[FLORIDA STATE WOMEN] In a move akin to an English Premier League club fielding a team of reserves in the FA Cup, Florida State left nine starters -- seven of them All-ACC selections -- in Tallahassee and fell to Wake Forest, 3-1, on Wednesday in the ACC quarterfinals in Cary, N.C. The move by Seminole coach Mark Krikorian seemingly intended to rest his stars for the NCAA Women's Tournament was met by a quick rebuke from ACC commissioner John Swofford, who called the decision "disrespectful."
Florida State is ranked 11th in the country in the Soccer America Women's Top 25 and finished the ACC season with a 7-2-1 record, tied for second place, only two points behind North Carolina.
It was a tremendous performance, given the loss of its two stars, junior’s Jessica Price and Tiffany McCarty, both medical red-shirts, over the summer.
But Krikorian started a freshman -- Madison Winter -- who had never started a game previously, and kept all 11 starters in the game for the entire 90 minutes. Only two of them -- Ella Stephan and Breezy Hupp -- had started in the Seminoles' previous game.
Wednesday's game followed a trip to Maryland last Thursday and Boston College Sunday.
"It was a coach's decision," Krikorian said after the Wake game. "We have 25 outstanding players at Florida State, and we thought that this was the best opportunity for us to be successful. We consider all the factors whenever we make every decision. Our players' health and welfare are the most important things for us. We have a plentiful roster and a lot of talent, and the players we had today did a great job."
Swofford didn't buy Krikorian's explanation.
“I’m highly disappointed in the decision Florida State made in not bringing its starters to the ACC Women’s Soccer Championship," Swofford said in a statement. "Our league has a long and rich national tradition in women’s soccer and the integrity of our championships should never be compromised. FSU’s action is disrespectful to our teams, players, coaches and the fans that support the ACC. It undermines the purity of the competition that a conference championship deserves. The value of sportsmanship and leadership runs deep in this league and both were lacking when Florida State made the decision to not participate in good faith at the ACC Championship. Conference action on this matter will be forthcoming.”