November 24, 2001

NCAA Women's Soccer -- Post Match Quotes

Nov. 24, 2001

Recap| Box Score

Dartmouth Head Coach Erica Walsh
"Going into the game, we were really focused on the first 15 minutes and getting through those first 15 just to recognize that we can play with this team, obviously, Santa Clara is a big-name team and I think our team in general, once we start to settle down, we recognize we can play with anybody. That was the goal going in. We took a little more of a defensive approach going into the game and then started opening it up a little bit, putting pressure on top. We put another striker in and tried to create some offense as the game settled down a little bit.

"Santa Clara is extremely dangerous on set pieces, we knew that coming into the game. We tried to neutralize some of their bigger players with some of our taller players, and I thought we did a pretty good job of doing that. You look at Santa Clara's corner kicks - 13 - and they did put one in the back of the net, but overall, I thought we did a great job neutralizing those players."

On the rainy conditions and wet field
"To be honest, I thought there was one patch on the field where the ball would sit a little bit, but for the most part... they're so dangerous, they were able to stick to their game plan I believe. I didn't feel like it was a huge factor. Having the wind in the second half being down a goal certainly gave us more confidence, but you look at the two goals, neither one of those came from the weather."

On what it would have taken to win the game
"I think for the most part, throughout the course of the season, we have been pretty dangerous on set pieces, and certainly that was something we were trying to create today. SCU is a fit team and they move the ball well, it was requiring a tremendous amount of effort out of our back and center-mids. I think defensively, I thought we did a pretty good job neutralizing them. I think we needed to choose our timing a little bit better and if we could go forward a little bit more."

Dartmouth Goalkeeper Julia Shields
On facing Aly Wagner on the PK
"It was a pretty good shot. I had my work cut out for me."

Dartmouth Forward Annie Gibson
On her broken hand
"I had surgery last week and am not supposed to play for two-and-a-half to three weeks. It's a little difficult. The cast puts me off balance a little bit."

Santa Clara Head Coach Jerry Smith
"We're obviously very happy to be advancing in the tournament, to the quarterfinals. I want to commend Dartmouth on a great effort today. They were a very well-organized, very well-coached, and a good defensive team. It was two dead balls that allowed us to score: Veronica (Zepeda) made a great dribble and the defender had to take her down. I told Veronica before the game, that although she couldn't play very long due to her shin splints, she was going to be a tough player for them to stop, because she's very quick and light on her feet. On a wet surface, that's an advantage. The defender had to take her down and Aly (Wagner) converted the penalty kick. The next goal was a corner kick goal. So two dead-balls goals for us. That's something we've been working on, so I feel really good about that. I feel good about the number of shots we limited their team to. Obviously, conditions were tough to play for both teams, and made for a choppy game, but we talked about having no excuses before the game and under the circumstances, we played well."

On Jessica Ballweg's goal
"It was kind-of strange timing, Jessica has not been in that position all year, until today. Just on corner kicks, we made a switch in the second half and switched Jess out for Lana Bowen and Jess took advantage of it in her first game in that position. Jess is one of the best defenders in the country, but she's always a great player going to goal and has scored some key goals for us all year. For a defender, she has an unbelieveable nose for the goal. She's downplaying the importance of the goal, but it took a lot of pressure off our team, that's for sure. In these kind of conditions, a 1-0 game is pretty nerve-wracking, at least for the coaches."

On how the weather changed the team's strategy
"In the first half, we tried to employ tactics as if we were down a goal in the game, which means take risks going forward, and of course, that allowed us to get a lot of shots off. I thought we could have converted a few more shots in the first half, you have to give credit to their goalkeeper for making some great saves. At halftime, we decided to go back to normal tactics."

On the team's seventh straight quarterfinal appearance
"Each year is different. Each team is different. Every time you play a game that might be your last game, it's not routine to do that. You don't play very many games in your life that might be the end of your season. Some players never even get to that point. When you have those games, where your season might end, that's something you're very alive about, very anxious, nervous, excited about all at the same time, and I think those are kind of emotions that it's hard to feel routine about."

On the team's next opponent
"We're excited to play the winner of the Virginia-Cincinnati game. We're looking forward to playing either one of those teams. Notre Dame was a team that knocked us out of the tournament the last two years and both games we thought we were the better team, but the bottom line is we didn't win those games. You always look forward to a rematch with the team that ended your season, there's no question about that. We looked forward to our September 14th match against them, but that was canceled. So we were disappointed. But we saw them in our bracket and thought that if we both win enough games, we'll play each other. We would have certainly been highly motivated to play that mach, but no more highly motivated than we are to play Cincinnati or Virginia."

Santa Clara Defender Jessica Ballweg
On her goal (4th of the season)
"Danielle (Slaton) just hit a great ball and Devvyn (Hawkins) got her head on it and I was at the right place at the right time. It came right to my foot."

Santa Clara Midfielder Aly Wagner
On the team's seventh straight quarterfinal appearance
"These are all pressure games, there's nothing routine about making it this far. We're fortunate to be here, where we are right now."