LeiLanni Nesbeth and Florida State tackle Milwaukee in NCAA Tournament
LeiLanni Nesbeth and her Florida State University team-mates are the team to beat as the No 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament which started this week in Cary, North Carolina.
FSU had a first-round bye and will play their first match today at 1pm Bermuda time when they meet Milwaukee. They enter the tournament with an 11-0 season on their way to a seventh ACC Tournament championship.
This will be the ninth time in the school’s history, and the third straight season, that the Lady Seminoles have been named as the tournament’s top seed.
“Thankfully we’re going to go to Carolina and measure ourselves against the best teams in the country,” said veteran FSU coach, Mark Krikorian in an interview this week on the Packer and Durham podcast.
“Flexible thinking on our part is the name of the game for this year, recognising the season was a very difficult season.”
FSU are making 21 straight NCAA appearances, so do they still get nerves, Krikorian was asked.
“More excitement certainly and with a bit of nervousness, but I hope the team will show up and have their best performances on the most important day,” he said.
“We have a collection of very talented players, but none of it matters on the big stage if you don’t show up and play your best. I do feel as though our group is in a really good spot going into the NCAA Tournament.
“Certainly in the past when you earn the No 1 seed you get to play at home for a good part of the tournament. But this year is different; we’re going to have to play the whole tournament in Carolina.”
The coach added: “I guess the good news is we’re familiar with playing up there. We seem to have a whole lot of games in that area and consider it a home away from home for us.”
The NCAA Tournament will run until May 17, with all the matches in Cary, North Carolina, and the surrounding areas. Forty-eight teams were selected to compete in a single-elimination tournament for this year’s College Cup.
FSU won the ACC Championship last November when they beat North Carolina 3-2 in the final. Nesbeth, who had two assists, scored the third goal early in the second half as FSU took a 3-0 lead. She scored five goals during the season.