2005 Fall Olympic Sports Press Conference quotes

Aug. 23, 2005


Head soccer coach Mark Francis

“At this point we have a lot of work to do. We graduated six starters and there’s a lot of young guys on the field and some guys playing a little bit different role then we had them play last year. I’m actually having to do some coaching this year. There is a lot of teaching we have left to do.”

“Last year at this time we didn’t have it all figured out either. I think as far as talent goes, this group could be more talented than last year’s team. It’s just how quickly we can learn our roles, learn our positions and put that into effect. I’m very excited about this group. Like I said the young guys coming in playing so well. The returning guys have done a good job teaching and helping them in practice. They’ve really fit into the group, the chemistry on the team seems to be really, really good.”

On Saturday’s exhibition:
“The good thing is I felt the freshmen performed extremely well, individually there were some really good individual performances. When we have the ball I felt there were some good possessions especially in the second half on Saturday. There was some good movement when we got into the attacking-third. Our final pass weather it be a cross-through ball needs to be better. ”

On playing Michigan Friday:
“We’ll find out on Friday how good we are going to be, at least at this point of the season and they’ll give us a really good test, Michigan is a very good team.”

On replacing players at other positions other then goalkeeper:
“I don’t know about difficult to replace, I think it’s difficult to pick out who is going to start. The midfield has been very difficult. I think we probably have four midfield players that are good enough to start and we have been playing with three, so one of them is getting left out.”

“One strength with this year’s team is we have depth at every position, more then what we had last year. It is going to make the competition tougher. It means game-to-game, if somebody’s not pulling their weight or isn’t playing well there is somebody that’s just as good in most positions to be able to step in. I think that is going to make us better as a team.”

Head volleyball coach Ray Bechard

“Mark Francis and his staff do an outstanding job and so much progress is being made within the soccer program and I’d like to think we are making pretty good progress too. I think the issue with us right now is to keep some of the momentum going that we established late last season. We had a great run at the end of the conference season and went on to the NCAA Tournament where we beat a very good Santa Clara team and were very close to beating a team ranked No. 1 in the country.

“We came back and had a good spring and had the opportunity to take a foreign trip, spending 10 days in Brazil competing and improving team chemistry, which I think will be as valuable as the run we had in December. We are excited about having those opportunities and excited about moving into the 2005 season.”

On Saturday’s exhibition against KU Alumni:
“Some good things happened but we did miss 21 serves, which not acceptable and one problem area we did identify. We did give some of the young kids opportunities and our veterans played well, but we will have to be pretty good Friday with Alabama coming in.”

On Alabama:
“Judy Green was hired at Alabama a month after I was hired at KU and we were friends before we both made the jump to Division I. We’ve had a lot of conversations about what it takes to get a Division I program in a competitive conference to the level of play you want and she is very close to doing that. They were 21-9 last season and have most of their players returning, so Friday night will be an extremely difficult opener for obvious reasons.”

On Josi Lima:
“Josi is a three-time All-Big 12 First Team selection and there is no reason why we don’t think she is going to do the same and rewrite many of the KU records this year. If we can keep her healthy and she continues to work very hard, she can close out her career in great fashion. This program took a pretty sharp step in the right direction when she joined us. Josi is one of our, if not the best, passer, server, back row attacker, front row attacker — and probably one of the best players I have ever coached.”

On the other starters
“Andi Rozum, our setter, has been for the most part has been a four-year starter, and has played a very instrumental role. We expect Emily Brown to have another great season. We asked her to do a lot as freshman and we will be asking a lot more this year. Jana Correa, who started off her freshman year with a big bang, is as healthy as ever now since she has been here. Correa, Paula Caten along with Megan Hill, who might be our most improved player, will give us a solid foundation on the outside. Our biggest question mark is replacing graduates Ashley Michaels and Jill Dorsey, who played significant roles on last year’s team. The middle blocker position that is open will be Savannah Noyes, a freshman from Indianola, Neb., who has done a great job to this point in practice. Kristin Buehler, a redshirt-freshman, and Caitlin Mahoney, a redshirt sophomore also have an opportunity to compete there. The libero position will see Jamie Mathewson, who had a good spring and foreign trip, Liz Ingram, a freshman from Iowa City, Iowa, and Dani Wittman, a junior from Salina [Kan.].”

On the season:
“We’ve got Big 12-type size and athleticism, a good balance on offensive and a strong defense. Now the question is if we can be a little more consistent throughout the entire year. We have a lot of momentum going into Friday and we are excited about getting started.”

Cross Country Head Coach Stanley Redwine

On the women’s team:
“I think in order for us to get better we definetly have to have some quality depth. It comes down to the fifth runner having to be as good or get as close to the first runner as possible. We are definetly looking forward to finishing better then we did at the Big 12 Championship.”

On the men’s team:
“On the men’s side we are fortunate to have the NCAA seventh-place finisher and an All-American in Benson (Chesang). The goal is to get our men’s team to the NCAA Championship.”

On the success Benson Chesang:
“I don’t know that it surprised us. He’s always been good and in practice he was showing us that he was good. It was very exciting for him to win the Big 12 Championship because traditionally someone from Colorado has always won that. But Benson stepped up and did a very good job. He’s a quite leader but when it is time to go out there and get it done he is going to.”