FSU soccer coach leaves top players at home

Staff writerNovember 3, 2010 

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Florida State soccer coach Mark Krikorian fields questions during a press briefing on Wednesday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

ROBERT WILLETT - RWILLETT@NEWSOBSERVER.COM

— Rather than risk wearing out his first string players, Florida State coach Mark Krikorian left them in Florida for the ACC Women’s Soccer Tournament at WakeMed Soccer Park Wednesday.

The move could alter the result of the three-round tournament, and drew sharp criticism from Nora Lynn Finch, an ACC associate commissioner.

“The integrity of this championship is important,” she said. “We seed the tournament through all of the season’s play so our seed is distorted by teams not being here in full strength, competing at their most highly competitive level.”

Krikorian said it was a coaches’ decision.

“We look at every element before we make decisions, in every regard,” Krikorian said. “It seemed to us that the lineup we put out today was in our best interest.”

The Seminoles, who lost 3-1 to Wake Forest in Wednesday’s quarterfinal match, were coming off road games last Thursday and Sunday.

Were his team to advance to the championship game and get to the second round of the NCAA tournament, that would have had his team playing seven games in 17 days.

“There are certainly advantages at different times,” Krikorian said of the ACC tournament. “At times, maybe it does work to your advantage at other times, maybe it doesn’t.”

Finch wasn’t satisfied with Krikorian’s explanation and said that the conference would discuss the matter.

“I’m disappointed that Wake Forest played a Florida State team that was not at full strength, so I think they were cheated,” Finch said. “I think the players from Florida State that did not come were denied an opportunity to play in the top college conference tournament in the country.”

Krikorian said the players he left behind understood.

“Our players understand that there are different days, different demands on them,” he said. “The demand for today was that they support their teammates.”

It slowed the pace of the game and allowed Wake Forest to rest its top players, which could factor into its Friday match against top-seed North Carolina.

“I understand where’s he’s coming from,” Deacons coach Tony da Luz said. “I think he’s just making a choice about his priority is the NCAA tournament. It’s definitely unorthodox but to give his players rest going into the NCAA tournament, and if it works out well, I totally respect his decision.”

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