Q&A With Women's Soccer Seniors

Nov. 4, 2008

BERKELEY -

This Saturday’s game against Stanford will be the final home game for six seniors on the Cal women’s soccer team. Rosie Aguilera, Valerie Barnes, Katherine Daiss, Torrey Delaplane, Nkechi Kanu and Nikki Schrey will all be honored prior to kickoff. CalBears.com recently sat down with the class of 2009 to discuss their time at Berkeley and plans for the future.

 

Rosie Aguilera

Rosie Aguilera returned to her native Bay Area after playing her 2005 freshman season at UC Irvine. She was voted Cal’s co-most improved player last season after seeing action in five games. The Piedmont, Calif., native grabbed a career-high six saves in her start against UCLA in 2007. Rosie has three saves this season and one shutout. Aguilera is majoring in conservation and resource management.

 

CalBears.com: What is your best Cal story or favorite Cal experience?

Rosie Aguilera: “I think my favorite Berkeley experience is just being with my teammates. No matter where we are or what time of the day it is, we are always having so much fun together. People are always dancing, singing, imitating other people or posing for silly pictures. We can make the most boring things an amazing time.”

 

CalBears.com: What will you miss most about Cal?

RA: “I will miss the team the most. Being with these girls everyday is such an amazing experience, it really is a family. I know I have created friendships that will last a lifetime.”

 

CalBears.com: What are your career plans and what are you plans after graduation?

RA: “I am not sure exactly what I am going to do when I graduate. My best friend from high school and I are going to travel the world for a while. After that, I want to go work in Africa as a wildlife conservationist and a safari guide.”

 

CalBears.com: Has Cal lived up to or has it been different/better than the expectations you had of it as a freshman?

RA: “Cal has been better then I ever thought it would be. I transferred to Cal after my freshman year at UC Irvine, and it was the best decision I have ever made. I moved into a house with the rest of the girls in my class and we have had an amazing three years together playing soccer and doing everything together. I have made such amazing friends and done so many things I will never forget. I would not trade my time at Cal for anything.”

 

CalBears.com: What has been the most embarrassing thing in your years at Cal?

RA: “I would have to say the most embarrassing thing actually just recently happened when we played Santa Clara. We scored a goal in overtime and everyone was rushing onto the field and I was in the front of the pack and someone kicked my foot and I ended up falling face first and everyone left me to go celebrate. Luckily Nkechi Kanu was too tired to run so I went and picked her up and carried her to the celebration.”

 

Valerie Barnes

Forward Valerie Barnes had an exceptional 2007 season considering she had surgery on her knee halfway through the campaign. Last season, she received honorable mention All-Pac-10 accolades and was Cal’s most valuable offensive player. Co-captain with Nkechi Kanu this year, Barnes has two goals and one assist. Barnes, a native of Martinez, Calif., is a rhetoric major.

 

CalBears.com: What is your best Cal story or favorite Cal experience?

Valerie Barnes: “My favorite Berkeley experience was recently when I went to the Big C above Memorial Stadium for the very first time. I was extremely sad that I waited until I was a senior to go up there, but I'm glad I finally made it up to the top of the hill. It is an amazing view and it has really caused me to realize how fortunate I am to attend Cal.”

 

CalBears.com: What will you miss most about Cal?

VB: “I will definitely miss all the perks of being a student-athlete and being on the team.”

 

CalBears.com: What is your favorite place to eat or go in Berkeley?

VB: “My favorite place to go in Berkeley is Cafe Strada. I love the atmosphere there, and it is a great place to study. I also love going to Raleigh's for dinner because it's a very fun, lively environment and the food is great.”

 

CalBears.com: What advice would you give to freshmen?

VB: “I would tell freshmen, and anyone at Cal for that matter, is to not take for granted what you have here –whether it be your team, the university, your ability to play soccer, anything. It's such a special chapter in your life, so I would tell people to not try to get through it too fast because it definitely goes fast on its own.”

 

CalBears.com: What made you choose Cal?

VB: “I chose Cal because it is so different from where I went to school and the environment I was used to. It was a huge step for me to come to Cal, but I really felt like I needed to step out of my comfort zone. Once the opportunity presented itself I grabbed it.”

 

Katherine Daiss

Katherine Daiss came to Cal as one of the top 100 recruits in the nation and has had a great impact on the Golden Bears. Daiss overcame a knee injury in 2006 to play in 21 games last season. Daiss, who is majoring in mass communications, was a 2007 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention. The Portola Valley, Calif., native has two assists on the year.

 

CalBears.com: What is your best Cal story or favorite Cal experience?

Katherine Daiss: “One of my favorite days since I have been in school was my freshman year when we played Stanford at Stanford. When we arrived on their campus, our alumni were already tailgating in the parking lot and questionably even more excited for the game than we were. Once the game started, we had more fans in the stands than Stanford did – and we were at their field! After we beat them, we quickly exploded in an unabashed celebration on the field. When we returned to Berkeley, the city was wild with excitement for Cal's victory in the Big Game. Needless to say, I will never forget that night.”

 

CalBears.com: What are your career plans and what are you plans after graduation?

KD: “As far as my immediate graduation, I would love to travel abroad. While soccer has been amazing these past four years, and I would not have done my college experience any differently, I was limited in my ability to travel. Therefore, I am very interested in experiencing new cultures. I am particularly passionate about working in the underserved parts of countries that are still developing.”

 

CalBears.com: Do you have any funny stories about the Cal coaching staff?

KD: “I am a loyal passenger in BZ's [assistant coach Brian Zwaschka] van on travel trips. Trip after trip, we trust that self-entitled 'good-sense-of-direction-Neil' will lead the caravan to the proper destination in the most efficient way possible. The peculiar thing about Neil's title is on the past three travel trips, our van has made the 'we're going in the wrong direction, huh?' phone call and then resort to our own travel methods.”

 

CalBears.com: What advice would you give to freshmen?

KD: “Never stop looking and asking for new things and places to explore in Berkeley, North Berkeley, Berkeley Hills and San Francisco because there are so many! There are weekly fun events in the community and on campus that should not be missed.”

 

CalBears.com: What made you choose Cal?

KD: “Besides sharing a hometown and frizzy hair with JT [assistant coach Jennifer Thomas], she showed me what it meant to be part of a campus with so much pride, history, academic opportunities as well as a soccer team that works hard and has fun doing it. I also latched onto the laid-back atmosphere of Berkeley that has a spunk that takes me further than the actual 50-minute drive from home.”

 

Torrey Delaplane

Torrey Delaplane is a forward majoring in art practice from Valley Center, California. She was twice named a Pac-10 All-American honorable mention. Last season, Torrey notched the game-winning goal in the win over Vermont and had the game-winning assist in a 1-0 triumph at Kansas.

 

CalBears.com: What has been the best part about being on the Cal soccer team?

Torrey Delaplane: “My favorite part has definitely been the team bonding and relationships that I’ve formed with my teammates. These girls are my sisters and know everything about me.”

 

CalBears.com: What are you other favorite Cal sports? Do you attend a lot of that sports' games?

TD: “I love basketball. My teammates and I go to almost all the games. We love the players and the excitement of the sport.”

 

CalBears.com: What advice would you give to freshmen?

TD: “I would tell them to enjoy every minute because it goes by fast. I would also add that it’s important to not stress about things. For the most part, no matter what happens or however stressful things can get, everything will either work out, or it will probably be a hilarious story.”

 

CalBears.com: Has Cal lived up to or has it been different/better than the expectations you had of it as a freshman?

TD: “It has definitely lived up to it. I wanted a new and diverse experience from my home town. I’ve definitely gotten that experience here at Cal. Not to mention all the friends I’ve made on the team.”

 

CalBears.com: What made you choose Cal?

TD: “When I came to tour Cal, the older players on the team were a big deciding factor for me. They made me so welcome. I knew that I wanted to join the soccer sisterhood.”

 

Nkechi Kanu

Nkechi Kanu has been a starting outside back the last two seasons and is a co-captain this year with fellow senior Valerie Barnes. In 2007, she garnered Pac-10 All-Academic honors and was named Cal’s most valuable defensive player after starting all 21 games on Cal’s backline. This season, the legal studies major from Pleasanton, Calif., has tallied two assists.

 

CalBears.com: What is your best Cal story or favorite Cal experience?

Nkechi Kanu: “One of my favorite Berkeley stories is when I finally passed the fitness test as a freshman. I was having trouble passing the fitness test and was not able to play in any games until I passed. I tried to run the test at least 10 to 12 times during training camp and within the first month of school. We were able to take a couple days off for our team retreat. When we returned, I decided to try to take the test again, but this time the three other freshmen – Val, Torrey and Kat – decided to run it with me. Each one of them ran different parts of the test and cheered and motivated me to finish. Without their support I don’t know if I would have ever been able to pass that particular fitness test my freshman year!”

 

CalBears.com: What are your career plans and what are you plans after graduation?

NK: “I am not exactly sure what my career plans are after graduation, but I do know that I want to go to law school and I hope to be a lawyer of some kind in the future. I may also want to continue playing soccer abroad or join the women’s league in the U.S.”

 

CalBears.com: Do you have a favorite, goal or play?

NK: “My favorite goal is when we were in the second round of the NCAA Tournament playing Stanford last season. We were down 1-0 and there was less than a minute left. Goalie Gina Pellegrini took the free kick from about the halfway mark and Alex Morgan headed the ball past the goalie into the goal and we tied the game.”

 

CalBears.com: What are you other favorite Cal sports? Do you attend a lot of that sports' games?

NK: “My favorite other Cal sports are football, basketball and volleyball. I go to every home football game that I can and regularly attend the other home games.”

 

CalBears.com: What advice would you give to freshmen?

NK: “I would tell the freshmen to make sure to value and appreciate every moment at Cal, because your four years here go so fast. Having the opportunity to play alongside some of the best athletes, while learning from some of the best professors, is a unique experience that is paralleled by nothing else.”

 

Nikki Schrey

Nikki Schrey joined the Cal squad in 2007 after playing her first two years at Saint Mary’s, where she paced the Gaels with five goals and 13 points as a sophomore in 2006. The Fresno, Calif. native saw action in 20 games last season with two of her three goals coming against Santa Clara, including one in the 2-0 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Schrey has four goals in 2008, including an overtime gamewinnner against Santa Clara. Schrey is majoring in social welfare.

 

CalBears.com: What is your favorite place to eat or go in Berkeley?

Nikki Schrey: “I have two favorite places: Café Strada and the view spot behind the Clark Kerr campus. Strada is a favorite of mine because I love to go there to study and drink tea or coffee. It’s right down the street from my house and across the street from campus, so it’s convenient too. I’ve met teammates there on several occasions to study. I find Strada to be a much more appealing place to study then in the library or being cooped up in my house. The other spot I like to go to provides one of the best views of the entire bay area. Some people may be familiar with its location back behind Clark Kerr way up above the Golden Bear softball field. When it’s nice outside, and I feel like going for a hike, this is usually where I go. My boyfriend is actually the one who took me up there first, and since then, we have been up a few times with his dog too. The view of the bay is breathtaking up there, especially when it is clear in the City.”

 

CalBears.com: Do you have a favorite, goal or play from your years at Cal?

NS: “I would say that my favorite goal I’ve scored at Cal was this season against Santa Clara. It started as a set piece that goalie Gina Pellegrini took. She saw Megan Jesolva, who was getting open on the flank. Megan crossed it far post and Brianna Bak headed the ball across the goal to me and I had a touch and then put it away. It was such a great team effort and it won the game for us. That moment was a very exciting one for me and the team.”

 

CalBears.com: What are your other favorite Cal sports? Do you attend a lot of that sports' games?

NS: “I love all Cal sports but football is another one of my favorites that I spend a lot of time watching. This season, I got to attend the first four home games, and even when our team was on the road playing soccer, we always tuned in to watch their games. I’m looking forward to going to as many more football games this season as I can. I try and go to other sports games to support friends and fellow athletes. Basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball are just a few of the Cal sports I like to watch.”

 

CalBears.com: Has Cal lived up to or has it been different/better than the expectations you had of it as a freshman?

NS: “Cal has gone above and beyond my expectations of it since the first day I became a Golden Bear. I had high expectations of Cal coming in. But as I finish up my senior year, I’m realizing that I’ve had bigger and better experiences from being at Cal for the last two seasons then I could have ever imagined. I’ve been blessed to have met and built relationships with a multitude of great people – my teammates, roommates, coaches, professors and the young girls, who I now know by name, that have come to every single one of our home games. I knew that Cal was somewhere that was going to make me happy and somewhere I could develop athletically and intellectually, but I didn’t realize I was going to care about Cal as much as I do today.”

 

CalBears.com: What made you choose Cal?

NS: “I chose Cal because I was ready for the type of experience that I knew Cal could give me. Cal offered me the best of both worlds. While I could play day in and day out with some of the best soccer players in the country, Cal would also give me the opportunity earn an education at one of the best universities in the country. Most people don’t get this type of opportunity, and when I was presented with it, I couldn’t pass it up. I knew that choosing Cal would be a catalyst for success even beyond graduation.”

 

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