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NCAA Women's Soccer Pre-Championship Press Conference

Dec 7, 2013

Coaches and players from UCLA and Florida State took part in a pre-championship press conference on the eve of the NCAA Women's College Cup.


UCLA Head Coach Amanda Cromwell

Opening statement “It’s very good to be back at this press conference in between games and talking about the next day. There’s one more game and we have been through quite a process - not only the playoffs and the path we’ve taken to get here but the whole season. I am very proud of the girls and what they have accomplished. I am very excited for a great game tomorrow. Last night was awesome, and Virginia is such a quality team, and again I give credit to them and what Steve [Swanson] has done with that program. I am very proud as an alumna and looking forward to a great game tomorrow.

On how non-conference opponents, specifically ACC opponents, prepared the team for the game Sunday “Going to Notre Dame’s tournament and coming to North Carolina for Duke’s tournament was huge for our preparation. We were exposed to some things that we needed to be exposed to. Obviously, our one loss this season was to UNC, and I feel that we showed that we redeemed ourselves and came back and fought a great game. You have to play the best teams in the country to get better.”

On playing with two holding midfielders “I was always kind of against two holding mids until last year at UCF when we played the 4-2-3-1. That was from input of our assistant coaches. I have never been a coach that is married to one system. I like to see how the players fit the system best, and what system that is. With Jenna [Richmond], Sarah [Killion], and Sam [Mewis], you have to have three midfielders centrally. It just fits our team to have the two holding mids.”

Sarah Killion, MF, Junior

On role as a holding midfielder and adapting to that role from high school, college, and international play “In high school I switched off between offensive mid and holding mid. And then, for the under-20 National team last year, I played holding mid for that team, so that experience as a holding mid helped a ton. In my role, I always try to be there for the team, both offensively and defensively. Last night we were struggling in the first 10-15 minutes, so I just tried to get the ball and play as simple as I could and try to get everyone a good touch on the ball to calm us down.”

On national team experience and playing against teammates throughout the season “It is exciting to see them and play against them, and I think we all know a little about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, but we have all changed a ton since a year ago. It is exciting, and also really nice to get to see everybody and play against everyone. Everybody is so competitive and we all want to win this thing, we all know how competitive each other are from being on that team.”

Chelsea Stewart, MF, Senior

On how her role on the team progressed “Coming off of the bench is game changing, so it is really on your shoulders if something is wrong in the game to put in more energy or tactically change the game somehow. I think that has been one of my favorite parts this year by trying to affect the game from the bench.”

Florida State Head Coach Mark Krikorian

Opening statement “We are of course thrilled to be back here today and have an opportunity to play UCLA tomorrow. Yesterday we showed a great deal of resolve and fight were able to find a way to win, which is at this point in the season is the most important thing, and we look forward to a very good game tomorrow against UCLA.”

On Virginia Tech having success disrupting game flow “I think last time when we played here in the ACC finals, we were a little bit more aggressive in the game and were more combative. My sense was that (Virginia Tech) coming in last night would amp it up and make it more of a physical duel. I think they certainly did that. What you saw last night was two very strong teams playing a very physical game - a very competitive game. Maybe some of the beauty of the game was lost in that.”

On facing high-caliber UCLA midfield “One of the things that we pride ourselves on is patience, and if in a game we allow the tempo in a game to be too high then it becomes a game of transition, which is what you saw last night, and then the game comes down to athletic quality. I think that we are going to have to make sure with our back line and midfield as well, [what we must do] is make sure is that we are more patient when we go in to attack. There were many situations last night where we were out wide and we had to choice to either penetrate on the dribble or step on the ball, change the point of attack and slow the tempo down. I think that about 28 out of 30 times, we chose the first one when we just run at them and try to challenge them physically. I think that in the game tomorrow, my hope is that we are going to be able to vary our attack a little bit. Sometimes use our athletic quality to run at their back line and put them under pressure, but also step on the ball and slow the tempo of the game, which is something that we have done over the course of the season very well.”

Marta Bakowska-Mathews, MF, Jr.

On committing to FSU “Well I came to a few showcases down in the states, and Mark (Krikorian) went to watch me at Disney. When he came he offered me to play at Florida State, I accepted because I wanted to go to a top-caliber school.”

On coming to and playing in the USA “I had considered it [playing in the USA] for a few months before, and I just wanted to go to the best school possible and this is the offer that came to me first.”

“It has been an amazing experience, being here and being able to play in a semifinal and winning, and playing tomorrow in a National Championship, it’s great.”

Kelsey Wys, GK, Sr.

On the program being close to winning it all before (one game away) “This is a position that we have been in before, but we have a great coaching staff and they put in the time and get us prepared. I think that once we have our game plan ahead of us, if me and Kassey [Kallman] can step up and be leaders as well as others who have been here in the past, if we execute our game plan we will be alright.”

Giving insight to the back line (being veterans) “Last night we were sitting at dinner and I looked at them and I was like, I couldn’t even say what I wanted to say because I have so much respect for playing with them. Just playing with Kassey Kallman and [Kristin] Grubka after the first goal got scored on us [last night], I knew that Grubka had my back and she showed us that by going and scoring a great goal. Playing behind all of them is an honor. Obviously, Megan [Campbell] and Bella [Isabella Schmid] bring something different that last year our players didn’t. Clearly Megan has great attributes and it is an honor to play with her, it’s really fun to get to know her off the field. Bella as well, she’s so good with the ball at her feet and they all go into tackles hard. It’s a real honor to play with them.”