Kansas Soccer Holds Media Day

Aug. 26, 2009

Coach Francis Press Conference Video

Johnson Media Day Interview

Dolinsky Media Day Interview


Kansas head coach Mark Francis, along with seniors Estelle Johnson and Monica Dolinsky were present Wednesday afternoon for KU’s Fall Olympic Sports Media Day.

Below are selected quotes from media day:

Women’s Soccer Head Coach Mark Francis

Opening Statement:

Usually when we have when we do this, we haven’t played a game yet, but our season actually started a week earlier this year, so we have already played one regular season game. We started Aug. 7 with preseason and that time goes by so quickly, we felt we could use another week of practice to figure out what we need to do, but there’s nothing like a game to bring out some of those things. It’s nice we got a win in the first game.”

Freshman Outlook:

“Right now, we have two freshmen starting for us. Another freshman, Amy Grow, was expected to start, but we lost her to a season-ending injury. She will be back, but unfortunately she is out for this season, which just gives our players another opportunity for someone else to step up.”

On Defense Improvements:

“Right now, the biggest area of improvement for us is on the defensive end. It is a big focus for our team because last season, we scored the second-most goals in the history of the program, but we also gave up the second-most goals in the history of the program. Those two things don’t really add up. It’s great that we keep scoring goals, but we have to do a better job of keeping the ball out of the back of the net. Everyone that started in our back line is returning this year, so we hope that with they’re experience, we can do a better job keeping the ball out of the goal. Now, we have a redshirt freshman, Kat Liebetrau, as our starting goalkeeper. She has proved to be the best goalkeeper at this point and we’re really excited about the potential we have with her and the rest of this defensive group.”

On Offense:

“Offensively, this could be one of the best groups we’ve ever had. Whitney Berry starts up front with Emily Cressy. Berry has really done well and is not playing like a freshman at all. She was all over the place on Sunday at Drake and caused a lot of problems for our opponent. Shelby Williamson is another freshman who is starting in midfield. She is doing well, but it’s a learning process because her role for our squad is a little different than what she was asked to do for her club team. There will be a little transition for her to get used to that, but as I told her yesterday, `You’re on the field starting, so you must be doing something right.”

On Midfield:

“We have some work to do in the midfield, especially on the defensive end of the ball. We’re excited about the season, but we have a long way to go from where we need to be. Last season, one of the big goals was getting back to the NCAA Tournament, which we were able to do, making it to the second round. We ended up losing to a very good Stanford team, who ended up in the Final Four. We want to go back to the NCAAs, but secondary to that, we want to improve on our Big 12 performance from last year. That was the lowest we finished in the last eight years and we definitely need to improve in conference play.”

On starting Liebetrau at goalkeeper:

“Well, Julie [Hanley] hadn’t passed the fitness test yet. She has now, but going into the first scrimmage, she hadn’t passed it. Up to this point, Kat has been the most consistent goalkeeper in all areas. Her primary strength is shot stopping. Kat is a really good shot stopper, and although there are other areas of her game she needs to improve, right now that is what sets her apart from the other goalkeepers.”

On Monica Dolinsky:

“Monica had a great junior year–by far her best season. She was our leading goal-scorer last year. One of the big things for Monica to tackle this year is that the midfield is a little bit young and a little bit inexperienced. I think she has taken on the role of being the organizer in the midfield and setting an example, which she has done a really good job of so far. After our contest with Drake, she was not performing as offensively as we would like her to be, but we worked on it in practice and she understands that with the position she’s playing, we expect her to get in and around the penalty box.”

Senior Defender Estelle Johnson

On Kat Liebetrau being named starting goal keeper:

“I think that Kat is a really good shot-stopper. I think that all of our keepers are really good with their feet. Kat may not be the best player with her feet, but she is very good at stopping initial shots and that is very important for us. As a defense, I feel that we are very good at clearing out rebounds, but it is usually the initial shot that really hurts us.”

On what makes someone a good shot-stopper:

“I don’t have a real good answer, but I think you need to be aggressive and quick. Kat (Liebetrau) is very good at getting her body in front of the ball. A lot of keepers are always trying to make the perfect save and she does a good job of doing whatever is necessary to make the save. She sacrifices her body and does what she has to do. A lot of it is instinct more than anything else.”

On the defense trying not to allow corner kicks against Drake:

“I am not sure we changed a lot of things we do, but we were very aware of Drake’s strength in the air and we were smart about not committing fouls in certain places of the field. We were also very wiling to cover for each other around the end line and the box.”

Senior midfielder Monica Dolinsky

On what she prefers more, assists or goals:

I think every player likes scoring goals, but as far as I’m concerned, if we’re winning, it doesn’t matter. If I get the game winning assist, or an assist in general, I think that’s equally important to scoring a goal.

Coming from Indiana, how has your KU experience been:

It has been a great experience so far. There have been some ups and downs, but that’s with any college player, I feel. The team’s been great. We had a lot of success last year and when you’re successful, it’s a lot more fun.

On adjusting through her sophomore season:

Sophomore year was a bit of a rough year, on and off the field. I think the coaches and strength coach had my back and they stayed with me. I think it showed my junior year as I bounced back.