Fall Olympic Sports Hold Media Day

Aug. 22, 2006


Also in attendance were various student-athletes representing the sports. Senior Jana Correa and junior Emily Brown represented the volleyball program at the event. Senior Benson Chesang and junior Lisa Morrisey spoke on behalf of the cross country program and senior Holly Gault and sophomore Jessica Bush appeared for the soccer program.

Soccer has already played an exhibition game against Drake, which it tied 1-1. Soccer’s regular season kicks off Friday when it hosts Furman at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex at 5 p.m.

2006 Fall Sports Press Conference Quotes

Mark Francis
Women’s Soccer Head Coach
Opening Statement:
“We have eight returning starters from last year’s team. When you finish tied for 2nd in the Big 12 and that is a disappointing season, it tells you how high we are setting the expectations. In the last four years we have been to the NCAA Tournament three times. We are excited about this group, we have eight incoming freshmen, two walk-ons and six scholarship athletes. Of the six, three of them started on Saturday (vs. Drake) and one more could start for us when she gets healthy. We have another newcomer, Jessica Kilpatrick, that had to sit out last year, but she is back and she is starting too. We have more depth this year which is good for our program. We are real excited about the group that we have and the freshman that have come in. The freshmen have come in and picked up the pace pretty well, as you know the pace at the Division I level is faster than they are used to. The biggest challenge we have right now is offensively we graduated three starters but I think we are going to be better this year than we were last year. We have more depth. We have three freshman forward and Kilpatrick so we have four incoming forwards. We just have to get those guys on the same page. The talent is there, we just have to coach them.

One of the reasons we did not make it to the NCAA Tournament last year is that they said our RPI was not high enough. Our schedule is tougher this year, we play 10 teams that were in the NCAA Tournament last year and several teams that have been ranked in the Top 10, like Duke and California. And of course, the Big 12 is always tough. Our goal this year is to win the Big 12. If we do not go into a season with that our goal then we are not doing ourselves justice. We do not just want to get back to the NCAA tournament, we want to advance. The furthest we have ever advanced is the Sweet 16 three years ago. This group, if they can develop, has the potential to do as well as that team did. The talent is there but it takes a lot more than that to be a champion. Only time will tell if we have those certain intangibles. We have lots of speed which is going to help because you cannot coach speed. We are excited about Friday and hope people will come out and support us.”

On missing the NCAA Tournament last year and the motivation it provides:
“To be honest, I did not have to use it for motivation. The players used it themselves. I could tell this past spring that there was a different mentality about the team. When you sit with your team watching the NCAA selection show and your name doesn’t get called, that’s a pretty good motivator.”

On replacing all-time leading scorer Caroline Smith:
“I don’t think anyone will be able to key on one particular person. Caroline was a great player, but this year we have four great forwards and I think that it’s going to be hard for a team to stop one of them and hold us from scoring. Also, people don’t know about the freshmen we have. We also moved Holly Gault from right back to attacking midfielder and forward and she is very dangerous going forward and that is something people are not used to seeing.”

On Gault’s position change:
“We wanted to utilize her strengths as an attacking player. We also have a couple of freshmen, one whom started against Drake, Estelle Johnson, that did extremely well. She is fast and good going forward from the back just like Holly was, so we felt we had a lot of players who could play the same role that Holly did.”

On the strengths of the goalie tandem:
“It could change week to week. They are so close that we’ve told them that if they aren’t getting the job done, the other will be starting. Both did well against Drake on Friday. If one is starting and doing a good job, they’ll continue to keep starting. They both know the situation and are okay with it. It is good for both of them because it motivate and pushes them to do their best in training.”

Holly Gault, Senior Forward
On the goals for the season:
“For the team, we didn’t go to the NCAA Tournament last year so we want to go and advance in the tournament. We have never really advanced in the Big 12 Tournament, so we want to do well there. Individually I just want to be there for my teammates and play as well as we can every day.”

On taking on a leadership role:
“I like to lead by example. I’m not going to go out there and be a person who is always talking. I’m going to go out there and do the dirty work, keep motivating people and help them to be the best that they can be.”

Jessica Bush, Sophomore Midfielder
On the team’s depth:
“People are going to be in and out of starting positions. We are all competing to start and each day it could be different. It’s good for the people that aren’t starting and it’s good for the people that are because the starters won’t be content with where they are at and the people that aren’t starting want to be starting.”

On the goalkeeper position:
“They both work extremely hard. They go 30 minutes before practice and work their butts off. There is not a huge difference at all and they are going to be fighting for a starting position.”

On the team’s strength:
“I would say our defense. We have been working a lot on defense as well as our fitness.”