SANTA CLARA, Calif. - With an assist in their season opener, 6 shut outs on the season, and boasting a 0.83 goals against average, Santa Clara's women's goal keeper Bianca Henninger looks to help push the Broncos past No. 1 ranked Stanford this Friday as they continue their road to the NCAA College Cup.
SantaClaraBroncos.com: You guys were able to win both of your NCAA tournament games this past weekend in overtime and in a shootout. How would you characterize your team this season and what does this say about your teams mentality and playing hard for 90 minutes plus?
BH: The main characteristic of our team that has become such a huge factor in our success this year is our ability to "grind out" games. We've really been up to the challenges in terms of having to battle until the end throughout our season. We worked hard in the off season to be able to do so and I think it's pretty evident that it paid off.
SCB: You seemed fired up at the beginning of the shootout against Oklahoma State. Were you nervous at all and what did you tell your teammates before the shootout began?
BH: Shootout's are really just a good time for me. All the pressure is on the shooter so, while obviously I would like to stop some of the other teams' penalty kicks, I'm not expected to. Every time we get into shootouts I just try and stay goofy and have a good time, and it usually lets me loosen up a little bit and stop some. Before the shootout began I just did what I could to instill confidence in my team and let them know that I had their backs no matter if they made their shot or not.
SCB: An injury in the San Diego game in early October forced you to miss some games in the middle of the season. How did you keep yourself motivated knowing that your team would need you for the stretch run and in the postseason?
BH: It's not hard to keep yourself motivated on this team, especially with the type of season we're having. All of us are so invested in our season and the team that we all are doing everything we can to help our team out. For me, when I was injured, I knew that at some point my team was going to need me (like our team needs every player on it), and when that time came I wanted to be ready, whether it was helping our team out from the bench or on the field.
SCB: What have you, individually, and the team been doing to prepare for Stanford, the number one team in the nation?
BH: We all know they're a very good team and that our game on Friday is going to be a battle. We've been preparing all season long for a game like this and have been looking forward to it. We're working really well as a team at this point in terms of connecting on the field, and now we're just focusing on being prepared for the fight we're going to be in. Personally, I'm just doing a lot to feel technically clean and ready for whatever I'm going to face on Friday.
SCB: What are some of the keys to beating Stanford? Is there more motivation to win after losing to them earlier in the season?
BH: One of the big keys to beating Stanford is shutting down their offense. They have a lot of very good players and we need to prevent them from finding their rhythm on Friday. We're definitely motivated to take it to them. We had a rough showing against them earlier this season where a lot of little mistakes cost us big, but we've been waiting all season for the chance to correct those mistakes.