Nov. 24, 2013
Head Coach Nancy Stevens Opening Statement:
“Obviously first and foremost we were thrilled to be playing Duke they’ve had a great season. Pam is an outstanding coach and they have so many great players so we knew it was going to be a close contest. Shots were very close they had ten corners, so that was a real tribute to their attacking prowess. This is the hardest game to lose. You have these huge extremes of complete elation and then such huge disappointment. Duke has so much to be proud of to get to the championship game and we have so much respect for their program and their coaching staff. We are thrilled we won. I thought that our defensive effort was outstanding to get a shutout in the national championship game is significant. The defensive corner unit played great today and we have an outstanding goalkeeper in Sarah. On the attacking end Chloe and Mckenzie had two wonderful goals. We were able to score off our corners and we figured corners would be the difference in the game. Studying Duke film they had some of the best corners we had ever seen all season. They had a lot of variations and we were concerned about them, but we prepared well. On the other end our attack corners were very good today and sometimes at the end of the day that is what wins you championships.”
Can you just talk about how it feels to win this as a coach; you have won it as a player. You’ve been here so many times to the National Semifinals…
Coach Stevens “Yeah I’ve been fortunate as an assistant coach at Penn State was part of two national championships, but it is nice to be able to feel what it is like to win a national championship as a head coach. At the end of the day it is about the players. I didn’t make a pass today, I didn’t make a save, I didn’t score. It’s about the players, it is what I wanted for them. That is so empowering for young women to achieve at this level and to go through adversity and pull together that’s why we do what we do as coaches. When you see them face fears and be able to triumph over them that is why we do it. To be bold and to take risks and our hope is they continue to do that after they finish their careers at Connecticut. “
Less than a month ago you guys were down here you lost five to nothing quite a difference in that month can you talk about that a little bit?
Sarah Mansfield: “Obviously we lost five- mil against ODU at this pitch, and since then we just turned it around. We just turned it around mentally, the way we played the way we practiced. Everything about the team has changed since then. I don’t think we would have been here without that loss. You need that one demoralizing loss to pick you up and get you where you were before. I believe ODU did that for us so we owe them some respect and say thank you to them for making us a better team than we were before.“
Talk about what it is like to win a national title?
Sarah: “For me, what better way to go out it’s just incredible. As a senior it is just incredible, it’s not even real yet it hasn’t even sunk in. It’s just amazing.”
Chloe Hunnable: “To come here now and to get into the national final was the most exciting moment of my life. And to now actually win it with my family over here, yeah I’m going to cry.”
For Nancy, last year five ACC teams selected to the tournament, this year seven can you talk about the importance this win brings to this the culture of Division One?
Coach: “Yeah that’s a good point. It is good for the sport if other conferences send forward their best teams, and can compete for a national championship and I think the ACC their excellence has made us all work harder, all of us recruit better.
*The ACC makes us work harder and that’s why we are sitting here because we know in order to get here, at this table, that we have to get through them. So we had to do that this week. We had to beat North Carolina and we had to beat Duke. I’m really proud of the team because we played one hundred minutes on Friday. We had the second game and we used one sub for that whole eight minutes. We had Princeton last year and Connecticut this year and I think it’s good for our sport.“
Sarah, coach mentioned the defensive core unit, they put a lot of heat on you guys and nothing got past you could you just talk about that defensive game?
Sarah: “Like coach said the defense played absolutely outstanding today, and it wasn’t just three or four defenders it was a real team effort and it starts from the strikers to Chloe to me to Sophie. So those guys it all starts with the defense first, and then we have people behind them, the midfielders work hard and we saw the mids work hard; everyone just working so hard to get the ball.”
Chloe you guys are up 2-0 in the first, how confident were you with that two-goal cushion?
Chloe: “When we went into the locker room at halftime we said we were coming out with a zero-zero attitude. You can’t ever relax in a national championship game. I think we learned when we played against North Carolina in the Final Four two years ago you can’t relax. We just needed to maintain and be poised and keep it going. We were solid.”
Coach: “Paul Caddy works the defense and Cheri Herr works with the goalkeepers. So Cherri, Paul and I have been working together for thirteen years and I think that continuity has helped our program.“
Coach you mentioned the rings you were wearing the other day are you going to wear two rings now?
Coach: We’re going to get a bigger ring. We said before the season that we’re not playing for a trophy, we’re playing for each other, and we really made a point of focusing on what makes us special and why we play the game. Because if you just focus on winning the trophy it’s probably like going into a restaurant and eating the menu. We wanted the food and I think the players did a good job of that. How they feel about each other that’s going to last a lifetime and that’s what motivates our team.