Aug. 15, 2003
Tallahassee, FL - The 2003 Seminole soccer team is one step closer to finishing up three-a-days after completing its third session Friday. After morning fitness and an early training session, the team took to the game field for a full squad scrimmage. The team was able to play almost 40 minutes before heavy storms rolled through and caused the coaching staff to cancel the final game.
The first 20-minute scrimmage was a showcase for the gold teams attacking players as Julia Schnugg and Leah Gallegos both scored goals and Camie Bybee and Teresa Rivera recorded assists. Rivera's assist came on a long ball played over the top of the defense that Schnugg tracked down and placed inside of the far post from about 15 yards out.
In the second, rain-shortened game, Alli Ferreri recorded the only goal of the scrimmage. Schnugg and Bybee almost got on the board again in game two but a diving save by junior keeper Joy McKenzie was one of the highlights of the session. Overall, the entire freshman class, which was the most highly ranked in program history, continued to impress.
"(Julia) Schnugg and Toby Ranck had very good days. Not only on the track but in possession and playing and in the games tonight," said head coach Patrick Baker. "They really showed well for themselves. They are starting to make an impact and that's what you are looking for.
"(Kelly) Rowland, (Rachel) McDowell, Schnugg, Ranck and (India) Trotter have all shown very well so far. That entire group of freshmen at one time or another was working with a potential first unit tonight. There is a lot of room for growth and development still. We haven't had a great deal of time to work with them individually yet but what they have brought to the table in the first three days shows me that we made some very good decisions in the recruiting process."
Another highlight in the scrimmage was seeing familiar faces in different positions and watching the coaching staff experiment with some other formations. Matching the team's personnel to a system that will best utilize the talent has been exciting for the staff and the players.
"I like seeing people in different positions and playing in different spots myself," said senior co-captain Amber Tollefson. "It is also great to see us trying different systems that might fit our personalities a little better. I think we were all a little physically and mentally fatigued but we are all striving to be in that starting 11 and are working hard to get there. That continued today."
After a disappointing fitness session Thursday, Baker was very please with the way the team responded at the 7:00 a.m. session Friday. The squad ran 440's and the fitness level was much better than it was in day two.
"I thought the time on the track this morning was well spent," said Baker. "The girls stepped up after the first two days. I know they are sore and they are tired but they individually and collectively rallied. They put on a very good performance."
On top of working on possession in the middle session, several individual players stood out when Baker wrapped up the session playing the system game. All-ACC Rookie Team member Leah Gallegos continued to impress as she left teammates jaws hanging on numerous occasions with displays of individual skill.
"In the second session we worked on a topic we take great pride in, possession," said Baker. "The team is really starting to understand some of the supporting angles and seeing things a little bit quicker. They are starting to play the right ball and some of our younger players are getting used to the speed of play and the speed of thought required at this level.
"The end of the session gave a lot of players an opportunity to showcase some individual talent and some players really shined. The more we train and play, players are going to start to emerge."
Redshirt freshman Sarah Rosseau was held out of practice Friday as a precautionary move but is enjoying her first chance to go through a preseason. The Marco Island. FL native sat out all of 2002 with a back injury. Despite the fact many players are calling the 2003 preseason the most demanding ever, Rosseau wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
"It is definitely better to be out there doing it rather than watching it but that doesn't mean it isn't rough," said Rosseau. "It is something you have to go through. Watching it last year I knew it would be a struggle but I didn't know how it would make me feel. This day actually came quicker than I thought it would and I am just excited to finally be out there."
The final session of three-a-days will once again begin at 7:00 a.m. Saturday with another fitness session where the team will run 50's. The Seminoles will continue preparations for their preseason opener next week.
"Every year the standards are raised during preseason and this is the hardest one so far," said Tollefson. "With one day left we are all running on pure adrenaline right now. Once we get through fitness in the morning, tomorrow will be a fun day."
For complete updates on FSU soccer preseason action, log on to www.seminoles.com the official athletic website for Florida State University.