December 7, 2002

Broncos, Pilots Discuss Sunday's NCAA Championship Game

Dec. 7, 2002

HEAD COACH, JERRY SMITH
On being in the 2002 Women's College Cup ...
"We're very happy to be in the championship game two years in a row. We felt like we broke some barriers last year and now have a chance to do something that only one other school [North Carolina] has done before, which is win multiple championships. We're still recovering from our semifinal match right now, but I'm sure by tomorrow morning, we'll be excited to have the chance to defend our title."

On playing a West Coast Conference team in the final ...
"It's sort of a double-edged sword because you're familiar with the team, but they're also familiar with you. We've had tremendous success against teams that were unfamiliar with our style of play, but
Portland knows how we play and it will make for a tight match. Each one of our matches with Portland except for 1999 has been extremely competitive. I think this is a great advertisement for the West Coast Conference to have had two teams in the Final Four in four of the last seven years. And it's a sign of the strength our conference, especially because Pepperdine defeated both us and Portland."

On playing Portland ...
" I always get happy about playing a Clive Charles' team because I know it'll be a soccer match. Often times with the substitution rules, the game becomes more of a track race. But Charles' teams are tactical, so there should be more of an ebb and flow to the match and the game will be more about tactics than athleticism. The last time we played, the game was extremely close and we were fortunate to get an early score."

SENIOR MIDFIELDER, ALY WAGNER
On their first match with Portland ...
"It was an extremely close match and we were fortunate to score early on and hold our lead, but Portland is a great team and like coach [Smith] said, it will be a great soccer match. We're not really going to change our style of play for them, but we'll get our opportunities and so will they. How effective we are in those opportunities will be the difference in the game."

JUNIOR FORWARD, KRISTI CANDAU
On coming off the bench ...
"It took me awhile to grow into the role, but now I've begun to like it even though I wouldn't say that I love it. It was very hard for me during my first couple of years because I thought it was some kind of punishment, but then I realized that it's my role and it's actually kind of nice to sit back and watch for 20 or 30 minutes then get in when the game has settled down. It makes it a lot easier to play."

JUNIOR FORWARD/MIDFIELDER, VERONICA ZEPEDA
On scoring four goals during 2002 postseason play ...
"In the beginning of the season, I was injured, so I didn't play much, but after sitting down with coach [Smith] and the trainer, our goal was to be able to play 90 minutes in the postseason. Playing more has also given me more confidence."

Portland Pilots Quotes

HEAD COACH, CLIVE CHARLES

On being in the 2002 Women's College Cup Championship Game...
"We are very happy that we've got this far. Santa Clara is a good team and hopefully we will see a really well-played game."

On playing a conference opponent in the final game ...
"We are not looking at this as a conference game. We have to win. It's great to have two teams from our conference in the finals, but at this point it doesn't matter. Hopefully we'll be the team that wins."

On scoring early ...
"It's really nice to score early and get off to a good start, but it also gives you a false sense of security. When you get something you haven't deserved it's hard to sustain it."

SOPHOMORE FORWARD, CHRISTINE SINCLAIR

On facing Santa Clara's Aly Wagner ...
"I don't think it's a rivalry. Here it's all about your school and winning a National Championship, not about the individual players."

On the importance of scoring first in the championship game ...
"It's huge. Both teams can score, but whoever gets the first goal will have an advantage."

SENIOR DEFENDER, LAUREN ORLANDOS
On making it to the championship game and facing Santa Clara ...
"I'm just excited to play in the finals. I don't care who we play, I just want to win. When it's your last year, it's different. I think we have experienced seniors who are starters and a lot talent on our team."