Nov. 16, 2003
Santa ClaraSanta Clara Head Coach Jerry Smith:
"Obviously we'd like to congratulate Arizona State on a great year. They gave us an awesome soccer game today. At half time, we reminded our players that it will not be easy in the second half, and it was not. They [Arizona State] were bound and determined not to let this game get away from them, and they did not. They had a couple of chances to equalize the game. That kind of stress and pressure for our team to deal with against a quality team like Arizona State will pay dividends for us as we go through the tournament. I'm very proud of my team. I thought they showed a lot of heart, determination, toughness and composure; all the things that we hope they will show when we recruit them here."
"One of the things our team has always relied on is a great playmaking central midfielder like Leslie [Osborne] and outside backs who can get themselves into attacking position. In fact, we gauge ourselves on whether we're having success by how many times our outside backs get possession of the ball in our attacking third."
On comparing this year's team with last year's: "Last year we started one freshman, and I think we only played with one freshman. This year, we have five or six different freshmen who could play for us at any one time, and all six freshmen played today. One of the big differences was last year we weren't so reliant on a freshman class that has taken a little time to come together. But they really have come together this year, and I think that's probably the one big difference between this year's team and last year's team."
On the upcoming match vs. Portland: "Our team enjoys playing in a big match, and we like playing in beautiful soccer environments. We have a great soccer environment here, and they have a great soccer environment there. The last time we were in Portland, we won the match 1-0 and played very well. I think we're very motivated. We have something to prove. We played in the last two National Championship games. We want to get back and become the National Champions. That's our motivation. We get to play a really good Portland team. Somebody has to dethrone the National Champions. We can do that next weekend."
Santa Clara Junior Midfielder Leslie Osborne:
On comparing this year's team to last year's: "This year we just keep getting better and better in every game. Our freshmen stepping up helps. We're a different team, different attitude, but at the same time, we always play our best during playoffs."
On playing Portland next: "I'm excited to play them. I don't care where we play them. This is when everything is on the line, and last year they took it away from us, so I'm excited to play them because I think we can win."
Santa Clara Junior Defender Lana Bowen:
On playing Portland in Oregon: "I think home field is definitely an advantage, but the first thing I think of is they have a great field, and we've beaten them there before."
Arizona StateArizona State Head Coach Ray Leone:
On the second half of play: "We matched them up more and possessed the ball more. Of course in the end we kind of gave up and sent the ball in to see what would happen. We gave it a good run right down to the last second. I'd definitely say we gave it everything we had."
On the game plan: "We tried to keep their backs at bay a little bit because it's such a big part of their game. We stuck with two-on-two and found some good chances but not enough to get the goals. We were playing against a very experienced team and we gained more experience from playing in the game."
"I'm so proud of this group. We cracked like you wouldn't believe last year. This year, they scored a goal, we didn't break at all and we gave them a good run for their money. t showed the strength of our team's character."
Arizona State Midfielder Manya Makoski:
"We wanted it a little bit more this year since they beat us last year. We had some good chances but their defense was pretty solid. There were a couple great chances that we couldn't capitalize on, but we kept going."