Dec. 6, 2007
College Station, Texas Florida State arrived in Texas on Wednesday in preparation for the 2007 Women's College Cup. The Seminoles will face Notre Dame on Friday, December 7 at 5:00 pm in the first of two semifinal contests. The game featuring the Seminoles and the Irish will be shown live on ESPN2.
Thursday kicked-off day one of activities at the Aggie Soccer Stadium with practice, a pre-tournament press conference and ESPN interviews.
The evening featured the Tournament Banquet at the Zone in the endzone of Kyle Field, home of the Texas A&M football team and concluded with the team cheering on the Seminole women's basketball in their game against the Aggies.
Below is a transcript of today's press conference.
NCAA Press Conference Quotes
December 6, 2007
Head Coach Mark Krikorian:
"We're really excited to be here. (Texas) A&M has done a fantastic job of putting on a beautiful show so far. The field was in perfect condition--we just got off from a little bit of training and it looks like the weather is going to be great. We're really excited to prepare for a big game against Notre Dame tomorrow night."
On whether or not there's any difference in expectations with the third-straight appearance at the College Cup:
"I think the first time you come into a College Cup or Final Four, as much as you may think that you're prepared, the big stage is kind of difficult to really fully prepare for. So I think that maybe we're a little bit more experienced and we have a number of players who have experienced it twice and some just once, but I think that our goals, our aspirations are reasonably clear. The feeling among the team is very positive. I think that probably we're prepared this time than we have been the last two times, hopefully that will show in their performances."
On whether or not the team has a higher confidence level because of their previous College Cup Experience:
"I think so. I think for all of us--and they probably can answer that as well--I think having been there for Libby [Gianeskis] and Mami [Yamaguchi] twice, and for Becky [Edwards] once, it does make it a little bit easier."
On how Florida State and Notre Dame have changed since meeting in the College Cup last year:
"I think clearly with our group and with Notre Dame as well, there are a number of pretty important players that have left the team. We are very comfortable with our team, we feel as though we're playing the best soccer we've played all year--maybe the best soccer we've played since I've been at Florida State. I do think that Notre Dame, they're a quality opponent, they've got a lot of good players and I know they're a most worthy opponent. But I think that they're significantly different than they were a year ago also. So a lot of the schools, the names on the jerseys are the same but I think the teams themselves are quite a bit different."
On losing Sarah Wagenfuhr to injury earlier in the season:
"I have to tell you, when she went down with the ACL, I thought it was a blow that could be devastating to our team because she is such a fantastic leader as well as an outstanding player. But I did meet with Becky and Libby and Kristen van de Ven and a few other players and basically suggested to them that if we were going to be successful, their leadership quality was going to have to come out and they were going to have to do a little bit more and give a little bit more of themselves because we are such a young team. We have five or six freshmen playing an awful lot of minutes, and I think that it's a credit to the leadership quality of the young women that are sitting next to me that we were able to pick up the pieces, put it back together and go on the run we have. The other half of the equation is Sarah Wagenfuhr has continued to be a fantastic leader for our team, but not on the field. So in the locker room, picking the team up, helping out with little things, encouraging the group and so on, so she's as good of a leader that I've come across in all of my years of coaching--whether it be with the national team, the WUSA or the college ranks. She's just a fantastic leader, she's a special one, but I think I have a few special ones sitting next to me too (Libby Gianeskis, Becky Edwards, Mami Yamaguchi)."
On the season to date:
"Well we've been defending very well all season long and it's gotten better as the season's gone on and again, we have an awful lot of new players that are making significant impacts into our team. Integrating new players into a new system and getting them comfortable playing with each other and as you referenced, the loss of Wags are all little adjustments we've had to deal with but our defending has been very, very good which in essence leads to our attack. We've been able to get a hold of the ball and kick the ball and pass the ball and make other teams have to work pretty hard to get the ball back so if the balls on the ground and there's a good rhythm in the game, that certainly favors us and I think at this point our spacing is good, our passing quality is good, our movement off the ball is good, so that when we do get the ball we're able to attack with a lot of different players in a lot of different ways."
On the success of forward Mami Yamaguchi:
"We've known all along that Mami has the quality to score goals, but as you know the tough position of a team often depends on the other personnel as well. The last couple years, we've needed her more in the midfield than we needed her up front because we had other players that were able to score goals and we didn't have as many players in midfield and we needed the players to be able to set the table for those players. So with the graduation of those kids, it was time for Mami to move forward, which is her most natural position and obviously she's had a fantastic season and helped carry us to the point that we're at. But as we look back at it, if you look at the three years over all, the contribution that she's made it was equally significant each of the three years, it was just different roles that she took and her selflessness is shown now because she probably could have been a 20 goal scorer each of the years, but the needs of the team came first. Much like Becky Edwards by trade; last year she came in and played right back. This year she's moved over and played center back, so I think that's the spirit we have on the team. You know whatever it's going to take and wherever you need to me to play, I'll play there and give us the best chance to be successful so I do think that's something that you can look through our entire team. Katrin Schmidt is an attacking midfielder who's a left back, Erica Sutton's a midfielder who's a wing and a right back and I think all of these players understand when you decide to be in a team sport, it's for the greater good so they're willing to sacrifice some of their own personal glory for the glory of the team."
On Notre Dame and their offensive play:
"I think that's the strength of them for sure. We've certainly looked at it, we've seen it, you know they are a taller team; they're powerful, strong so you know it would be better for us if we don't commit foolish fouls and give them a lot of set pieces. So if we can keep a hold of the ball and make them have to work in defending us instead as opposed to us having to work in defending I think that's an advantage to whichever team can do that."
On any specific Notre Dame players Florida State is worried about:
"I think their front three are all very good players, Amanda Cinalli as well, I mean when she's plays the front end or midfield, I think those kids are dynamic and they are strong, attacking players--Rose (Augustin) in the midfield. So I think they have a lot of options that we need to concern ourselves with but I don't think we can concentrate on any one--I think they're a strong team across the board and we need to pay attention to all of them and not just focus on any one player in particular."
On whether or not it's easier when it's not your first time at the College Cup:
"I definitely think coming here a third time you get used to everything around you like all the hype stuff. The NCAA puts on such a good set-up for us and it's all great but I think for me and a lot of the other players we realize that it's just another really big game that we're getting ready to play in tomorrow. We've already been through the excitement of the College Cup and so now we really just need to focus on the game and what we're here to do."
On the goal to win a College Cup as a senior:
"I think that everybody knows that it's my last go along with a couple of the other girls, but you know this is my personal goal and I know it's the team goal to get here. But really what we're all looking for is to come home with the championship on Sunday."