December 6, 2001

Thursday Press Conference Quotes

Dec. 6, 2001

The 2001 NCAA Women's Soccer College Cup kicked off Thursday as teams North Carolina, Santa Clara, Portland, and Florida each held its news conference in the Paul B. Loyd Jr. All Sports Center on the campus of SMU in Dallas, Texas.

Friday's semifinals begin at 5:00 p.m. central time when defending champions North Carolina battle Portland. Following at 7:30 p.m. central time will be the Santa Clara and Florida game. Winners will advance to Sunday's championship game at 3:00 p.m. central time.

SANTA CLARA

Head Coach Jerry Smith
"We are very happy to be here. SMU has done a great job, and they have a great stadium. It has been very well organized and I want to congratulate them for that. We have a good mix of young and old players. We have great leadership from our seniors. We start five or six freshmen, so we rely a lot on our senior leadership."

(on Florida's Abby Wanbach)
"Abby is the consummate goal scorer. She can score with both feet and she volley's very well. One of the traits of a great goal scorer is the ability to score with their head, and Abby can do that. I am not sure there is a player in collegiate soccer that can score as well with their head. Danielle (Slaton) will mark Abby in deadball situations. We don't assign anyone to any player during play. We play a zone and will always play a zone. That will give her more space. You can't eliminate her from the game."

(on Santa Clara's toughness as compared to College Cup trips in 1998 and 1999)
"It's not that we are tougher than we were before, but we were never behind in a game in 1999 until we faced Notre Dame in the semifinal. I am glad we have a couple losses this year. I am glad we have some overtime games, that we have had to find a way to win. In 1999, when we fell behind we panicked. It was like 'Oh my God, we're behind.' Last week (3-2 win over Virginia), we panicked when they scored two quick goals and cut the lead to 3-2. We didn't play well the last 20 minutes. We know the game is going to be tough. There haven't been any one-sided games at the College Cup since 1994 and there won't be any this weekend."

Comments on the closing of their career:
Danielle Slaton - "Every playoff game could be my last - I've been dealing with that fact the last three weeks. There's no other place I would rather be. There are not a lot of seniors that have been in the College Cup as many times and be in this same situation."

Anna Kraus - "You look back and ralize how important this is and how special College Cup is. Relish the time you're here and enjoy every moment of it."

Game vs. Florida:
Danielle Slaton - "You don't forget the losses (in 98 and 99), but this is a new team, new personnel, new situation. All that matters is tomorrow, regardless of past games."

Difference in this year's team as in the past:
Aly Wagner - "There's more confidence in this team to pull out the big wins if we got in tight situations. We look to each other to pull together. We grind through a game and pull out a win. That's the key to get to the next level."

FLORIDA

Head Coach Becky Burleigh
"We are very excited to be here this season. The season started off different than we hoped but we have come full circle now."

"It is a little eerie how the bracket is the same as 1998, and we hope it ends the same way as '98."

"One similarity to 1998 that this team has is that they really enjoy coming to play every day."

(On the UCLA win)
"That win really mentally propelled us very far. It was a huge win."

(On Santa Clara)
"We have a ton of respect for their team. They have a lot of talent and are well coached."

(On Florida's senior)
"The strong senior class really makes all the difference. With the seniors we have, it has made all the difference."

Sr. D/M-Karyn Hall
(on her experience at the 1998 College Cup as a freshman compared to this trip)
Coming in as a freshman, I was more in awe. I couldn't believe I was here. It was something I grew up watching on television. I couldn't really appreciate the experience. This time I am going to relish every moment this time more than I could my freshman year."

Sr. F/M-Andi Sellers
(on the seniors influence on the team)
"The coaches put a lot of trust in the seniors, and that feeling of trust makes it more enjoyable. The coaches let us have an influence on the direction of the team."

PORTLAND

Head Coach Clive Charles
"We have had a good run so far, and we have come together nicely. The results in the postseason have been good, but the games have been a lot harder than the score shows. We have had the opportunity to break games open late. You can look at the scores and see that we have 15 goals to one for our opponents and think we are just rolling teams coming into the College Cup, but those games have been tighter than the score suggests."

(on the team since the 2-1 loss at Santa Clara November 2)
"Santa Clara is a quality team. We didn't start well that game, and they really took it to us. We grew a little as a team as far as knowing how to start a game. We learned that every game you have to play 90 minutes."

(on expectation's for Friday's semifinal match with North Carolina)
"You have to believe you can win. You have to forget you're playing North Carolina and their record and what they have won. This is a new year, and every team that is here deserves to be here. If we get beyond that, then we can go out and play."

(on have Jr. M-Erin Misaki at 100 percent)
"It is very important. When the players that are up here (Jr. M-Betsy Barr, Jr. M-Erin Misaki, and Sr. D-Lindsay Smart) play well, we play well. She is our playmaker."

(on how this game with North Carolina may differ from the last meeting)
"Northy carolina doesn't change much. They play a 3-4-3 and have a lot of talent. They try and run teams over. I don't think they are going to bunker in against us. We are more technical, and we have a more well rounded talent base than in the past. I don't think we have had the talent to match up with them. I am not sure we do now, but we are going to try."

Junior Erin Misaki
(on battling injuries)
"Its been a battle for me this season with injuries, but its been good. I've gotten a different perspective this year with being out."

"Its been good also, because it has shown me how much I really like playing, and miss playing when I am out."

NORTH CAROLINA

Head Coach Anson Dorrance
"We're excited to be here. By the entire setup here at SMU, I can see that SMU has bent over backwards to make us comfortable. This is the strongest field ever assembled. The teams are getting better and better each year and we're still competing."

"There are more strong teams this season by seeing all of the upsets that occurred along the way in each round."

"Winning a one-game series in soccer is incredibly challenging."

"Our senior class consists of great leaders and great role models - not just for me but for our sport."

"Clive's (Charles) has players that can finish and hold a lead, especially the way they're playing now."

On Christine Sinclair: "She is a player with very few weaknesses - as a striker, her totality of the game is her strength. You can call her a freshman but you certainly cannot treat her as a freshman. She is a formidable opponent."

On Portland: "Portland is a big and skillful team to play against. We're looking forward to it."

Sr. M-Jena Kluegel
(on the balance between expectation and tradition at North Carolina) "I don't think about it. It is a battle to get (to the College Cup) every year. I am just happy to be here. I don't think thinking about past final fours will help us win games this year."

(on comparing this North Carolina team to last year)
"Our team is very athletic. We have more team speed and more personalities that are willing to take people on."