Q & A With Raphael Cox
Nov. 22, 2007
The Husky men's soccer team learned this week they were selected as an at-large berth to the 2007 NCAA Tournament. UW will make its second-straight postseason appearance and 12th under head coach Dean Wurzberger. Junior midfielder Raphael Cox, named to the All-Pac-10 Second-Team, has played a huge role in the Huskies' success this season. Cox took some time to talk to GoHuskies.com before the team gears up for its first-round battle with Portland at Husky Soccer Field, Friday night.
GoHuskies.com: What was the reaction to being selected for the NCAA tournament?
Raphael Cox: 'We weren't really sure. We figured we were on the borderline with eight wins. We knew that we needed to win one of the last two games, or at the very least tie, which is what we did. That left it up in the air. We were all in the locker room watching the T.V. together and we just went crazy when we heard our name. Everyone was cheering and it was an amazing feeling.'
GH: What was the reaction to finding out you will be hosting on Friday?
RC: 'That was really surprising. Because we were on the borderline of even getting in to the tournament, to host was even more of a surprise.'
GH: How did the mid-season schedule changes work out?
RC: 'I think the way everything worked out was really good for us. The UCLA weekend when we had only one game made it so that we could just focus on UCLA. They are one of the best teams in the Pac-10 and it worked out well for because we ended up getting the win down there. Splitting up the Oregon State and San Diego games was really good for us too because we got to divide the week and really focus on each of those teams.'
GH: What do you expect from Portland on Friday?
RC: 'They are going to give us a huge fight. They are a rival even though it isn't in-state. We've already beaten them this year so they probably feel like they have something to prove. It's going to be a battle.'
GH: Are you expecting a better tournament run this year, starting on Friday?
RC: 'I hope it isn't raining. I think we are really going to make a good run for it this year. After making it into the second round last year we got a lot of experience. Our younger players have shown that they can play well in big games, like SMU and New Mexico on the road where we got good results.'
GH: How much does the experience from last year help?
RC: 'I think it should help out a lot. Seeing it one year ago and seeing how close were helped us tremendously. It showed the character of our team and that we don't give up. We can beat anyone any day.'
GH: With the losses to key players this season, how does this team find itself in the NCAA tournament?
RC: 'That just shows how deep our team is. Dean [Wurzberger] says we have two guys at every position and that really showed this year. We've lost a lot of key players. We lost JoJo, Rylan and Kevin and we're still on it.'
GH: What has Pac-10 Player of the Year Ely Allen meant to this team?
RC: 'He's had to step up and play a bigger role. Especially with a freshman in Ellis next to him, he's had to take more of a leadership role this year. I think that was good for him. It helped him step up and he proved that he is one of the best players in the league.'
GH: How does it feel to be named second-team All-Pac-10?
RC: 'I couldn't have gotten that without the team. It just shows how good our team is. I feel that everyone on our team is an all-Pac-10 player. I know that if I don't get the ball from my teammates or don't perform well, someone else will step up. '
GH: Dean hit a couple of milestone this year. How does it feel to be a part of it?
RC: 'He's given a lot to the University of Washington and it feels good to help him achieve personal records as well as our team achieving them. He really wants us to be the best we can be. He's a great coach and I'm glad to see him be successful.'
GH: Good luck on Friday!