The Daily Nole

What to Watch For Wednesday: FSU Soccer Begins Repeat Bid at Home

Shane Lardinois/FSU athletics

For the first time since the 2015 opener, Florida State soccer will begin its season with the title “reigning national champions”.

The Seminoles won their second national championship in five years and in program history last season with a 1-0 victory over North Carolina in the national title game. FSU will begin the season ranked No. 1 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll.

FSU will return about 62 percent of its goals from last season, 73 percent of its assists and all of its saves. The most notable departures are midfielders Megan Connolly and Kaycie Tillman and defenders Anna Patten and Natalia Kuikka.

Returning for FSU is its top two scorers in senior forward Deyna Castellanos and last season’s ACC Freshman of the Year, Yujie Zhao. Those two combined for 47 points. Castellanos led the team with 10 goals and eight assists. FSU also brings back goalkeepers Brooke Bollinger and Caroline Jeffers, who combined to allow just 0.47 goals per game last season.

In addition to Castellanos and Zhao, midfielders Malia Berkely and Jaelin Howell were each named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list. The Seminoles do bring in a talented corps of newcomers, headlined by freshman forward Jenna Nighswonger. FSU also adds transfer Abbey Newton, who was an All-SEC Freshman at LSU last season. An FSU spokesman confirmed to The Daily Nole that Newton will be eligible to play right away.

FSU will play its first two games at home, beginning with TCU on Thursday night. The Horned Frogs went 13-5-3 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they fell to Texas A&M, 2-0.

TCU returns its top three scorers from last season, headlined by Maddy Warren. Goalkeeper Emily Alvarado returns after allowing less than a goal per game last season.

The teams will square off on Thursday night at 7 p.m. EST in a contest that streams on ACC Network Extra. FSU hosts Wisconsin at 2 p.m. EST on Sunday on the new ACC Network.

After going 14-4-4 last season and reaching the round of 16, Wisconsin will begin the season ranked No. 16. Like the Horned Frogs, Wisconsin returns its top three scorers from last season.

Senior Dani Rhodes led the Badgers in 2018 with 10 goals and 22 total points. Senior goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer returns after allowing 0.83 goals per match last season and pitching eight shutouts.

FSU defeated Wisconsin last season in Madison, 3-0, in the only prior meeting between the schools. The Seminoles have never faced TCU. FSU has won its last 11 season openers.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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