Jillian Ellis Press Conference

Dec. 1, 2000

Opening comments:
Well obviously I'm extremely pleased with my team ingetting this far. We're now at a point where it's twomore games to accomplish the goal we've set out toaccomplish. At the beginning of the year we talkedabout winning a national championship and it'sgradually coming to fruition. But we obviously havetwo more games to battle out. It's not a case of justbeing happy to be here. We made it here and we wantto win so that's our goal.

On the keys to UCLA making it to the College Cup:
I think three big keys are sitting next to me (VenusJames, Karissa Hampton, Tracey Milburn). Obviously,our senior class has stepped up big and they areplaying the best soccer they've ever played in theircareers. They're looking for a future in the WSA. Ithink that, combined with an influx of freshmen thathave provided more depth. But in essence, everyonesort of thinks this is a new program, but this programhas been around for eight years. Its been to theplayoffs. Joy (Fawcett) and Todd (Saldana), the twoprevious coaches, got it going in the right direction. I think this is now kind of an evolution for us atthis point.

On Bruin forward Stephanie Rigamat's play of late:
She's an interesting bird. She's a dynamic player.She transferred in and I had her last fall but shewasn't eligible to play because of the transfer rule.In the spring I tried to make her back, but she'sstubborn. This Fall, come preseason, now I understandwhy she's a frontrunner. She's dynamic, she workshard, and she's explosive. She's been a go-to playerfor us, especially in the playoff games. She's toughto handle.

On the Spartan Stadium field:
I liken it to the field at Florida. The field inFlorida is also very small. We have good speed and wehave good flank play so obviously it being a bitsmaller will be hard for us. But we proved in Floridathat it doesn't matter if you're playing on a postagestamp or a huge field, it comes down to executing. Ithink we'll be fine. And our goalkeeper can punt theball so it will be interesting as far as the length inconcerned. I hope she gets an assist.

On Tracey Milburn being the best forward in thePac-10:
Tracey's best position is at forward, but she's playedall year, because I've asked her to, at wing-mid. Ithink she's a very gifted player with tremendousability. She has scored great goals and nowunderstands her role as a wing-mid in getting assists. But yes, I think she's had a tremendous year and isvery deserving of her honor.

On at what point did she feel this team had a chanceto win a national championship:
For me personally, that's why I came to UCLA. It'salways been a goal of mine. When the UCLA job becameopen, it just seemed like a perfect fit in terms ofbeing able to get that done. I've always wanted towin a national championship and it didn't matter whatprogram I was at. But I think UCLA has allowed me toget there more rapidly with the support and theresources that we have. And obviously the players.Our first game of the season against Clemson served asa gauge of where we were. Even though we lost thatgame, I understood then that this team had greatpotential. I think our best game of the year wasagainst Washington as far as playing great soccer andwe lost that game. For me it's about getting them toplay their best soccer at this point and they are.It's always been a goal and at this point, if you'rein it this far, you're in it to win it.

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