[TOP 5 PREVIEW] If you think Florida State was good in 2010 when it reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive year, wait until 2011. Stars Jessica Price and Tiffany McCarty return after red-shirting last season, and Iceland national team midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir may be this year's top import. On top of that Coach Mark Krikorian returns nine players who started at least 18 games a season ago.
FSU returns its top three scorers -- Janice Cayman (23 points), Tori Huster (19) and Casey Short (13) -- but McCarty and Price will take over the scoring duties in 2011.
McCarty had 17 goals in 2009 when she was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, but she had to sit out the 2010 season when it was discovered she had a rare type of tumor in her jaw.
Price, who led the ACC in scoring with 42 points (16 goals, 10 assists) in 2009, was sidelined last season with a knee injury.
“The expectations are high for this year’s squad," says Krikorian. "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 Seminoles scored only 40 goals -- the second-lowest scoring output since Krikorian came to Tallahassee -- but defenders Toni Pressley (Soccer America MVP) and Kassey Kallman (Soccer America All-Freshman team) were both excellent. Frenchwoman Ines Jaurena, a second-team All-ACC pick, is also back on defense.
The positional battles at FSU are fierce. Sophomore Kelsey Wys, who returns after leading the ACC in saves (91) and shutouts (12), faces competition from junior transfer Taylor Vancil, the starting goalkeeper for Louisville the last two years.
"In terms of goalkeeping," says Krikorian, "we are in a situation where we are as good as or better than we have ever been."
Aug. 19 at Oregon State, 7:00 p.m. PT
Aug. 21 at Portland, 5:00 p.m. PT
Aug. 26 vs. New Mexico, 7:00 p.m. ET
Aug. 28 vs. North Florida, 2:00 p.m. ET
Sept. 2 vs. Marquette, 7:00 p.m. ET
Sept. 4 at UAB, 1:00 p.m. CT
Sept. 9 at Florida, 7:00 p.m. ET
Sept. 11 vs. Mercer, 1:00 p.m. ET
Sept. 15 at Wake Forest *, 8:00 p.m. ET
Sept. 18 at Duke *, 1:00 p.m. ET
Sept. 22 at Clemson *, 7:00 p.m. ET
Sept. 29 vs. North Carolina *, 7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 2 vs. N.C. State *, 1:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 8 at Virginia *, 7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 13 vs. Maryland *, 7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 16 vs. Boston College *, 1:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 23 vs. Miami, Fla. *, 1:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 27 at Virginia Tech *, 7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 30 Quarterfinals at campus sites TBA
Nov. 4-6 Semifinals-Final in Cary, N.C. TBA
Tomorrow: #5 Maryland.