Oct. 3, 2002
Tallahassee, FL - The 17th-ranked Seminole soccer team (6-2-2) will look to raise their winning streak to four games Friday night when UCF (8-2-0) travels to Tallahassee. The Garnet and Gold have won three straight matches and five of their last six. With wins over Top 25 teams Clemson and Florida, FSU returned to the Top 25 in all four soccer polls this week. Friday evening's game will be broadcast throughout the state of Florida by the Sunshine Network.
"This is another big game for us. It's an in-state rivalry against a team that is off to a great start this year," said head coach Patrick Baker. "We feel like we have taken some good strides against Clemson and Florida and we just hope we can continue to take those type of strides tomorrow night versus UCF."
The Seminoles come into Friday night with some pretty impressive streaks in tact. With FSU's 2-1 win over the 21st-ranked Gators last Friday night, FSU has still never lost a home game on a Friday night (10-0-2) and has never lost to a ranked opponent on a Friday night (4-0-0) at the Seminole Soccer Complex since Baker's arrival in 1999. The Seminoles are also 14-1-3 since 1999 at home under the lights and 7-1-0 at night against ranked teams at home.
The Tribe is also looking to continue its winning streak versus teams from the state of Florida. The Seminoles have won eight straight games versus teams from the Sunshine State and are a perfect 3-0-0 this season. The last time the Seminoles swept their in-state rivals was 2000.
"We talked about wanting to do well against teams from the state of Florida," said Baker. "In 2000, we won the unofficial state title and we'd love to have that opportunity again this year. A win over UCF will take us one step closer to that goal.
"There are a lot of implications involved with this match. It's a big game for us. It's an in-state game and a big regional match-up. One of the things we are striving for is home field advantage in the NCAA's. We fell that with good wins over Miami, Clemson and Florida and some other keys wins in the state and in North Carolina, that we will have proven on the field that we deserve the opportunity to host. That has been a goal of ours after having to travel to Clemson last year."
Florida State enters the second half of the 2002 season Friday night and has matched the best start in program history through 10 games. The offense has averaged more than three goals a game over the last four matches and sophomore goalkeeper Kerry York has seen her GAA drop to a career-low 1.27.
"I think we just needed to train and we didn't have that luxury for quite a while due to our travel schedule," said Baker. "We felt good about coming home after our three-game swing in South Florida and starting to address some of the things we had seen against LSU, Missouri, Virginia Tech, Miami and Charlotte. We were able to make ourselves better for the next two opponents when we had some time to train. The greatest thing is to get feedback from game situations and then be able to address those issues in training.
"In all honesty, I like the fact that we have gotten some results here lately. I just think we are setting up for the stretch run now. We've just got one game this week and UCF has been our focus. We have worked on playing to our strengths and hopefully capitalizing on their weaknesses."
After Friday night's match with UCF, FSU will play four straight ACC games with two coming against teams ranked in the Top 6 of the national polls. After a Tuesday evening game in Durham, NC versus Duke, the Tribe returns home to face No. 6 Wake Forest and No. 1 North Carolina. Florida State will wrap up its four-game ACC swing in Raleigh, NC versus NC State Saturday, October 19. For complete bios, weekly releases, game stories, player features and live stats, log onto the official athletic website for Florida State University at www.seminoles.com.