Men's Soccer College Cup Press Conference Quotes
Dec. 13, 2001
2001 NCAA Men's Soccer College Cup
Pre-Championship Press Conference Quotes
Stanford head coach Bret Simon
'I'm very pleased to be here. I'm particularly pleased for this group whoI've had the good fortune of working with for the last 9-10 months. It seemslike longer in only the best way possible.'
On his feelings about appearing in the College Cup with two different teams:'Last year would have been a surprise because I didn't anticipate leaving.It's great. I joined this group at Stanford at the end of February lastyear. We'd gone through an interview process and one of the parts was withthe players. The players made it clear from the first moment that theirfocus and their primary goal was to get to the College Cup and win anational championsnhip.'
On whether it is a good matchup with North Carolina, both teams being sodefensively minded:'I think if you looked at the goals for and goals against for each team thatis in the final four, I would suspect it would be similar. Each team, to getto this point, must have a good defensive group and must also be able toscore goals.
'I think the better way to look at it would be which teams are packed withplayers who are committed to playing and using the ball. I'll let you decidethat, hopefully we'll make a favorable impression. Every team that I've hadI've tried to get every player to play. Every player has to play, be good onthe ball, be willing to contribute to the attack but also must be committedto defending.'
Stanford junior forward Roger Levesque
'It's been a great year so far. Last year I had a role coming off the bench,just a contributer. We had two senior strikers who played great. This yearas an upperclassman, I knew expectations were going to be a little bithigher. I knew a lot of the burden would be on me. Coming in I just wantedto contribute as much as I could for the team so we could be as successfulas possible.'
Stanford senior defender Lee Morrison
On the team's role in coach Bret Simon's interview process:'The general consensus of the team was that Coach Simon was someone that wewent after and we knew we wanted. The qualifications that he had aresomething the entire team, when we got together and met, said these were thethings we wanted to look for in a coach. Coach (Simon) met all those andwent above and beyond them. The team was ecstatic to get him and lookedforward to winning a championship.'
Stanford junior defender Todd Dunivant
On North Carolina:'They did very well in the ACC and all year. They had a tough schedule whichis a testament to them. They have a very good striker who is really tallthat we will have to deal with. They have some quick outside midfielders whowe will have to keep an eye on. They are a dangerous team. We will have tobe on our toes and be ready for whatever they throw at us. I think we'llkeep playing the same way we always have, I don't think things will changevery much.'
North Carolina head coach Elmar Bolowich
'We are certainly happy to be here. We also feel we deserve to be here. Wehad a tough stretch in the playoffs, however we made it through and we had afantastic year. Coming back from last year, we fell short in thequarterfinals. We ultimately wanted to be in Ericcson Stadium in Charlottebut Indiana had a say in that. This year we made a strong run at the end ofthe season to make it happen for our guys and our team and our program to behere.'
On the changes in his team this season:'I think they showed more of their determination when we had some closegames in terms of pulling through and in terms of attitude. When we werebehind against Farleigh Dickinson they really rolled up their sleevesdefensively and put nine players behind the ball. I saw a change in our teamin terms of resolve. We are here and we want to enjoy this. We'll see howfar we can take it. Obviously we're going for the same thing as everyoneelse.'
On being the lowest seed in the championship:'From a coach's point of view, it's not good for your heart. Either way,we're not a team that sits back and just defends. Although our defense isfairly strong, it's just not our style, we don't want to do that. We will goout and attack the ball.'
North Carolina senior defender Danny Jackson
'This year we came in with the attitude that defense would be the foundationof our team. If you look at our record we proved that. We defended well as ateam, not just our (backfield) and our goalkeeper. The determination and ourgoal at the beginning of this season was that we would make it to theCollege Cup in Columbus and we achieved that.'
North Carolina senior defender Chris Leitch (a native of Baltimore, Ohio)
On coming back to his hometown for the College Cup:'It's great to come back here from my standpoint, coming back home. Growingup here, I've been a Columbus sports fan all my life, Ohio State football.The Columbus Crew was a great addition to the city. It's nice being here. Ihave gotten a chance to play up north during my time at UNC. It's greatbecause my family is going to be here.'
St. John's head coach Dave Masur
On the changes in the team throughout the season:'It's a little different. I'm not sure if it's better or worse, justdifferent. I think some of the younger players have come along. Some of theguys who didn't play against IU because they weren't ready hopefully will beready to play. Hopefully we have matured as a team and we understand whatit's going to take to be successful.'
On St. John's quarterfinal victory over SMU:'The guys wanted to do well in that game. They were very focused and verycommitted. They probably got the result they deserved. Whether it's acarry-over effect I don't know, we're going to see. We have a huge weekendin front of us, a huge game against Indiana on Friday and we have a lot todo to get ready for that game.'
On difference in approach to the championship between 1996 (lastappearance) and now:'I've learned a lot as a coach. Before I got here, I made sure we created aneducational environment to make sure we got the message across to the teamso they knew what they had to do to be successful. We're sticking with thesame format, with the same amount of focus, concentration and effort in ourpreparation.
St. John's junior midfielder Patrick Lonergan
On the road to the College Cup:The first game was a pretty tough game. I thought it was one of the hardestgames. Getting that under our belt was huge. We won the next one and triedto get momentum, as we kept going on it built our confidence as a team. Thelast game we played against SMU was pretty tough. We were down there ontheir home field in front of all their fans and I think that was thetoughest team we've faced so far.'
St. John's freshman midfielder Alberto Duenas
On St. John's quarterfinal victory over SMU:'It was a great win. It was good for us because obviously it helped us getto the final four and play to win the whole thing. I give credit to SMUbecause they are a great team.'
Indiana head coach Jerry Yeagley
'We're certainly glad to be here in Columbus. We'd like to think that beingclose to home, four hours away, that we might have an advantage by having agood fan following. This is the first time its been in the Midwest since Ithink 1988, when we hosted it Indiana University. Being here five years in arow also might be a slight advantage, especially for our upperclassmen whohave been here and are giving the rite of passage to the younger ones. Westart three freshmen. I think they've gotten the word to them about what itis to be here. It's not just good enough to be in 'the dance' and be happyto be here. Our goal is to win the national championship.'
'I was on record as saying I favored Stanford in the preseason. I think theyhave exceptional talent. It's a wide open final four. It could be anybody'sgame.'
On Indiana's first game of the season,a loss to St. John's:'We were not a very good team then. They very honestly were a much betterteam than we were. They beat us, 2-1, but that was going away. We playedmuch better in the first half than in the second half. They have very goodplayers in midfield. We probably have at least four players starting now whodidn't start then. We're not even thinking about that first game, that'shistory. We're trying to focus on what we need to do in this game. There'sno revenge factor, nothing like that. We're going to play the best we can.'
Indiana senior goalkeeper Colin Rogers
'I don't think right now there really is a favorite. I think the two teamsthat everyone really looked at to be the favorites at the beginning of thetournament, SMU and Virginia, aren't here. I think the four teams that arehere are pretty much in the same boat. They are very strong defensive teamsand I think every team has an equal chance.'
Indiana junior forward Pat Noonan
'It's a great atmosphere and a great field and I think all the teams areexcited to be here playing in a good environment. I think all four teamshave experienced watching the games on TV. They understand Columbus CrewStadium. I don't think it's really an advantage, our having been herewatching a couple games. We haven't ever played a game on this field butit's good to be here.'