Nov. 12, 2009
By Amy Farnum
It's no secret that
Florida State has been one of the toughest teams in women's soccer over the
past several seasons, but now the Seminoles have climbed one step higher on
the national scene as they were selected as one of four No. 1 national seeds
for the first time in school history.
The Seminoles' success this can be attributed to many factors, but the
productive combination of forwards
Tiffany McCarty and
Jessica Price has served as an integral part of the team's winning
McCarty and Price are responsible for 72 (28 goals, 16 assists) of FSU's
176 total points this year, accounting for more than 40 percent of the
team's scoring. McCarty, a sophomore from Laurel, Md., leads the Atlantic
Coast Conference with 1.81 points per game, while Price, a redshirt
sophomore from Libertyville, Ill., follows with 1.62 points per game.
One of the pair has recorded a point in 15 of 21 games this season, and
in eight games both players have netted a goal. Seven times this year,
McCarty and Price have combined to score a goal. McCarty has assisted on a
Price goal five times, while Price has found McCarty twice.
"We're good friends," said Price. "We get how each other work. We know
each other pretty well, so I guess that makes it easier on the field knowing
where she wants the ball. Sometimes, I know where she's moving without
having to look at her."
Although McCarty burst on the scene last year, contributing 28 points and
earning ACC Freshman of the Year honors, it took Price a little time to
catch up after undergoing knee surgery in 2007. Price did play in all 22
games and tallied three goals and six assists in 2008, but she is having a
breakout year with 12 goals and 10 assists in 2009 - only the second player
in school history to register double-digit goals and assists in a season.
"They say you don't fully recover for at least two years after surgery
and I think it definitely took the full amount of time to get back to where
I was before," said Price. "I had to do a lot of hard work this summer to
improve my fitness level so I could help the team out."
Fending off a sophomore slump, McCarty continued to flourish as she
finished the regular season leading the ACC with 36 points and 15 goals,
garnering ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors. However, McCarty is quick
to credit her teammates for the squad's success.
"Our team helps us link up with other people and they can score, and they
know when we get the ball we're going to score," said McCarty. "We have had
a lot of games where multiple people have scored."
"I think we have a lot of different strengths," said Price. "Everyone
brings different elements to the game. Our team chemistry has been really
good this year. We complement each other and know each other's strengths and
weaknesses and try to optimize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses."
After claiming a share of the ACC regular season title for the first time
in school history, Florida State (16-4-1) is making its 10th straight
appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles will host the first and
second rounds for the sixth time in program history and will be looking to
improve on their perfect 15-0-0 mark in NCAA Tournament play at home.
"It's definitely exciting for us," said Price. "It says a lot about our
coaching staff and how hard we worked this season. It's exciting for us to
play at home with all of our friends and family watching us."
McCarty says the team is focused on a better outcome than exiting with a
loss to national runner-up Notre Dame in the NCAA quarterfinals, and earning
the No. 1 seed this week has them pointed in the right direction. As a top
seed, the Seminoles will own home field advantage in the first four rounds
of the tournament if they advance.
"I think for the players that were here last year it was a little
disappointing to end up where we did last year," said McCarty. "We decided
we wanted to do something big this year. There's been a lot success with our
program in the past few years, but we are really excited to try to get back
to the College Cup and win a national championship."
The Seminoles will open the tournament on Nov. 13 at 4:30 p.m., against
Southeastern Louisiana (13-4-2). Auburn (10-8-3) and California (10-8-1)
will play in the second contest on Friday at 7 p.m. The winners will face
each other on Nov. 15 at 1 p.m.