in 2005.

u Ali Mims will look to join Melissa Juhl as just the second FSU keeper to ever start a match in four seasons as a Seminole.

 

ACCORDING TO KRIKORIAN

"Ali Mims is an incredible story. I have said it countless times. I don't think I have ever heard such a fantastic story of will and determination in this sport. She continues to impress. She is healthier this year than she was last year. She is more fit. She has come in as she always does with a professional attitude and mentality. I am really pretty excited about working with her again. I think she is going to have another very good year."

Burning Question: After everything you have gone through over the last six years, how big of a factor will your health and physical conditioning be in your final season as a Seminole?

"I think that is a huge factor. My biggest obstacle will be maintaining my body and staying healthy. As long as I can do that I will be able to do what the team needs me to do. Last year was something I will build upon. We had great success in the back. I am excited about that. There is still room for improvement. This year I will set higher goals for myself, the defense will set their sights higher and the whole team as well."

- Ali Mims

THE SCHEDULE

u The Seminoles will face four top 10 teams and six teams ranked in the top 15 this season.

u This is the second time in program history that FSU will open a season versus the National Champions. That also happened in 1999 when FSU traveled to Gainesville to face the Gators.

u This will be the seventh time in FSU's 12 seasons that the squad has played at least one game versus a defending National Champion. It will be FSU's 11th game in program history versus a reigning NCAA Champion.

u Nine teams on the Seminoles 2006 schedule played in the NCAA Tournament last season including three of FSU's out of conference opponents.

 

ACCORDING TO KRIKORIAN

"I think this is a good schedule for us. It sure will be competitive. There are a lot of ways to go with your schedule because the ACC is so competitive. You can try and soften it up a little bit and play some teams that might be easier to put into the win column but at the end of the day I am not sure how much that benefits you. We can continue to play good teams because we want to play them and they want to play us. We want to play good teams. That is our goal and the ambition we have."

Burning Question: Four of your first seven games will come against either top 15 teams or squads that played in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. How much weight are you placing on the first month of the season?

"It is important to have a good start versus high quality competition. Those games are going to be huge challenges considering we are starting of the season in the top five ourselves. There are a lot of expectations and people will look at those early results to gauge where we are at. We need to play hard and prove we can consistently play with the nation's best teams."

- Toby Ranck

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