Nov. 28, 2003
Head Coach Jerry Smith
Opening Statement: "I want to congratulate the Tar Heels in their victory today and wish them good luck in the College Cup next weekend. I thought they played very well today, very hard. I'm very proud of my team. I thought we also played very well, very hard. I thought it was a game in which the score didn't necessarily reflect the game. There were a couple of key moments in the first half that North Carolina did a good job of taking advantage of... particularly the timing of the second goal. It's always though to take a goal like that right before halftime. Especially on the road. I thought Leslie Osborne made a great play defensively. Unfortunately the referee didn't see it that way and North Carolina did a good job of taking advantage of that opportunity. Certainly, 2-0 is a lot tougher to deal with at halftime than 1-0. I thought our kids played well. They did what we asked them to do and I'm very proud of them. I'm very disappointed for my seniors that they don't get a chance to come back to the College Cup next weekend, but it's been a tough road for us. We played the No. 1 team in the country all last year in Stanford, then ranked Arizona State, then dethrone the national champions on the road, and then to come here... things added up. We didn't even get California weather today."
On the weather: "The weather was a huge factor. We have tactics for North Carolina that in our previously three matches, they worked pretty well. What we had to employ today was more due to the weather than anything else. We never play a high offside trap-haven't done it one time all year-but the wind was tough enough that we felt we'd get pinned in if we didn't. Things like that really change the game for us. It took us out of our comfort zone."
On playing a tough draw: "It's mentally demanding. Every single game, not being able to make one mistake. Physically it's the same, and you can recover from those, but it's really the drain on you mentally. You're playing such tough teams, that you really have to, game-to-game, put together a precise game play. Playing at Portland, coming back, and coming to play here... Fetzer's always a tough place to play. It just wears you down. But I thought our kids had a good spirit, they felt good and were confident. I really liked what I saw in our team I the first half. I think it eventually just wore us down a little bit."
On the statistics: "One thing you have to know about our team. We talk about taking less shots and scoring more goals. We're not a team that's going to take a ton of shots. We work for quality shots. Ball control and working for a great shot... if you look at the rest of the stats, we're pretty even... corner kicks, fouls and saves. The game is even except for shots. Again, our team is not trying to get big numbers in that category. If you look at it, it was a fairly even game. I don't think the score reflects the tightness of the game. And these are the kinds of games we enjoy with North Carolina. Usually they're at the Final Four."
On the seedings: "I'll go on record that we were very surprised with our number nine seeding. Every single poll in the country has us as number three. I have no idea with how we ended with the number nine seed. In my 17 years at Santa Clara, and 15 years of going to the NCAA Tournament, by far this has been the toughest draw we have ever had. There is nothing that comes even close to it. The past three national champions have to play each other before they get to the Final Four? That's the toughest thing I've ever had and I just don't understand it. I feel bad for the kids. Like Carolina, we have high expectations... and we have expectations to be playing in the final week of the year, and we're not this year...that's a very tough pill for us to swallow, to be honest with you."
On trying to make history today: "We looked at it as a wonderful opportunity for our team. We're the first team to do a lot of things to North Carolina... maybe we would have been the first team to keep them from the Final Four today... for me, winning the national championship, you've got to do it against North Carolina. This year, whether you do it in the quarterfinals, semifinals, or finals, you're going to have to play them in the state of North Carolina. We just missed the opportunity to have another first on our resume. There's a lot of talk about the Carolina dynasty. We looked at it as an opportunity to put an end to that, at least for the moment."
Senior Defender Chardonnay Poole
"I feel that Carolina is a team that puts a lot of pressure on you in the back. They have a high work rate and really hustle up there and they're ready to capitalize on opponent's mistakes, and that's what happened in our game today.
"I think it has helped the sport of soccer. There is a way to beat Carolina. I think people have been scared of the past, of the legacy Carolina holds. I am fortunate to be on a team that has beaten North Carolina. And that's something that I will always remember. It's going to continue to be a great rivalry in the future, and maybe open up doors for other teams to."
Junior Midfielder Leslie Osborne
"Their whole front line is working hard all the time, just waiting for us to mess up. They showed how they capitalized on that tonight. I envy how hard they work off the ball. I don't know if I can say they are the best team we've played this year, but they've definitely put on the best pressure.
"It's good for girls to see schools other than North Carolina win championships. I think we have a different style of play than North Carolina and I think it's fun for everyone to see the different styles of soccer. We gave them a good game today I think that no matter what, it's good that other teams can step up and win the national championship too."