Dec. 6, 2002
SANTA CLARAHead Coach Jerry Smith
On tonight's game
"First, I would like to congratulate North Carolina on a great season and a great match today. There were large portions of the game where they outplayed us. In the first half, North Carolina took it to us and we sat back and played conservatively. We were lucky to get out of the first half ahead 1-0. In the second half, I felt that we played better, created some chances and dodged some bullets. The last time that we were in a Final Four and didn't win a game was 1999. I am very happy to be moving on to the championship game and very proud of my team today."
On the changes he made in his midfield following halftime
"We felt that Carolina was exploiting space in our back four. We wanted to win some balls there. That [formation] gives Aly Wagner tremendous freedom and puts her in an attacking role, which is similar to the one she had with the U.S. Women's National Team. The move increased her touches and also gave a defensive presence in front of our back four."
On the championship match against Portland
"There are no secrets between Portland and Santa Clara. We come from the same conference and we have had a lot of great battles over the years. We played them earlier this year in Portland and recorded a 1-0 victory. They were without Christine Sinclair [for that game] as she was playing for the Canadian National Team. On Nov. 2, Aly Wagner played in Seattle for the U.S. National Team; I drove up there to watch her and then drove her down to Portland. We then played Portland on Nov. 3. We had Aly and they were without Christine. Aly played a great game and we won 1-0."
Jr., Forward, Kristi Candau
On her part in creating the second goal of the game
"Carolina's goalkeeper has a mentality where she sometimes goes after balls that she cannot always get to. I tried to do anything; poke it out or put it through. Veronica [Zepeda] came out, took and amazing shot and just buried it."
Jr., Forward, Veronica Zepeda
On her two goals
"I really don't remember what happened. On the first goal, the ball was played to my feet. I just spun and took a shot. On the second goal, Kristi [Candau] did a good job of making the goalie come out. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and followed it up."
Sr., Midfielder, Aly Wagner
Her thoughts on the game
"In the first half, we got strung out and didn't get support. In the second half, we simply got numbers around the ball, were able to spinout, find each other and keep possession of the ball."
NORTH CAROLINAHead Coach Anson Dorrance
On tonight's game
"First, I want to congratulate Santa Clara on an exciting game and advancing to the finals. I am also proud of how my team played. I thought they did very well."
On the second half changes in Santa Clara's defense
"It was interesting because in the first half they had a more aggressive attacking system, but they didn't attack as well in that shape. The irony was that they moved into a more defensive stance in the second half and gained more confidence. That's just the nature of a defense when you're trying to hold on to a lead."
On Sunday's championship game
"It's going to be a great matchup of two rivals who know each other well. They play in the same conference, so there will be no surprises. I think it will be a very exciting final, and I'd be hard pressed to predict the outcome."
Jr., Defender, Catherine Reddick,
On her team's tempo change when she moved to the frontline
"Things changed because we felt pressure coming on. The team came together and realized we had a chance. After that timeout, we were ready to go and when I got moved, I just played as hard as I could."
Fr., Forward, Lindsay Tarpley
On her goal
"I don't really remember exactly. The ball was in the right place, and I was in the right place at the right time."
On her first trip to the Final Four
"It's been an unbelievable experience, and Texas was a wonderful place to play in my first Final Four game. Things work out in odd ways, but Santa Clara is a great team and they deserve to be in the finals."