December 5, 2002

On the Eve of the 2002 College Cup

Dec. 5, 2002

The following are quotes from Thursday's pre-College Cup Press Conference, held in Austin, Texas:

SANTA CLARA HEAD COACH, JERRY SMITH
On being in the 2002 Women's College Cup ...
"We are very excited to be here and have the chance to defend the championship title won last year. We also congratulate the other three teams that made it here, especially our West Coast conference friends, the University of Portland. We had a little bit of a rocky start at the beginning of our season, but we seem to be finding our stride and playing our best soccer. We are looking forward to the match tomorrow."

On their rivalry with North Carolina ...
"When we say that we have a rivalry with North Carolina, that alone is a pretty good statement of where our soccer program is. North Carolina is the standard of women's soccer. Our past College Cup appearances, combined with the number of times we played the University of North Carolina, and finally winning the championship last year, has helped us become a better team.

On losing Wagner early in the season ...
"When Aly (Wagner) was gone, Devvyn (Hawkins) had to not only do what she does for her team as far as playmaking near the backline, but she also had to get forward to score goals for us or create assists. Now I think she is a blessing in disguise because she has the ability to impact the game from an attacking and a defensive standpoint. I think it has allowed her to become a more complete player and has certainly expanded her leadership ability."

SANTA CLARA SENIOR MIDFIELDER, ALY WAGNER
On their rivalry with North Carolina ...
"Obviously North Carolina is still the dynasty. We are going into the game as the underdog and I think it is a good mentality for us to have. We are going to be up to the challenge both physically and mentally and it is going to be a great rematch of the finals last year. That was a tough game that could have gone either way."

On the differences between this year's team from last year...
"I think there is a level of soccer we play at Santa Clara that stays consistent. For the most part we are playing the same style of soccer and are still aggressive but at the same time we are able to remain composed in different situations. Besides personnel changes we are still going to have the same attractive style of soccer."

SANTA CLARA JUNIOR DEFENDER/MIDFIELDER CHARDONNAY POOLE
On the differences between this year's team from last year... "I think the biggest difference is the number of leaders on the field that we can go to at any time. We have had many people step up and it has been a big positive thathas helped us achieve our goals."

NORTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH, ANSON DORRANCE
On being in the 2002 Women's College Cup ...
"Obviously, we are really excited to be here and thrilled with the job The University of Texas has done and how they have treated this tournament as their own. It looks like the weather is going to be beautiful. We are excited about being back and ecstatic to have the chance to compete against such great teams."

On the North Carolina program ...
"We have a strong incentive to do as well as we can every year. We always want to achieve our potential. One of the great things about coaching and playing for North Carolina is the expectation to compete for a National Championship. There is always that underlying pressure, but we consider it to be a positive pressure. It is a statement of the acievement of the program. We are thrilled to be back in the College Cup this year, and glad that we are still alive in the tournament."

On North Carolina's 2002 schedule ...
"We played a back-breaking schedule this year, not just in terms of quality opponents, but also in regards to the places we have been. We have traveled a lot this year and played teams who have been close to their respective homes. Part of the reasoning for this scheduling is based on last year. We had a false sense of security coming into the tournament undefeated last year. There is something about adversity that develops athletic teams, so part of our goal in creating the schedule this year was to set up an exceptionally tough schedule."

NORTH CAROLINA SENIOR DEFENDER, LESLIE GASTON
On playing Santa Clara for the first time since last year's championship game ...
"Last year in the final, Santa Clara was obviously the better team. We were not pleased with how we played in that game and we think we could have played better. We are excited to play Santa Clara because they are one of the best teams in the country. We are also excited to challenge ourselves to play better than we did last year. We really are looking forward to this opportunity."

NORTH CAROLINA SENIOR FORWARD, SUSAN BUSH
On playing Santa Clara ...
"I do not think it is a matter of revenge. We are are excited to get to play Santa Clara in the semi-final because they have a history of putting together excellent programs."

On playing close to home (Houston, TX) ...
"I am very excited to be back in Texas. I played here (at Myer's Stadium) with my youth team, and now again with my college team. Being back in Texas is convenient for my friends and family to come and support both me and the team. I am very excited about this weekend."