November 27, 2004

NCAA Post-Match Quotes

Nov. 27, 2004

Recap |  Box Score |  Photo Gallery

Santa Clara

Head Coach Jerry Smith
"Obviously, I am very proud of my team's effort today. I thought they played well, particularly in the second half. I am very happy that we are going to be going back to the Final Four. This will be our 10th trip to the Final Four, since I have been here. We had a rocky start to our season. To be finishing up in the College Cup, with only four teams in the country left is certainly a good feeling and something we are all very proud of. We are all very disappointed for Lauren Zealear, who suffered a knee injury today. At this point, we don't know how significant it is, but it looks like she might be out next weekend. She is someone who ha played in every match for us this season. It will hurt us a bit. That has kind of been our season. We lost senior starting captain Jessica Ballweg in the first game of the season and lost another center back at Note Dame, Carrie Schuler. Nothing has come easy for this team. They have showed a lot of character all season long and today to beat a very good Illinois team."

On game plan for Illinois
"I thought our team came out nervously. Sometimes when you are playing at home and are the favored team, you can be a little nervous. You can be a little nervous when you just beat North Carolina. All week all we heard was, you beat North Carolina,so now you are going to win the National Championship. Even though we know that isnt' the case and we have to beat a very good Illinois team and win three more after North Carolina, the pressure weighs on you a bit. The pressure of beating UNC in the round of 16 is something myself and my team have never experienced. The game plan was to possess the ball. They have good athletes and have good quickness up front. The old saying is the best defense is a good offense and in soccer that means holding onto the ball. "

Senior Forward Bree Horvath
On her goal in the second half
"I just hit it once. It was bouncing, so there was a lot of commotion. It was a side volley. All I was thinking was, `shoot.' At halftime Jerry said, `in the attacking third, shoot the ball.'"

Senior Midfielder Leslie Osborne
On refocusing after defeating North Carolina
"Our team has done a really good job this year of making sure we aren't going into games over confident. The biggest challenge this week was preparing for this game the same way we prepared for Carolina, the same way for Stanford, and the same way for Cal. We aren't looking past any game. We are just taking it one game at a time."

Sophomore Goalkeeper Julie Ryder
On being familiar with players from Illinois
"It was nice to play against two girls who were on my club team. It was nice to see them. With our team, playing Illinois was a little bit of an unknown. We don't really play Big Ten teams. So, knowing a bit about the team helped with preparations for the game."

Illinois

Head Coach Janet Rayfield
"Santa Clara was the better team today and we lost to a great team. I am proud of my team for taking this program somewhere it hasn't been. Santa Clara has a lot of experience and now we can say we have experience in the Elite Eight. If today was worth anything, it will be worth that experience for my program in the future. Today, Santa Clara played the kind of soccer we knew they could play. I am not sure if we played the kind of soccer that we played to get us here. But today, Santa Clara was the better team."

On preparation for the match
"At this point, I have seen four tapes. I don't think we saw anything that we didn't expect to see. We didn't play, maybe, the way we expected to play. To beat a good team, we had to do everything we were capable of doing. Today, we just didn't do that. We played a little bit timid. You can't win a game against a great team with any sort of timidness at all."

On the effect of Santa Clara's second goal
"It is something that takes the wind out of your sails. We talked at halftime about how we had been down games, 1-0 against good teams. But, that goal hurts. Overall the way we played the game, that's the thing I will struggle with, us being able to play with confidence and intensity in this kind of environment. That goal definitely rattles a young team who hasn't been in an environment like that. It makes it even more difficult to come out and play with confidence."

Senior Forward Tara Hurless
On shot early in the match
"I hit it with the wrong part of my foot. She was coming out, so I tried to hit with the outside of my right. I miss-hit it and hit it right to her. I knew it was going to be saved from the beginning. She made a good save on it."

Senior Goalkeeper Leisha Alcia
On possibility of making a save on Santa Clara's second goal
"It was close. It was a really close one."