Nov. 19, 2009

Courtesy Wake Forest Athletics

Maryland Field Hockey Head Coach Missy Meharg

On the health of the team…
“We are doing great right now, we had a little bit of a scare last weekend with a an athlete out in the first round against American, a little concussion, Alicia Morawski, she is back and training with us today. She looks very fresh, so that is exciting. We are all set.”

On the level of play throughout the season…

“We’ve been really fortunate to have a deeper squad than we have had in years past, so we have motivation within the team to maintain a certain role and a certain system. The training standards have been probably the highest that I’ve known them to be.”

Maryland  Junior Katie O’Donnell

On your team’s style of play…
“I think we have a quick style of play. I think we look to pass really quickly and put our eyes up really quickly and run with the ball as fast as we can. I think something that helps us in most of our games is being able to do things a little bit faster than our opponents.”

On the opposition in this tournament…

“We’ve played all three teams. We played Princeton earlier in the season and we went into overtime with them. We know pretty much everything we need to know going into this tournament about our opponents. Obviously everybody does video, so I think every team is as prepared as they can be at the start of this competition.”

 

Princeton Head Coach Kristen Holmes-Winner

On the health of your team…
“Fortunately we are very healthy; I think that is always an important piece to get to this point. We’ve had some bumps but over all we are in really good shape.”

On the use of new tactics in this tournament…
“We have a couple new things in our pocket that we are excited to bust out.”

On Princeton making it to the final four …
“I think it says, you can do it and be an Ivy League. We kind of always say that more is just more. There are a lot of restrictions in Ivy League to protect the student athlete and to give them a sense of balance and proportion and that’s something that we are very proud of. It just means that when we do get together it has to be quality. What we do has to be really high tempo and quality.”


Princeton Sophomore Katie Reinprecht

On the style of your team’s play…
“I think we are a pretty passing team. We connect a lot. It’s a lot of finesse play. We are pretty fast down the sidelines and when we get it there we are pretty ruthless in the circle. I think we are very threatening up front and our backs have been stepping up a lot lately.”


Virginia head coach Michele Madison

On the health update of her team...
“The team is fit and ready to go. There are no health updates.”

On how the team is playing coming into the weekend...
“We’re playing some of our best hockey after going through the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Regionals. We were pitted against some tough competition and that only brings the best out in you. So we’re ready for the next challenge.”

On knowing the other ACC teams playing this weekend...
“I think it always helps if you know something about your opponent but they know just as much about us. The only things we can control are our basic skills – our attack and our defense and what we do on the field. Tactics will change, strategies will change. It’s the team that can adapt to those changes on the spot and take advantage of those opportunities that will succeed.  


Virginia’s Traci Ragukas

On the strengths and weaknesses of the team...
“I think it’s our ability to adapt to changes. During the whole season, Michele (Madison) would throw small things at us and even in practice, I think we adapted to them well. Sometimes we’ve had our ups and down but we seem to always stick together as a team.”

On what it takes for the team to succeed this weekend...
“I think it takes a lot of trust and faith in each other. Sometimes you have to do certain runs or certain things for the sake of helping a teammate and if every single person doesn’t do it, then it breaks down. So we all know we have to trust each other to do our jobs because if there is one hole then the rest of the team is running back. We all have to work together constantly which takes a lot of faith in each other and I think we’ve really built that this season.”


Virginia’s Lauren Elstein

On the team’s style of play...
“I think our style of play is unique. We call it organized chaos, where we know what we’re doing and there’s a method to it but it’s not always pretty or flowy as some other styles of hockey. I think that’s a lot of fun for us to play. It’s definitely a challenge and you have to be fit and ready to do it but I think we all really enjoy it and seem to exceed.”



North Carolina head coach Karen Shelton

On the health of her team...
“I think we’re healthy and in a good frame of mind. Again, I’ve always felt like the hardest thing to do is make it to the final four and once you do that, the pressure is off. So it’s just a fun time and a weekend to celebrate a great season. So we’re loose, we’re healthy, we’re excited and we look forward to it.”

On why the Olympic Sports at UNC have been able to succeed...
“I think it’s a great culture and I think it started with our basketball program and the legendary Dean Smith led the way. Having a play by the rules mentality and having pride and being able to compete and compete in the right way has carried over into all the Olympic sports. I think we have fantastic leadership in our athletic director in Dick Baddour and his predecessor John Swofford. I think we just have a long history and tradition of supporting Olympic sports but it started with football and basketball and it’s trickled down to the rest of us.”

On if there is a predictor of success at the final four...
“I don’t know if there is one predictor but you have to have belief. I think that’s one of the things that’s key. You have to believe. I think that it’s also important that you’re not afraid.”

On drawing from the 2007 experience...
“I think the older players have been able to keep the younger ones calm. We’re in a different place right now because we've lost some games and we’re the No. 3-seed. We don’t have that pressure like Maryland does. They’re undefeated and they want to stay that way. That’s a burden which they have to deal with. I feel like our team felt that in 2007 and so now, we have more freedom. Yes, we would love to celebrate the final four but there are some pressures that go along with that and this year, we don’t feel them. So it’s exciting to be here. There is no expectation but we’re going to fight like heck.”


North Carolina’s Danielle Forward

On why she came to North Carolina...
“I actually never came on an official visit so it was a lot of word of mouth. I called a lot of people and everyone had such positive things to say. We have an assistant coach (Grant Fulton) who is a South African and I knew him from back home. So I felt like I could trust him. Obviously coach (Karen Shelton) promised me the world. I never knew anything about America so this was a huge challenge for me. It’s just an exciting place to be with a different culture and a different style of hockey. I’ve always said that when I got to Chapel Hill, I struck gold. I’ve just been really fortunate to come to this University.”

On whether she was coming to the States regardless of hockey...
“Actually I was planning on going to the University of South Africa and it was pretty much cut and dry. I was raised there and already had a scholarship to go there. I didn’t get into graphic design right away there so I was questioning what I was going to study and then this door opened. I started doing more research and I made my decision just before I came.”

On whether or not it was a coincidence that she plays forward...
“My mom and sister are both forwards too so I guess I had no other option. I definitely wasn’t going to be a goalie.”

On how the 2007 experience will help them...
“We went out to dinner the other night and the freshmen mentioned, ‘Wow, this is an amazing feeling.’ I think back to we first made the final four and how exciting that was. Now this time, not that the excitement has worn off but having that experience and knowing what it takes to go all the way has changed our mindset a little. Like coach said, this is an achievement to just get this far. To be the only four teams competing right now is a huge honor. Using that and knowing that going into the final four is going to help a lot.”

On coming back from an injury and playing in the final four as a senior...
“I would love to end my career at North Carolina on a win. Jen Averill, Wake Forest’s head coach, said to me when I got injured, ‘This is going to make you a better player because you’re going to get to see the game from a coach’s perspective.’ Which is really true. It’s changed the way I look at the game on the field. That definitely has helped me and I’ve gained experience from not being able to play. Also, when the game is taken from you and you’re not allowed to play, every second means so much more. The appreciation for the game and the passion has been restored.


North Carolina’s Katelyn Falgowski

On what she thinks it’s going to take to win this weekend...
“I think there are a lot of great teams out there right now. With it being the final four, everyone is going to be giving it their all. I think we really have to play with a lot of passion, desire and heart. Play the Carolina way. We talked all season about playing heart, smart and together. If we can do that, hopefully we can play with that passion that will put us on top.”

On how the 2007 experience will help them...
“It’s just all about drawing from the experience. We read the Carolina Way the other day and it talked about how you don’t dwell on the past but you learn from it. I think that’s what we’ve done with ’07. We took that experience and we’re trying to apply that to this season and trying to make it the best it can be.”