November 7, 2005

2005 NCAA Tournament Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 7, 2005

HEAD COACH Jerry Smith:

Opening Remarks:
"After two years of getting some really tough deals from the NCAA in the selection process I'm happy to look at a selection process that looks like a good one for us. I'm very happy with our seed and very happy that we're hosting this weekend. Obviously the games will be very tough. All three teams that will be here this weekend we faced in the regular season; Fresno State, Saint Louis, and Stanford. We lost our match to Stanford at their place this year. We'll get ready for Fresno State, look back on the game film and do everything we can to prepare ourselves for that match. Hopefully we'll have a good week of training, and that's all you can ask for going into the tournament. It's always a mistake to look too far ahead so we won't be looking past this Fresno State team. We're hoping for a good result on Friday and we're very happy that we're hosting and don't have to travel this opening weekend."

On any concerns about possibly having to travel for the first two rounds:
"Absolutely we were concerned about that. We had two extremely strong finishes in the last two years. Last year we ran off 10 straight wins to finish the year and ended up with the 16th seed. So, I think that you don't really know what to expect, and with regard to home-and-away on the first weekend it's not all about seeding, as you saw. Some of the top seeds, including Portland, probably the toughest team we faced all year, is on the road and in Nebraska of all places. Often times it is hard to know whether your wins and losses and how you finish the season are going to necessarily translate into hosting or not hosting or where you are seeded in the NCAA Tournament."

On any danger of a letdown with the favorable draw:
"I don't think we have a danger of not being prepared or not being motivated since we didn't get any raw deal. For 17 years in a row we've gone to the NCAA Tournament and for ten years in a row we've gone to the quarterfinals, we're the only Division I team in the country that's gone to at least the quarterfinals 10 years in a row. In many of those years we had good seeds and some of those years we didn't have good seeds. Our motivation is to be the best team we can be, regardless of the seed and we have a culture and standards in our program which every player feels some motivation to live up to, and this team is no different. This team is very talented and very capable, as we showed particularly in our win over Notre Dame this year, a great team. I think what might serve as motivation for our team, since it appears we did not get a bad deal in terms of the seeding process, is our last four games. I think our team would loveto have another shot at a team like Portland, or Pepperdine. I think our motivation is to get into the NCAA Tournament and prove that we're more like the team that beat Notre Dame this year rather than the team that lost this past Saturday at Pepperdine."

On where this year's team stacks up in comparison to past Santa Clara teams:
"This team's a lot like the 2001 team that we had, which won the national championship, to be honest with you. Nothing's come easy for this team. We've had some teams here that had undefeated seasons and No. 1 rankings and things came easy. In 2001, we had a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries and we played no game in the NCAA Tournament that was comfortable for us. Even if we'd get a 2-0 lead the other team would tie it upand we'd have to win it in overtime, as we did in the national semifinal against Florida. So this team is, by virtue of a tough schedule and by the character of the team, gritty, and I think we're anxious to prove our grittiness in the NCAA Tournament. And that's what it takes. Last year in the first round we played Cal and had to come from behind to win the game. In the second round we played Stanford and had to go to a second overtime to win the game. Then we had to go to North Carolina against all the odds and win. So this program has had a lot of gritty performances, and this team has that ability to win the tight games in the NCAA Tournament, that's always required once you get to this part of the season."

On the possibility of facing Stanford again in the second round:
"Obviously I'm going to preface anything I say about Stanford with we have a dangerous Fresno State team on Friday. We have to be able to win our game Friday, and Stanford's going to have to win their game against Saint Louis. If those two teams should win their games, the game should be a dogfight, it's a great rivalry we have with Stanford, they're always tight matches and we lost to Stanford this year. When we lose to a team in the regular season, we hope that we get another shot at them in the NCAA Tournament. If we're fortunate enough to beat Fresno State and they are fortunate enough to beat Saint Louis, I think our team will look forward to matching up to a team that defeated us in the regular season. Stanford is a very good team, should we meet them, but our focus Monday through Thursday will be on the Fresno State team."

On the team's confidence level:
"Even though we lost on Saturday to Pepperdine on Saturday, our team played very well. It wasn't like we were on our heels, we played confidently, maybe even too confidently. We were so confident going forward that we kind of got lulled into making a critical mistake on the back of the team. Even in our Portland game, a 3-1 loss, I think our team played them pretty evenly, the difference in the game being Sinclair. In our Stanford game, it's not like we didn't play with confidence, we just didn't do enough to iwn the game. We could lose to Fresno State on Friday and be out in the first round, but it won't be for a lack of confidence."

On the strength of the team's defense going into the tournament:
"One of the big differences between this year and last year is that we're a very solid defensive team this year, and that always gives a coach confidence going into the NCAA Tournament. No matter what sport it is, you have to be a solid defensive team to go far. Our attacking side is the side that has struggled recently, but defensively we've been pretty solid. Our back line has been solid for us and we have Marian, Micaela [Esquivel] and Cat [Sigler] returning from last year's back line, Lauren, who has been at a couple different positions for our team, and now Dani Potts, you say someone's a freshman in August, in November you're looked at as a freshman but Dani's 20 games into her college career and really no longer a freshman.I'm really confident that whomever we have out there on our back line will put in a solid performance.

DEFENDER Marian Dalmy:

Opening Remarks:
"This is an awesome selection, we've worked so hard to get here. This is what we look forward to every season so I know the whole team's excited and we're ready and we'll take each games as it comes and go from there."

Reaction to Santa Clara's bracket and seeding:
"Coming in here my outlook was, `Say we're going to get Cal again, Stanford again and North Carolina again,' so I just think that you assume the worst and you can only get better from there."

On Fresno State:
"They are a blue-collar, hard-working team. They go after everything, when you look at it they are the underdog, they have nothing to lose, so they're just aggressive and hard-working."

On the team's confidence level:
"I don't think we ever lose confidence in each other. We have to learn through our mistakes and when we lose we have to look at what we as a team need to do better. I know I'm confident in my team, and we're all confident in everything that we're looking to accomplish in this tournament."

FORWARD Tina Estrada:

Opening Remarks:
"I'm very happy with the selection this year, especially because past years wasn't too good for us. But the first two rounds, playing here is great, I think it's an advantage for us and I'm looking forward to our game against Fresno."

On being concerned about where the Broncos would be seeded:
"I was definitely concerned, especially just how the process has worked in the two years I've been here. I think all of us were scared that we were going to get a lower seed than we did, but I'm happy about where we're at right now."

On the first meeting with Fresno State:
"They are a very hard-working team, I think they're going to come out extra strong because they don't have anything to lose and they are probably just as excited that they have another opportunity at us just like we want to have another opportunity against Stanford. They're just going to come out strong and hard and give it their all."

On the team's confidence level:
"I think we're all very confident with each other. A lot of the ups and downs during the season have just made us stronger and we're at the point now where we can take anything ahead of us. We believe in each other and we have the capability of going far in this tournament."

On the versatility of the attack:
"Now our teamwork is awesome, I think we're creating a lot and working well together. It's good that different people can step up at different times and I think that's what is important and will be to our advantage in the tournament."

GOALKEEPER Julie Ryder:

Opening Remarks:
"I'm very happy with the selection. I'm happy that we could get the opportunity to play the teams we've been given to play. We feel good about our team and hopefully we'll be able to step it up and take it to everybody."

Reaction to Santa Clara's bracket:
"Last year we were seeded 16th, so going into today people were all worried about stuff, so we figured it probably wasn't going to be much than last year, so we're pretty excited about our position this year."

On Fresno State:
"I think it's safe to say that anytime you play somebody for the second time during the season, especially in the NCAA Tournament, they're not going to be the same team you played earlier. We have to prepare ourselves to win on Friday."

On the team's confidence level:
"I'm very confident that everybody's going to bring what they have and I'm glad that our team's seen the ups and downs of the season and the team recovered. I feel really good about everybody on the team right now."

On the defense's solid play:
"Our back line, we really work as a unit. When we do get shutouts it really is a team effort because a lot of my position is telling the defense where to go and how to prevent chances from actually occurring so I think we really work well as a team back there."