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Florida’s soccer team is now past the halfway point of the season. Therefore, it’s a good time to assess how the season has gone so far and where the team is headed heading into the postseason.

These are real questions (ending in a question mark) and real questions posed by real people in the sense that I am a real person. I have written all the questions.

Florida is currently 7-0-2 (3-0 ACC). Knowles placed him 7th in the latest coaches poll, tying him with ACC leaders Duke and Pitt on 9 points. Did you expect the season to go this well?

Based on results alone, I’m not surprised by FSU’s performance so far in the season. But when the eye test is put into the equation, I’m a little surprised at how well the team has actually performed on the field so far in the season.

What surprised you about how the season has played out so far?

There are several. Here are the highlights in no particular order.

Had former coach Mark Krikorian and players like Emily Madril and Yujie Zhao stayed and Kirsten Pavlisko spared injury, I’m not sure the results on the field would have been significantly better. Surprise.

I’ve seen some chatter questioning whether this team is any better than last year’s championship team, so I’d like to clarify what I mean. This year’s team has proven (so far at least) that they can play elite football. But last year’s team was absolutely all-time. They were undefeated and went all-out to a draw (unless you consider a national championship match a draw). Losing players like Jaelin Howell, Gabby Carle, Emily Madril, Yujie Zhao and Kirsten Pavlisko, it doesn’t get any better. Howell and Karl wouldn’t have returned anyway, but if the other three were on this team, I’m sure the Knowles would now be 9-0 and unanimously the #1 team in the country.

But the fact that anyone can reliably compare this year’s team to last year’s team speaks to how well this year’s team played. This is what I mean when I say the results on the field may not be as good as they are right now.Early draws were probably wins so the record would be better if these players stayed , the actual product on the field is currently very high even without those players and probably won’t be. that’s all Higher if those players are still on the roster.

The team has really come together and played very well since the Auburn game. The Seminoles seem to have figured things out. Onyi Echegini was a left-wing revelation. We knew Echezini was really talented from playing at Mississippi State, but we didn’t know how much her skill and talent would translate to Tallahassee playing with different teammates in a different system. did. Also, remember that Echezini signed with FSU without ever visiting her campus or meeting her new teammates. Given that reality, it’s a little surprising that things went so smoothly, even for a player as talented as Echezini.

Of course, Echezini is a new addition to the roster, but there are also returning players who will have to adapt to their new positions. In basically all instances the change is working. Ran Iwai has never played in the back line at this level, but like a duck he takes moves to left back. Her play really cemented the backline. LeiLanni Nesbeth came to hold her midfield and her play was excellent throughout. Nesbeth solidified the backbone of the midfield, allowing FSU’s attackers to move forward without worrying about problems behind them.

There was also a small surprise in the freshman’s play. Florida typically doesn’t need to rely as much on donations from freshmen. But with all the turmoil we witnessed over the summer, Knowles was in the unfamiliar position of having to rely on a true freshman to play crucial minutes. The same could be said for Sophia Nguyen when she had to spell out Heather Payne right behind. Olivia Garcia looked dangerous when she came out on the wing.

With all that in mind, where do the Seminoles sit in the national conversation?

It’s clear there’s still plenty of season left, but now Florida State has to be on the shortlist for national championship contenders.

FSU is currently 7th in coaches voting, 14th in RPI and 2nd in Massey Ratings. Massey’s rating is football’s answer to KenPom. Massey rates FSU’s offense and defense as his No. 1 in the nation, but mostly because the Bruins have played the toughest schedule in the nation so far this season with his 9-0 record. In the overall rating he is his second only to UCLA.

Since the schedule (up to this point) has not been so demanding, Knowles refrains from evaluating. Massey’s FSU schedule is currently 14th. According to Massey, FSU’s best win is over #23 Clemson.

Basically, FSU is playing very impressive football right now, but we’d like to see if they can keep that up when their opponents get tougher.

Ok, that’s a great segue to shift our focus to the rest of the season. How do you think the next few games will play out?

The Seminoles are looking forward to a challenging part of the season. Let’s discuss some of our next opponents.

First up is Saturday in Miami ((3-4-2, 0-3-0 ACC). Keynes is unranked in the coaches poll, #47 RPI and #89 Massey. Not much to say about this game. No. Miami looks to be on the right track as a program.They have an impressive win over #5 Alabama. You’d be surprised if you scored a game with multiple goals. But it’s nice to see Megan Morgan again.

Massey gives FSU an 80% chance and Miami a 9% chance. The remaining 11% of him is a draw possibility.

The Gauntlet begins on October 6th. Florida State will go back-to-back against Virginia, Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina and Pitt. The Massey Ratings of these opponents are his 6th, 9th, 4th, 3rd and 7th in order. exactly. The Gauntlet consists of his 5th consecutive top 10 opponent. Let’s talk a little bit more about these teams. Before we get into that, it should be noted that Heather Payne will definitely miss the Notre Dame-Duke game, and possibly the Virginia game, due to national team commitments.

Virginia (9-1-1, 2-1-0 ACC) took first place on October 6 in Charlottesville, Virginia. But UVA hasn’t been particularly impressive lately.I can’t believe I’m saying this about the #2 team in the nation (at least according to the coaches), but this team is missing something. I know, they’re 9-1-1, so how much could be missing. In politics, there are top-line numbers in the polls, and crosstabs where you can take a deeper look at the results. UVA have a total of 6 shots on goal in their last 3 games combined. They are 2 vs 1 in these games (vs UNC, ND, Louisville). This is because he scored on 5 of his 6 shots. It is highly doubtful whether UVA can be this clinical against FSU goalkeeping. When you think about it, it’s amazing we couldn’t have created more chances. What’s happening is that Hawes isn’t being productive enough in midfield, which leaves his capable frontline underserved. This forced the striker to provide too much attack himself due to a lack of midfield buildup. The Cavaliers have players who can solve this problem and I want to highlight their talent. However, it will be very difficult to beat Knowles when the likes of Jenna Naiswonger, Clara Robbins dominate the midfield, so if they don’t get it, FSU will be harder to handle .

Massey gives FSU a 47% chance and UVA a 38% chance.

Next is Notre Dame (8-2-0, 1-2-0 ACC). The bout he will take place on October 9th in South Bend, Indiana. Ireland (#16 Coach, #4 RPI, #9 Massey) are a very strong team. They handled business non-conference and beat Virginia on resumes. They are also beaten by Clemson and Pitt. They have quality players like Corbyn Albert, Olivia Wingate and Kiki Van Zanten, but overall South Bend’s talent level isn’t as good as FSU can offer. Assuming we play to the standards we’ve seen, it’s hard to see Noles lose here.

Massey gives FSU a 53% chance and ND a 32% chance.

Duke (8-2-0, 3-1-0 ACC) is next. The bout he will be in Tallahassee on October 13th. The Blue Devils (#4 Coach, #3 RPI, #4 Massey) are a dangerous team. Of course, it all starts with striker Michelle Cooper. Cooper has a lot to deal with with her speed and athleticism. She doesn’t need much space to attack. Knowles always needs to know where she is. However, Duke is a Jekyll and Hyde team. They were completely dominated by UNC at Durham 3-0 in a game that heel held to two shots. They followed that performance with his lethargic 1-0 victory over Syracuse. At that point, I was about to write them off as overrated. I don’t know what to do with the Devils now. It depends a lot on which teams are competing. Ultimately, I think FSU is a bad matchup for Duke. I don’t think the Blue Devils defense can stand up to a loaded Seminole front. Also, the game is in Tallahassee, which is important.

Massey gives FSU a 59% chance and Duke a 27% chance.

North Carolina (9-2-0, 2-1-0 ACC) moves to Tallahassee on October 20th. The Tar Heels (#2 Coach, #2 RPI, #3 Massey) are of course loaded. So full of talent and players. UNC’s roster has his 37 players. For context, FSU is 21. If you’ve watched college football for the past decade or so, you know what heels do in this game. FSU will see a high press. That’s the key to the game. If Knowles can avoid (or at least minimize) mistakes at the back, he should do well in this game. FSU can take advantage of his back space vacated by his press high. Tar heels have another problem. The goalie is questionable. Against Virginia (Game of the Year contenders), UNC jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half. Carolina completely dominated the Foos in the first half. UVA didn’t even attempt a shot and basically couldn’t get the ball out of half the field. UVA scored three goals in the half to win. However, the first and his third goal came from a highly questionable goal from UNC keeper Emmy Allen on his keep. If it isn’t cleaned up, the heels will have a very rough stay in the Sunshine State.

Massey gives FSU a 54% chance and UNC a 31% chance.

Knowles moves into the pits (10-1-0, 3-0 ACC) on 23rd October. The Panthers (#14 Coach, #7 RPI, #7 Massey) look much improved, but with the game almost a month away, we’ll save our observations on them for later.

However, now Massey is giving FSU a 52% chance and Pit a 34% chance.

Overall, the Seminoles are playing as expected. The decline from the Krikorian era has been minimal (at least so far). Assuming FSU can continue to play at this level and avoid injuries, Knowles is a frontrunner for yet another College Cup run.

As always, comments are yours.