Soccer Talks With The Media On Fall Olympic Sports Day

Aug. 25, 2010


Francis’ opening comments

Jackson talks with the media

Head women’s soccer coach Mark Francis

On the preseason:
“Our preseason this year is a little bit longer. They bumped our season forward I guess a week, so we have been going for almost three weeks, which has been really good actually for us. We have six new players so it is good to incorporate them in. We graduated two of our starting four defenders, one of our starting three midfielders and one of our starting three forwards, so we have got some spots to fill. We have also had a few injuries early on which, had we had competition this past weekend, some of those guys would not have been cleared yet. We are hoping the majority of the group is going to be available going into Friday. It has also allowed us to go on a team retreat, which I know (head volleyball coach) Ray (Bechard) has done for many years and spoken really highly of. We did that for a couple of days and I think that really helped kind of set the tone for the year, understand the girls a little bit better, and learn what makes everybody tick. One thing I would say about this team, I think is the unity within the team and everybody being on the same page. They get along well, which with girls is huge, so the good thing about that is there is going to be some bumps in the road and when those bumps happen, if your kids get along with each other, it allows you to get over those bumps a little bit easier and bounce back.”

On last season:
“Our schedule last year, non-conference we were ranked 14 in the country. Three of those teams were in the NCAA Tournament. Then when we got to conference, we started out the conference with Oklahoma State. In the nine games since that game we went 3-6. It wasn’t because of the competition. For whatever reason in the middle of the season we kind of had a lull and at the end we came on strong again. I think we have to figure out that middle part of the season. In terms of the NCAA, we were in the tournament two years ago. Last year, our RPI was not bad, but we were probably a game away that probably would have gotten us in the tournament. I think the players, especially the juniors and the seniors that were in the NCAA Tournament two years ago, really want to get back there. We have to get back to doing a better job with in the conference. Last year we scored the second-most goals in the history of our program, but we gave up the second-most. We have to make it more difficult for other teams to score on us.”

On the coming season:
“The girls’ goal is to win the conference, and I think every year you go into it, you have to have that goal.”

On this year’s team:
“I think our goalkeeping this year is very solid. We have a lot of returning defenders with experience. I think defensively it is going to be harder to score on us this year. I think the potential among this group is huge. We also have talent with this group. I think we have some of the best players in the conference, and now it’s just up to them to prove it once we actually kick the ball. It is fun going to practice. They work hard and have a smile on their face.”

On a starting goalkeeper:
“We are not going to split time. We are going to establish who the starter is and go with that player. I do not know right now who that is going to be. It is pretty close. I think we have to go with a goalkeeper and have faith in them even if they have a bad day because it is going to happen just like any other player. We just have to have faith in them that they are the best one. That way the defenders, too, get to work with the same goalkeeper and know a better communication.”

On the last few weeks:
“It has been good. The Creighton game was not our best outing, in all honesty, we were missing some people that either weren’t healthy or haven’t been cleared to play. I think some of those people are back now. Some of those people have stepped in and made a statement that they should definitely be on the field. I think we will see a much improved group going into Friday’s game.”

Senior defender Geneva Magness

On the team’s retreat:
“We did all kinds of team building. It was fun. As a team I think everyone knows each other on a deeper level. There’s so much about my teammates that I had no idea about. I think its understanding your teammates better, which I think goes on to the field. If you click off the field, then you click on the field. I thought the retreat was very beneficial.”

On being picked eighth in the conference:
“It’s definitely motivating. I think preseason rankings are just not that important. We haven’t even played a game yet. I know a lot of it is based on last season but there are new players and new faces for every team, not just ours. I think being ranked eighth in preseason is very motivating because we know we’re better than that.”

On replacing four starters from last year’s team:
“A lot of people have experience on this team and are stepping up. Coach Francis has moved a lot of players around, like midfield to defense, and I think they’re doing a really good job. Having such a long preseason, people have been able to step into those roles and everyone will do a good job.”

Junior midfielder Jordyn Perdue

On the upcoming season:
“I’m pretty excited for it and I think we all are. It’s been a long preseason so we’re pretty excited to get out there. “

On two-a-days:
“They were good. Obviously in the afternoon it took a little bit to get us going, but once we get it together it always gets competitive and intense.”

On the retreat:
“Well we did this one activity and it was called “if you really knew me” and honestly there were some things that I had no idea about people. It was just a way for us to get even closer. Now that I know where these people come from it makes me respect them so much more.”

On the recovery of the Creighton game:
“Well we’re obviously trying to improve our defense and since we didn’t score any goals we actually had some competition days to finish our practices to try and get our offensive mentality worked out. We’re letting it motivate us to want to win the next game and every game after that.”

On the upcoming opponents:
“I’m excited to play Oregon. I think all the west coast teams play a whole different ball game out there so it will be interesting to see how our two different styles of games match up. Every year Oklahoma State is a game that gets me ready to go because they are big and physical. It’s going to be fast and hard game and you have to get your mind ready.”