TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State athletic calendar for the 2011-12 season officially began Wednesday morning as the Seminole soccer team took to the field for their first official practice of the season.
The Seminoles return nine starters and 14 letterwinners from last year’s squad that advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive year and for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. With many familiar faces returning in 2011 and an impressive batch of newcomers added to this year’s roster, the expectations are once again set on returning to the College Cup and claiming the first national championship in program history.
Head coach Mark Krikorian and his staff opened Wednesday’s practice with a fitness test before turning the team loose on a few technical drills to get things started.
“It is great to be out here,” said Krikorian. “We have been very excited for the group to show up and get back on campus. We feel as though we have a pretty talented group and a great deal of depth. Everyone came out this morning and looked great. We had a fitness test to start the day and most all of them blew it away which is what we were hoping for. We added a little technical work to get them back with the ball and start to lay the foundation of playing some beautiful soccer. I would say that the first session was quite positive and a good start for us.”
FSU returns its top three scorers from last year including Janice Cayman (23 points), Tori Huster (19) and Casey Short (13), while Tiffany McCarty and Jessica Price, one of the most prolific scoring duos to take the field under the direction of Krikorian, return to the pitch after missing the entire 2010 campaign due to injuries.
The Seminoles also welcome 10 newcomers to Tallahassee in 2011. Eight of the 10 student-athletes come in as freshmen including three who enrolled at FSU back in the spring of 2011 (Jamia Fields, Kristin Grubka and Connor Zwetsch) and a trio of international standouts (Marta Bakowska-Mathews from England; Dagny Brynjarsdottir from Iceland; Hikaru Murakami from Japan).
Florida State opens the 2011 season on the road as they head out west to face Oregon State on Friday, August 19. Stay tuned to www.seminoles.com for further updates on the Seminole Soccer team this year. In the meantime, here is this year’s season outlook:
2011 Season Outlook
The Florida State soccer program enters its 17th season as a varsity sport in 2011 posting an all-time record of 219-118-29. The Seminoles have registered a mark of 30-10-2 good for a .738 winning percentage in 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament. FSU sits with the fifth highest winning percentage and eighth most wins all-time in NCAA Tournament history.
Florida State has appeared in the College Cup four times since 2003, while playing for the national championship in 2007. The Seminoles are one of 10 schools to make four or more trips to the College Cup. For the first time in NCAA Tournament history, the 2011 College Cup will be played at the KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga.
Mark Krikorian enters his seventh year as head coach of the Florida State soccer program amassing a record of 108-28-13. Krikorian led the Seminoles to three straight College Cup appearances (2005-07) and a berth in their first national title game in 2007. He claimed a share of the ACC regular season title in 2009 and his Seminoles have finished no lower than fourth place in the ACC since his arrival on campus in 2005. Among active Division I coaches, Krikorian has the fifth highest winning percentage (.767) and ranks 14th in wins.
Krikorian on the upcoming season: “The expectations are high for this year’s squad. We are always expecting to have good seasons and to compete for national championships. The return of Jess Price and Tiffany McCarty will be very important to us. They scored 33 goals between the two of them in 2009, two offensive threats that we did not have last year. But you have to credit the rest of the team for finding different ways to remain competitive. The loss of (Amanda) DaCosta and the loss of (Rachel) Lim are big losses much like a couple years ago with the loss of Becky Edwards and her senior class. Those are seasoned players; they are players that have helped to establish the playing style that we have, control the tempo of games and dictate play. As I look at the collection of players coming back, having Kelsey (Wys) back in goal, having our entire back four intact from last year, to know that we have experience in those positions is very comforting. Then you look at the careers of Tori Huster and Casey Short and with Janice Cayman back, I feel that we have a very good collection of talent returning for this year. At the end of the day, it will be different since our central midfield will be significantly different without DaCosta, who filled that role for the last four years. I am excited for this year and I know the entire coaching staff is looking forward to the challenge and trying to put these pieces together in a fashion that will enable us to continue to be successful.”
Leadership & Experience
This year’s Seminole squad will have a wealth of experience as 11 of the 24-person roster are upperclassmen, including a six-member senior class. This year’s seniors have combined for 136 points on 45 goals and 46 assists in 285 career appearances.
Junior forward Tiffany McCarty was named team captain for the 2011 season. After missing the entire 2010 season due to injury, McCarty returns to the pitch with 45 career starts under her belt. She is tied for seventh in the Seminole record books with 69 career points and tied for fifth with 28 career goals. McCarty is already the school’s all-time leader in points (31) and goals (12) in ACC games.
Of the 14 letterwinners returning for the Seminoles in 2011, each person has made at least one career start. Nine started at least 18 or more games a season ago, while Janice Cayman (22), Kassey Kallman (22), Toni Pressley (22), Casey Short (22), Kelsey Wys (22), Tori Huster (21) and Tiana Brockway (20) started every game they played in 2010.
A program record seven student-athletes were named to the ACC All-Academic Team in 2010. Fourteen Seminoles went on to earn ACC Academic Honor Roll accolades during the 2010-11 school year maintaining a 3.0 overall GPA as well as a 3.0 GPA each semester. Redshirt junior Jessica Price became just the ninth Seminole to be named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll four times.
Krikorian on the overall experience of this year’s team: “We have a lot of players that have a great deal of different experiences; kids that have played in youth World Cups, we have kids that have played with the U-23’s, we have kids that have played with their senior national teams. Overall, I feel we have a very wide variety of players that have a wide range of experiences. In terms of the quality of depth, I feel we have a seasoned group that should be mature in both their play and their behavior. As for leadership, we feel that it should be a shared responsibility. When you have so many players with so much experience, it is certainly a good thing to have. When we look from top to bottom, we think that we have a lot of kids that will be able to assume a leadership role. The best part is that if the expectations and standards are set high by the staff as well as the veteran players on the team, the rest of the team will follow.”
Florida State returns 71.5 percent (93 of the 130 points) of its total scoring from last year including four student-athletes who registered double-digit points and five who recorded a game-winning goal. Senior Janice Cayman returns after leading the team a year ago in goals (9) and points (23), while the Seminoles welcome back its two leading scorers from 2009 in Jessica Price and Tiffany McCarty, who missed the 2010 season due to injuries.
McCarty and Price combined for 83 points in 2009 as they combined for 33 goals and 17 assists making them the second highest scoring tandem in school history. Together the duo represented 40.7 percent of the team’s total scoring in 2009.
Tori Huster and Casey Short are coming off a productive junior campaign after ranking second (19) and third (13), respectively in points. Huster posted career-highs in points, goals (6), assists (7), game-winning goals (3) and shots (55), while Short registered career-highs in points and goals scored with five.
Seventeen different Seminoles contributed with at least one point in 2010, while 13 Seminoles scored at least one goal. Seven Seminoles finished the season with double-digit points with four returning for the 2011 season.
Last year, the Seminoles finished the season with 130 points on 45 goals and 40 assists. It marked the second lowest scoring campaign in the Mark Krikorian era, but tied for the eighth most points in program history. The four most productive offensive seasons have come under the watchful eye of Krikorian (2007 – 233 points; 2009 – 204 points; 2008 – 194 points; 2005 – 188 points). Over the last four seasons, the Seminoles are averaging over 64 goals and 61 assists.
Krikorian on the attack: “We will be more dynamic in the attack this year in comparison to last year certainly with the return of Jess and Tiff as well as with Janice back for another season. We will have more options especially when you add Jamia Fields to the mix. She enrolled for the spring semester and scored four goals in five games. She is a powerful, strong kid who strikes the ball very well with both feet and she has a very good nose for the goal. When you are talking about Price, McCarty, Cayman, Fields, Tori Huster and Casey Short, you have a lot of different attacking weapons. My expectation is that we will be creating a lot of chances; then it’s a matter of putting the ball in the net. Fortunately these players are experienced players around the goal and I’m hoping that we will be able to finish a little bit more than we did last season.”
The Florida State midfield will look a little different in 2011 without the services of four-time All-ACC honoree and four-year starter Amanda DaCosta and three-year starter Rachel Lim. But Tori Huster and Casey Short, who have played significant minutes in the midfield throughout their first three years in Tallahassee, will look to fill that void.
Huster and Short have combined for 29 assists in their first three seasons and will look to add to those numbers with an array of scoring options in 2011. Huster is coming off her junior year in which she led the team in assists with a career-high seven, while Short is the school’s all-time assist leader in ACC games with 10.
CC Cobb, Katya Gokhman and Jordan Johnson also played valuable minutes in the midfield for the Seminoles last year. The trio appeared in a combined 49 games making eight starts while seeing over 1300 minutes of action on the pitch in 2010. Look for international newcomers Marta Bakowska-Mathews, Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Hikaru Murakami to see action as well in the midfield this year.
Krikorian on the midfield: “We have a great deal of talent that is very versatile, so we are going to have to figure out how we want to play. It is clear to us that Casey Short and Tori Huster, even Janice Cayman, are all capable of giving us significant minutes in the midfield. The big question becomes what is the best shape for us to play in. You add in some of the new players and then look and see how we are going to find balance. But at the same time, we realize that we have to have depth in the midfield. Casey and Tori are our most experienced players in the midfield. They are equally dynamic whether they are playing in the middle of the midfield or wider in the midfield. But until we get all the players on the field and see their qualities playing together, it is hard to judge where someone will play.”
When it comes to depth, look no further than the Seminole defense where the Garnet and Gold return five student-athletes (Tiana Brockway, Ines Jaurena, Kassey Kallman, Toni Pressley and Ella Stephan) with tremendous playing experience in the backline including all four starters from 2010.
Toni Pressley and Kassey Kallman are coming off All-American campaigns in 2010 with Pressley garnering first team accolades and Kallman earning first team Freshman honors both from Soccer America. Ines Jaurena (second team) joined Pressley (first team) and Kallman (second team) as All-ACC honorees in 2010. Pressley led all Seminole defenders in scoring a year ago with 10 points on four goals and two assists. Kallman also contributed from the backline with nine points on three goals and three assists. Four of the seven goals scored between Pressley and Kallman went down as game-winners in 2010.
Along with Pressley and Kallman, Brockway, Jaurena and Stephan have combined to appear in 240 games with a majority of their combined 216 starts in the backline.
The Florida State defense allowed a goal or less in 18 of 23 games last year. The Seminoles were so stingy on the defensive end giving up 20 goals on the season including a school record five during the ACC regular season. FSU finished the year as the ACC leader in shutouts with 13 and ranked second in fewest goals allowed (20) and saves (91). The 13 shutouts fell one shy of the school record set twice in 2006 and 2008.
Krikorian on the defense: “We feel very good about our backline. Our collective defending is a priority. We want to limit team’s chances against us and I think over the six years I have been here we have done a pretty good job of being a good, strong unit in defending and that certainly starts with having very good players. We have those players. We think our organization is good, we think that their positioning is good and we think that their athletic quality is good. But the other side is that if we have the ball, we won’t have to defend as much. The good news is that our back players are all quite good with the ball. Our style here has been a position oriented style and that will continue to be the case this year. (Associate Head Coach) Eric (Bell) leads the defending and has done a great job of that throughout his time here at Florida State.”
Kelsey Wys returns for her sophomore campaign a year after leading the ACC in saves (91), shutouts (12), shutouts per game (0.55) and save percentage (.843). She set the FSU freshman record for goals against average (0.76) and shutouts and ranked second in wins (16) and saves. Wys also has a wealth of international playing experience to look back on as she played for the U.S. in the 2008 CONCACAF U-17 National Tournament in Trinidad and Tobago and is a pool player for the U.S. U-20 team.
Junior transfer Taylor Vancil comes to Florida State after spending her first two seasons as the starting goalkeeper for the University of Louisville. In her two seasons with the Cardinals, Vancil appeared in 36 games making 35 starts. She posted a record of 15-20-1 with eight shutouts, 183 saves and a 1.56 GAA. Vancil has also seen playing time with the U.S. U-20 and U-17 National Teams and was a finalist for the Golden Glove award for U.S. U-17 team at the 2008 Women’s Youth World Cup.
Incoming freshman Monterae Carter was a standout in goal for Team Boca where she led her club team to the Region III championship and a second place finish in the state finals in 2011. She was the recipient of the Golden Glove award following the Region III Championships.
Krikorian on the goalkeepers: “I think we have a very good core of goalkeepers. (Assistant Coach) Mike (Bristol) is very excited about the goalkeeping group that we have. We know that in both Kelsey and Taylor that we have two very experienced goalkeepers and with Rae Carter coming in, she is a very good athlete that we believe will learn very quickly. In terms of goalkeeping, we are in a situation where we are as good as or better than we have ever been. The quality of the goalkeepers and the depth we have along with their training habits are all very good. Now it’s a matter of going out, working and getting better every day.”
Florida State adds 10 new players in 2011 including eight freshmen and two transfers. Three student-athletes joined the Seminoles a semester early enrolling during the spring 2011 semester, while this year’s class also includes a trio of international players in Marta Bakowska-Mathews from England, Dagny Brynjarsdottir from Iceland and Hikaru Murakami from Japan.
Jamia Fields, Kristin Grubka and Connor Zwetsch all got an early start to their collegiate career arriving on campus in January enrolling at Florida State for the spring semester. All three took part in off-season conditioning while collecting valuable minutes on the pitch during the Seminole spring season. Fields made a big impact during the spring season scoring four goals in five games including all three goals in a 3-2 win over intra-state rival Florida.
Taylor Vancil and Kara Buono are the two transfers in this year’s batch of newcomers. Vancil spent her first two seasons as the starting goalkeeper at the University of Louisville. She made 35 starts for the Cardinals and has a great deal of international experience playing with the U.S. U-17 and U-20 Women’s National teams. Buono appeared in 15 games making nine starts at Appalachian State during her freshman campaign in 2010. She tallied three points on one goal and one assist for the Mountaineers.
Krikorian on the newcomers: “Once again, we are very pleased with this year’s incoming class of newcomers. We have a lot of players, who represent a lot of different playing styles, but all of them are quality, elite level players that we expect can and will contribute right away. I feel our entire coaching staff did a tremendous job of increasing our pool of depth for competition within the team.”
Fourteen teams on the 2011 schedule recorded 10 or more wins a season ago. Thirteen schools earned a bid to participate in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, while five of those teams played into the third round of the tournament. This year’s opponents posted a combined record of 233-120-34 in 2010 good for a .646 winning percentage.
Of the eight non-conference games slated for the Seminoles in 2011, six of those teams participated in the NCAA Tournament last year, while five recorded at least 12 wins. FSU will face tough non-conference road tests when the Seminoles open the season on the west coast with matches against Oregon State and Portland and then on September 9 against intra-state rival Florida.
Florida State will open its ACC schedule on the road against defending league champion Wake Forest and at Duke on September 15th and 18th, respectively. The Seminoles host league matches against nationally ranked North Carolina, Maryland and Boston College, along with Miami and NC State.
The Garnet and Gold will open the 2011 season on the road at Oregon State followed two days later with a match against the Portland Pilots. This marks the second straight year Florida State has opened its season away from the friendly confines of the Seminole Soccer Complex as last year FSU defeated Washington State in Pullman, Wash. FSU is 3-4-0 when beginning the season on the road and are a perfect 2-0-0 when opening the year on the road against a school from the Pac-12 Conference (defeated Southern Cal in 2005 and Washington State in 2010).
Krikorian on the schedule: “We are going to compete with the best teams that we can. The opportunity to go out and play at both Oregon State and Portland is a great start to the season. We are going out there, playing in their back yard and they are going to have great crowds and a great environment and it will be a great test for us early in the season. We always play a very good non-conference schedule and I feel it will prepare us for what’s in store for when conference play rolls around. We want to challenge this group and put them in uncomfortable, challenging situations so that there are no surprises when we move into ACC play and hopefully the NCAA Tournament. The way our schedule shapes up this year I feel is very good for our players. We are going to learn a lot of lessons and controlling the tempo of the game is going to be important for us.”