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FSU soccer earns top seed in NCAA Tournament

The Florida State soccer team has earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, which was announced on Monday afternoon.

FSU (11-0) will play the Elon-Milwaukee winner in a game that could be played as early as April 27. The first game for FSU vs. Elon or Milwaukee will be Saturday, May 1 at 3 p.m.. The Seminoles would then face either Vanderbilt, Penn State or Alabama State in their second game.

The Seminoles had eight shutouts in the regular season and made a run in the ACC Tournament, knocking off North Carolina 3-2 for the title. Players have competed in four exhibition games this spring against professional teams (including two against the Orlando Pride) as well as one against a men’s team and another against Florida’s women’s team leading up to the NCAA Tournament. All games in the NCAA Tournament will be held at a bubble in Cary, N.C., as well as nearby sites. Games will run through May 17.

“We had a really good (fall) season,” FSU coach Mark Krikorian said. “And with the way our schedule fell in the spring with exhibition games, judged solely on the fall, I think that probably helped us to be a No. 1 seed and the No. 1 overall this year.”

This is the ninth time in school history FSU has been named a No. 1 seed. FSU is 64-17-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, a .780 winning percentage.

A full NCAA Tournament bracket can be viewed here. North Carolina, Virginia, Clemson and Duke are the other ACC schools in the 48-team field.

Krikorian said a few players have moved on. The biggest losses are senior Malia Berkeley, who has signed with a French club team, and redshirt junior goalkeeper Brooke Bollinger, who plans to transfer to Alabama. Krikorian mentioned Lauren Flynn as one player who has emerged during the spring season to help the Seminoles.

In what has been an extended season, Krikorian praised the maturity and commitment of the Seminoles. They last played an NCAA game on Nov. 15, the ACC Tournament final, and now five months later will begin the NCAA Tournament.

“I think they’re even more focused and disciplined than I even appreciated in the football,” Krikorian said. “it’s been a really long soccer year, when you think about the kids coming in and starting in July, and then running through the ACC tournament into November, and then coming back and starting again, training in January. And now hopefully going into May. That’s a really long season. Typically for us, we started August and the national championship is over in December. And then the spring phase is a developmental phase. And the games don’t really have much meaning.

“But this spring, all of those competitions, while they were exhibition games, had great meaning because it was about preparation for the NCAA Tournament. So I think that our maturity as a team, discipline, their dedication is clearly evident, to me at least.”

Krikorian said he has consulted with FSU women’s basketball coach Brooke Wyckoff as well as other coaches, trainers and psychologists around campus and the country to comprehend how best to handle the emotional and physical demands of living in a bubble or controlled environment in North Carolina. He said he’s not as certain how tight the bubble will be compared to the controlled environments in place for the NCAA’s basketball tournaments.