Nov. 14, 2005
SCU Head Coach Cameron Rast
"On behalf of the men's soccer team here at Santa Clara University, we are, obviously, very proud to once again by selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row. I think we have a very good group who are very deserving and will represent our university well at the highest level of college soccer. We are pleased to have a chance to compete for another national championship. That is always our goal when we begin the season. We train hard for it and we are looking forward to that opportunity first on Friday night against The Ohio State University the at Cal, hopefully, next week."
On his team's outlook at earning an NCAA Tournament invitation
"I think that any time you are not an automatic qualifier, you always have a chance that you might not get in. I'm sure there are some disappointed teams, including some West Coast Conference teams this year that did not get a bid. For us, we knew we played a challenging schedule. We knew we did that in preparation for the possibility of an NCAA bid. I think, if you look at the entire season, I think we did a very good job of preparing ourselves.
"Up until the last couple of weeks, I think we were really playing as well as anybody and one of the top teams in the country. The last couple of weeks have really shown us that we are really going to have to put our noses to the grindstone to be ready. I think we are all pleased. This is a position we look forward to being in."
On the lack of positive results the last couple of weeks
"When we look at the position we put ourselves in, we were for sure in the driver's seat in the West Coast Conference. I got the team together about a week ago and we talked about the position we had put ourselves in (needing just a win or draw in the final two matches to claim a league title). That was the position we wanted to be in, to win the WCC and get that automatic berth. When I looked at their faces and I mentioned winning the WCC, there were blank stares. You would think that would be a really negative thing. But, I don't think they ever set their sights on just winning the WCC conference title. If that was a bi-product of us playing well and winning games, great. But, I think in the end their goal is to win a NCAA championship and that is always the goal for us."
On the possibility his team could be looking ahead to a 2nd round match at Cal
"Ohio State is a tough first round opponent and their team is our only focus right now. They earned their right to play here and any talk of our team looking ahead to Cal just isn't the case. We have a tradition of playing in the NCAA Tournament and look to approach it just like we have in the past and that's by focusing solely on each opponent as they come. They earned their right to play here and any talk of our team looking ahead to Cal just isn't the case. We have a tradition of playing in the NCAA Tournament and look to approach it just like we have in the past and that's by focusing solely on each opponent as they come. Ohio State is all we are going to talk about for the next five days."
On Ohio State
"I know their coach, John Bluem, since he coached at Fresno State. They had a very tough schedule this year as well. They beat UCLA and played number one ranked Akron and number one ranked New Mexico. And, they played Indiana and Penn State, which are both seeded in the tournament. It is going to be a tough battle with a lot of physical play."
On what Mehdi Ballouchy means to the team
"Besides just the fantastic haircuts he gets... Seriously, when looked at our team two years ago in the College Cup, Mehdi was the one player we were missing. We knew that then. He was on campus, redshirting, at the time. When you speak about players who can win you a national championship, you speak about players like Mehdi Ballouchy. We know that he has a lot of creativity and ability, but maybe some of the things that get overlooked is the fact that he may work the hardest of any player on our team in terms of his workrate on the field. There is no question that his ability on both sides of the ball are a big factor in why we are in the NCAA Tournament. But, it is going to take 11 players. I entrust all 11 of those who start our game and the reserves who we select that they will be ready and they will get the job done. Mehdi has been a good leader for us and a player we didn't have two years ago."
Junior midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy on the team's nerves in watching the selection show
"(The delay in the middle of the show) made us kind of nervous. It took a while for them to call our name. We were among the last 12 or whatever. I was pretty confident that we would be invited. Before last weekend, we were ranked 11th (nationally) and I didn't think we would drop that far."