Tallahassee, FL - The Florida State soccer team will open the 2012 season with high expectations not only from within the walls of the locker room at the Seminole Soccer Complex, but from the watchful eyes of those across the nation as well. FSU ranks No. 4 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Division I Preseason Rankings. The preseason top 25 was announced Tuesday by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
The preseason ranking is the highest for the Seminoles since 2008 when the Garnet & Gold opened the season at No. 4. The ranking also marks the sixth straight year FSU has earned a spot in the top 10 of the NSCAA's preseason poll.
"It is an honor to open the season ranked in the top 5,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “It also shows the level of respect we have earned over the course of time as being a top program. But it is where we finish at the end of the season that mean a lot more. We know that with the quality of the schedule that we have we are going to be tested from the beginning to the very end of the season."
Eight starters and 13 letterwinners are back from last year's squad that finished with 18 wins while capturing the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship for the first time in school history and advancing to the College Cup.
With five College Cup appearances since 2003, Florida State is one of only three programs in the nation, and the only school in the ACC, to play in soccer’s version of the ‘Final Four’ five times in the last nine years. Since 2000, the Seminoles have made 12 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, played in 10 ‘Sweet 16’s’ and advanced to the quarterfinal round seven years in a row – the longest active streak in the nation.
FSU returns five of seven players who recorded double-digit points last year including all-time leading scorer Tiffany McCarty (42 points), redshirt senior Jessica Price (17 points), sophomore Dagny Brynjarsdottir (13 points), senior Ines Jaurena (11 points) and sophomore Jamia Fields (10 points). Redshirt senior Casey Short returns to the pitch after missing the entire 2011 campaign due to an injury.
In all, the Seminoles return over 72 percent of their scoring from last year. The veteran leadership will come in handy for Krikorian and his staff as they welcome 13 newcomers in 2012.
Florida State is one of eight teams from the ACC ranked in the top 25 including one of five ranked in the top eight. The ACC is so good headed into 2012 that the Seminoles are the third highest ranked team in the league in the NSCAA’s pre-season poll. Duke and Wake Forest are ranked second and third, respectively, while Virginia is ranked No. 7 and North Carolina is ranked No. 8.
“It doesn’t get much tougher than the ACC,” added Krikorian. “Eight teams in the top 25 and five in the top 8, it’s a credit to the quality of the institutions, the coaches, the players and their commitment to excellence in this league.
“We continue to see good players out there that are really interested and excited to play in the ACC. There is a reason for it because you know every time you play that the opponent is going to be a good opponent. The league this year from top to bottom is the best that I have ever seen.”
Florida State's quest for the school's first national championship begins on the road for the third year in a row as the Seminoles open the 2012 season in Minneapolis, Minn., against the University of Minnesota on Friday, August 17.