Q & A With Lesle Gallimore
Sept. 2, 2004
Gohuskies.com: What are your thoughts on the successful opening weekend?Coach Gallimore: Clearly it's the kind of weekend that you hope and think you can have going from summer into the preseason. We're just really proud of the team's effort, stacking up against quality competition right off the bat. Without any preseason scrimmage or any kind of exhibition game I was happy to see that we were prepared. The kids are physically prepared to play at this level. A lot of our freshmen were able to contribute early on and we had some senior leadership obviously that stepped up for us. I couldn't ask for anything more.
GoHuskies.com: Is this a great group of freshmen or did you play so many of them by necessity?Coach Gallimore: We have an absolutely solid group of freshman that we were banking on giving minutes when we recruited them. We actually have a couple more on the bench that are very capable of stepping on and playing. We have some other underclassmen who have prepared themselves well enough to play. We feel that what we lack in experience, we have made up for in talent. We're pretty sure that's going to be the deciding factor on how well we do this year, is how well those people contribute immediately.
GoHuskies.com: Comment on that fact that you open the season with games against three ranked opponents, including No. 8 Tennessee on Friday.Coach Gallimore: Fortunately they are at home. We have a big road swing coming up that is like a whole other season on the road. We want to make sure that with the home games we get out of the gate on a good note. The season is too short to sort of ease into it. The Pac-10 certainly is always difficult, so if we don't prepare ourselves well in our non-conference games and use them wisely then we're not going to be prepared to play our Pac-10 opponents. Clearly, when you've won two games it's easy to say it's good scheduling, but at the same time if you look back it's been our history to play quality opponents as often as we possibly can to see how we stack up. Recruits want to come into a program that is going to play against quality opponents. That's what helps make your players better is knowing where they stand nationally. Certainly for us, playing these SEC and Big Ten teams is a test for us.
GoHuskies.com: What did you think of sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Rasmussen's play last weekend?Coach Gallimore: We always knew coming in that Kelsey was going to be a starter for us a some point, most likely in her sophomore year. Certainly she played well in the games she played last year and got a little experience without having to have the whole weight of the season on her shoulders her freshman year. We know she did well in the spring, but it's hard without any exhibition games to know how she's going to stack up when the season starts. Kelsey certainly did come out and make a name for herself in her first two games. She knows that she can still improve on some things.
GoHuskies.com: Was there any other individual whose performance stood out last weekend?Coach Gallimore: Clare Rustad did a tremendous job at centerback for us, playing with a freshman on either side of her. For as much as Clare has been away from us her first three years with the Canadian National Team, she certainly has come along in her role as a leader and a stalwart at that position. I was really pleased to see her get the defensive MVP award in our tournament. Not that I'm surprised, but for someone who hasn't had that many full games with us, particularly at that position, she did a tremendous job over the weekend.
GoHuskies.com: How do you feel about moving into the national rankings this week?Coach Gallimore: We don't really pay that much attention to it. When you beat teams that are in the preseason rankings, who knows where those two teams are going to end up. After having played them, I think that Penn State and Ohio State are two tremendous teams. Ohio State will be back in the rankings despite going 0-2 on their first weekend. Any team in our four-team tournament could have ended up 0-2 and anyone could have ended up 2-0. The 2-1 scores were indicators of that. We try not to read too much into it. It's important where you are at the end of the season not at the beginning. It's flattering and everything else and maybe gives the kids something to brag about and tell their friends. In recruiting it always helps to be in the polls. We know what kind of team were are and know we have to play like that every day. We can't just rest on our laurels. We have to get after it every time because it doesn't get any easier.