Texas Soccer: Preview of Florida State on Sunday

Florida State this weekend is going to be a reality check for Texas. FSU is listed at #5 in the NSCAA Preseason Rankings while Texas did not crack the top 25.*

The Horns will be playing FSU in Tallahassee in their last preseason matchup before their home opener in Austin next week. Although only a preseason game, a strong showing by the Horns in Tallahassee would be very encouraging. A bad showing could in fact be quite damaging to the confidence built up from a 3-0 victory over TCU last Wednesday.

FSU has an extraordinary lineup this year and are serious contenders for a national title. Both Tiffany McCarty and Jessica Price are back for the Seminoles after receiving redshirts last year due to injuries. In 2009, they were the top two scorers for the team, with McCarty putting in 17 goals and Price netting 16. In their absence last year, Belgian National Team forward Janice Cayman was the top scorer with 9 goals and 5 assists. Cayman will be back again for the Seminoles this year.

In their last two years of play, the Seminoles have only lost two games at home, going a combined 23-2-1 at home over two seasons. In addition to the firepower they have up front, defender Toni Deion Pressley is right at the top of the list of best defenders in the nation. After her senior season, Pressley is expected to be the top defensive pick in the 2012 WPS Draft.

As well as the three fine players already mentioned, the Seminoles also return their #2 scorer from last year, midfielder Tori Huster, and their #3 scorer, Casey Short. Even without the redshirted McCarty and Price last season, FSU outscored their opponents 45 goals to 20, putting in a season total of 15 more goals more than Texas while only playing 2 more games than the Horns.

Unfortunately the game will not be webcast as the Florida State coaches don’t want any cameras near the field. They are in fact calling the game a "closed scrimmage".  The media will be allowed to attend but without cameras. On a personal note, I considered going to the game, but the cost of flying to Tallahassee is a bit prohibitive and I’d like to save funds for possible road trips to regular season games.

If anyone else is going to the game, please do let me know. Any firsthand accounts of the game would be so greatly appreciated.

• As an afterthought, I realized that this quote last Wednesday night from Coach Petrucelli should be inserted here (and repeated from the last article). It helps explain what the Horns need to be focused on for the FSU game. When asked about the game against Florida State, Coach Petrucelli said:

“It’s a great test. They are a great team. They possess the ball better than any other team in the country, so it’s going to be a challenge for us. We are going to be chasing the ball around a lot. We are going to have to be good when we have the ball, because we are probably not going to have it that much. I think what you saw tonight [in the game against TCU] was that we can be effective in playing fast, and getting the ball forward. We are looking forward to it, and it will be fun.“


* Note on NSCAA preseason rankings: The rankings appear to be somewhat flawed and in fact should not be taken that seriously. Duke, for example, did not make the top 25 which is quite an error. Also the Big 12 Coaches in their own poll disagreed about the relative positions of the Big 12 schools.

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