Q & A with Kelley Schweighart

Sept. 30, 2004

The fourth-ranked Washington women's soccer team completes the non-conference portion of its schedule this weekend in California. UW visits San Diego on Friday and San Diego State on Sunday.

The Huskies seek to build upon the best start in school history as they won their first eight games. The previous record was a 6-0 start by the 2000 team that went on to win UW's only Pac-10 women's soccer championship.

Gohuskies.com: How does it feel to finally defeat Portland?

KS: 'It feels really good. It feels like a huge accomplishment. It's something that we've been shooting for since we got here freshman year. Right when we got here, the first time we played them freshman year everyone warned us. They told us about Portland and how they are our rivals. It just feels good. I feel like we totally deserved it. It's something that we've been working really hard for since freshman year.

'There was an article in the paper on the morning we played them. One of the girls on their team had some quotes say that their team always enjoys playing us because they always beat us. That made us a little more revved up for the game.'

Gohuskies.com: Before the year, could you have envisioned still being undefeated after eight games?

KS: 'No. I really couldn't. Before every game you don't think you are going to lose, so once you win the first game you feel like you got over that hump and then you try to get over the next hump. Now when I'm looking back, I think `wow, we're 8-0.' It's not totally surprising, but it's like a great accomplishment for our team.'

Gohuskies.com: How have you handled being on the road the last three weekends?

KS: 'The past three weekends in a row, its been tough being away. We always shoot for winning at least one game when we are away. But now, Lesle (Gallimore) knows that our team is more capable. She expects more this year and we should win both of our games on the road.'

Gohuskies.com: What has been the key to this season's success?

KS: 'Us seniors have been on the team for so long and played and trained together for the past three years. We are finally just clicking, not just off the field, but on the field. I feel like finally I'm able to read Smitty's (Kelli Smith) ball, where she's going to play it. I'm able to know where Tina (Frimpong) is going and what she can do on her runs. I honestly think we are clicking and we finally mesh really well.'

Gohuskies.com: The UW defense has two freshman starting and only one returning starter playing among the four backs. Are you surprised how well the defense has played?

KS: 'We weren't really sure about the defense because we knew after last year that there would be some open spots. The freshmen that have stepped up have been great. Having Nicole (Martinez) hurt was a real step back for us. Whitney (Clark) definitely stepped up to the plate and she has been awesome. No worries about our defense. I think that we have a great defense.'

Gohuskies.com: Would you comment on the balanced offensive attack of the Huskies?

KS: 'We have a Kim Taylor who you know can hold the ball well and she can score when we need her to score. There's Tina (Frimpong) who can beat any player. Having Nikki (Gamble) in the midfield and having Dani (Bridges) and Cassie (Giles) and me, we just have speed. That's the one difference on our team. We've always had speed, but all around the field we have good speed and skills.'

Gohuskies.com: How difficult has it been to play some many games in a row on the road?

KS: 'Actually, it hasn't been that bad. We get to go on the road and hang out. The only thing we are concentrating on is eating and playing games. With school starting this week, that will be a challenge for the new players. It's something the rest of us are used to. Maybe it will take them a couple days to have school, homework and practice, but I think it will be fine.'

Gohuskies.com: You have scored three goals, already two more than last season. Can you explain why your statistics have improved?

KS: 'I don't know. I just think I know my capabilities. The past three years I know I've done alright. This year I have more confidence and know that this is my spot on the field and on the team. I'm not going to be pulled out for one mistake or two. Knowing that I'm considered a huge part to the team feels good.'

Gohuskies.com: It there a particular area of your team that you were working on improving this season?

KS: 'Yes. Going forward more and trying to get more shots on goal. I've always assisted and that's just been who I've been. Now I'm trying to find the goal more and looking to shoot any chance that I have.'

Gohuskies.com: What do you do to prepare before a game?

KS: 'Basically, I make sure I have some quiet time before we get out to the field. I try to visualize what I want to do. I think about how many shots I want to get off or I imagine myself beating a defender or making a great pass. That's just so I know that I will be fine, to get all my nerves out.'

Gohuskies.com: Is there a teammate who stands out, someone who has really impressed or surprised you this year?

KS: 'I think Clare (Rustad) has been awesome back there on the defense. She hasn't really had her chance other years because she's been gone with the Canadian National Team a lot. She's been with us this whole preseason for once. It just feels great to play with her finally. I just feel real confident with her back there. She's strong, she's fast and she's tall so it's pretty good having her back there.'

Gohuskies.com: What are your thoughts on completing the non-conference part of the schedule and starting the Pac-10 slate next week?

KS: 'Basically, we want to win our next few games before we start Pac-10s. I think Pac-10s are what we are mainly shooting for. We have some injuries and if we have to rest some people this weekend we would be more willing to do that. We want to start off well in our first few Pac-10 games and shoot for a Pac-10 title.'

Gohuskies.com: The 2000 UW team won the Pac-10 championship. Are you aware of that team's legacy?

KS: 'Yes. I knew that when I came as a freshman because the team had just won the 2000 Pac-10 title. It was a great feeling, but at the same time I wasn't really a part of that team. You want to feel that same excitement that they did and have that go down in history. '

Gohuskies.com: How will it feel on October 15 to finally play a game at Husky Soccer Field?

KS: 'It will be great. It will be really great having so many fans out there. It's always good to play at home and be on your field and be with your fans. It's a great home environment that we have here so I'm excited.'

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