Written by Student Assistant Stephen Hobbs '11
Senior Anessa Patton (AP) is back for her final season on the Mission Campus and the Fresno, California native is excited for the fall season to begin. The forward, who scored a game-winning goal in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last November, is motivated to improve on the 2009 Sweet 16 appearance.
Santaclarabroncos.com talked to Patton about her favorite memories as a member of the women's soccer team and how she has worked to improve in the off-season.
SCU: You scored the game-winning goal in the 92nd minute in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Michigan State last year. Describe that moment and how important that goal was for you personally and as a team?
AP: Well, I know for me I was super excited!! I scored during regulation on a header but it was called back because the referee called me offside. I wanted to get it back so bad. Seeing the last minutes run down in regulation, I knew that somebody had to step upm make a play and be the hero for the game. I wanted that to be me. I remember after the referee blew the whistle to end regulation, Jerry (Smith) really didn't have much to say. I remember he said: 'but it is going to come down to the mind and the heart; who wanted it more'. We had already won in overtime four other times last year and I had faith that we could do it again. The team was telling each other 'this game can be over in less than a minute'. We stepped back on the field and before you know it, Jenny Laponte made a great run and played me a slip ball through. Once the ball left my foot, I knew that was game! The feeling after being the lone goal scorer to knock Michigan State out of the Tournament and advancing to the second round was absolutely amazing. As a team, we haven't had much luck in the tournament the last couple of years and what a feeling it was being able to say we made it out of the first round with a chance to finish on top!
SCU: To add to that thought, your team out-scored the opponents 5-0 in overtime last year. Describe the influence of Coach Marshall in your conditioning and the team's ability to continue to play well even after 90 minutes.
AP: To be honest, I believe that Coach Marshall has had a huge influence on our success as a program. Yes, we have a crazy off-season schedule, but that is what you have to do to be the best. He is always striving for the best for us. I think that overtime has to do with who is the fitter team, but at the same time, more importantly, who is the smarter team. The coaches at Santa Clara have done a great job of that to make sure we are smarter than our opponents.
SCU: What did you appreciate about last season?
AP: I appreciated everybody's will to be the best that we could be. I think we took a couple of steps in the right direction towards what Santa Clara women's soccer is about. Yes, we had our ups and downs, but we got through them and showed the nation who we really are as a program. I appreciate that each and every one of my teammates had a large part in making that happen. I know that this upcoming season, we will take continue to take steps in the right direction.
SCU: Is there a teammate that your model your game after or highly respect on your team? Who is it and why?
AP: Honestly, there is nobody specific that I can single out. They are all my teammates and I respect each and every one of them the same. They help me push myself to being a better player and person. I respect them because they are honest and willing to give advice and even criticism, but do it in a positive manner. They are all the perfect definition of a teammate.
SCU: How has the off-season been for you? Is there anything that you specifically want to improve on from last season?
AP: The off-season has been very good for me. I want to make sure that I do the little things right this season. I am a player that just likes to go, go, go and that is a part of my game that I want to make sure that I switch up a bit and be more composed with the ball at my feet. That will improve my game a lot. As a forward, one of the key components is scoring and setting up chances for my teammates to score and I want to be able to help my team win and that is a part of my game that I will continue to work on.
SCU: You are a senior, and one of the most experienced people on the team, do you have a favorite moment so far?
AP: I have two favorite moments! Starting as a freshman in the outside back position against, at the time, highly-ranked Notre Dame and beating them 7-1. My other favorite moment is the game-winning goal that I scored in the in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season! I will never forget that moment.
SCU: What are you plans for the summer?
AP: I took summer school at Santa Clara while working the Santa Clara Day Camp as well as the Archbishop Mitty Day Camp. I am Assistant Varsity Coach for the girl's program at Mitty. I am also playing in the WPSL (Women's Premier Soccer League) with the Clovis Sidekicks, which is home for me. I think that as a college athlete it is important to play your sport in any way possible in your off-season. It has been going very well for me. In six games I am one of the top leading point and goal leaders for the entire league across the nation.
SCU: As a freshman you mentioned that you wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon in your bio. How is that pursuit going and is it still a goal for you?
AP: Well, you always have your hopes and dreams. Growing up, I was set on being an orthopedic surgeon. But, I have to admit those plans have changed. I still want to stay in the medical field, but believe it or not, I don't want to go through medical school. Right now, I am thinking about going to nursing school to becoming a Registered Nurse and possibly continuing on to be a Nurse Practitioner or Physician's Assistant.
AP: I have high hopes for the 2010 season. I know for myself, that I am ready to come in and have the best season that I have had being a Santa Clara Bronco. After our spring season, I had a good feeling that we are going to do whatever it takes to reach the top of that mountain that we are climbing for, the FINAL FOUR! It is going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, and trust in each other and the coaches. We are capable of it though. Lastly, we have to make sure that we are all on the same page. That means that our veterans and returners are going to have to reach out that much more to welcome the 12 freshmen that we have coming in. But I believe that won't be a problem for us. I am going to make sure each and every one of you come out and support your Broncos in what will be an amazing season for us!