Dec. 5, 2004
2004 NCAA Women's Soccer National Championship
Postgame Quotes (ND 1, UCLA 1; ND 4-3 in 6 PKs)
December 4, 2004
Head Coach Randy Waldrum
"I don't even know where to start, to be honest with you. It will sink in a little later tonight, I am sure. I probably will realize how exciting of a final it was. It was a game that had a little bit of everything in it. I am so proud of the team and the season we had. I think it bodes well for the BIG EAST Conference. As I think back, we have only lost one game and tied one game this season (to UConn and Rutgers). I think it shows the strength of the conference we have. I am really happy for the conference and most importantly happy for the kids. We have talked about it all week but they have just done an incredible job. I'm extremely happy and I'm sure it'll sink in more tomorrow."
On having his back facing team during penalty kicks
"The girls will tell you that I'm a real superstitious guy, even when I was playing. (Not watching the PKs) is something I started a few years ago. Our '99 team that went to the 'final four' was in a quarterfinal match with Nebraska and we did the same thing, going into penalty kicks and actually sudden-death PK's. It may have been the first or second sudden-death PK that we won. In fact, a lot of those girls were out there today supporting us and cheering us on, so it's just something that I've kept doing the whole year. ... You could hear the crowd (on the PKs). I had a lot of our fans behind me, either nodding to say you're okay or uh-oh and I could see by the expression. And then, of course, the coaches were there telling me if she missed to the right or to the left but maybe I'll watch them tonight or tomorrow."
On the PK lineup
"We have been doing these now for three or four weeks and within the last couple of weeks we got it down to who we thought were our 10 kickers. Honestly I believe that the players have a feel for it, if they are confident or not. We pull the 10 kickers and we let them decide their own order. Players have their own ideas about what position they want to take. That is huge. Kids like Sarah (Halpenny), who didn't play the whole game, steps in cold and scores on her penalty kick. Of course we had another player (who did not play), Claire Gallerano, who was ready to take it in the second set of five if we needed it. When you get to that point, you just try to find those who you think can hit them best in a pressure situation."
"Actually this afternoon we let the players choose the order. We picked the 10 players and we told them to sort out the order. I think players have their own little ideas about what position they want to take it in and we've kind of let them run with that."
On losing a game due to penalty kicks
"I think any soccer purist would tell you that is not a good way to decide a game. I think it is a tough way to decide it, but I don't know that we have a better solution other than to play for it. I think healthwise, that could be an issue too. I feel for UCLA on that."
On winning the national championship
"I am sure like the rest of the team it hasn't sunk in yet. I am sure that I will appreciate it more tomorrow. When you coach at a place like Notre Dame and follow the storied program before I got there, I am coaching at a University where there is tremendous amount of pressure. I think there will be a lot of people that compare me to coaches before my time. It is nice to win one to show that we have an idea of what we are doing. At the end of the day it is about the players. They are going to win one for you or not. We just put the plans together and create the environment for them and they have to execute it."
"I thought that at the last 15 or 20 minutes of the first half, we played quite well. I felt we started to get them to chase us a bit. I think at the end of the second half, there probably was a little bit of fatigue. It was a track meet up and down the field. I guess to not put any fault on the weather but we haven't been playing in 60-degree weather for the past few weeks either. We've been playing in rain and snow and things like that but we didn't make a ton of changes, we just tried to get a few players five minutes here or there. That's one thing we've really been able to do is use our depth and I think that's a big reason why we are playing here now is because we have the talent to do that."
"I didn't want them to feel any additional pressure about that because I think you magnify a negative that happened to you when you bring that up. In fact, it was probably just the opposite. The thing that we talked about was that there was plenty of time, so don't panic. We've had a great sports psychologist, Mick Franco, whose been working with us at Notre Dame this season and especially during this playoff stretch. One of the things he's been working on with the team is their mentality and staying focused and the things that have to happen in order to win a national championships and I think that really helped us because there was no panic. There was still 22 minutes or so left after they scored the goal and I thought the kids came in and they really didn't look panicked or that they have never been in that position before."
"I think, as a coach, your thoughts might privately be 'oh gosh we don't want to lose it this way'. But we also changed tactically at that point. I don't know if you noticed or not, we went to three backs and went into a fourth midfield player and I thought that created a lot more opportunities for us. Even after Katie got the PK to tie it up, we still stayed at that until just a minute or so before overtime started and they started pushing Adams up a little higher so we went back to four backs."
"To me, this really talks about the character of a championship team. Mentally, to get through that, I don't know how many of us could go through some kind of a disaster of scoring an own-goal in a game of such magnitude and come back and fight through it and still win it. To give up the PK late and Erica came up huge to save that. The last 15 or 20 minutes was a rollercoaster psychologically and I think that just showed a lot of maturity and growth on our kids mentally."
Junior Goalkeeper Erika Bohn
On feelings during last shot
"Basically, we have been practicing PKs towards the end of the season. I have a little secret going with my goalkeeper coach (Dawn Greathouse) and I stuck with my mind. So I went with my gut the whole time. Luckily I picked the right side every time."
On the own-goal
"It was just a miscommunication. The ball came through as I came out to clear it myself but I called for it. With the big crowd, the other players probably couldn't hear it. It was just a miscommunication."
Junior Forward Katie Thorlakson
On her first PK
"I just got the ball and she was on my back the whole game and I tried to turn and she fouled me at the top of the box."
"Everyone has a routine on where they put the ball. I knew it was going in. I didn't have any doubt in my mind that ball was going in."
"I'm not a very emotional person on the outside but as soon as the whistle blew, I just started crying. I was just so happy, I didn't know what to do. It means everything to me because you play with these people every day."
Senior Defender Melissa Tancredi
On winning National Championship
"For a girl that has been waiting for this for 5 years, it was just unreal. I think it is going to hit us even harder tonight. All of the emotions and hard work, sweat, everything we have been through the whole season. The adversity of not thinking we can be up there with everyone, it's just awesome for it to finally pay off."
Senior Forward Candace Chapman
"After the own-goal, I was thinking that it couldn't end like this because we've had such a great season. When the penalty-shot came, I was just praying. And Katie hit it, so from then on I knew it was going to be our game no matter what happened in overtime or penalty kicks."
"(On the save off the line), I think it just went over my head and it was a battle between Christie Shaner and I'm not sure who else. The other girl got a head on it and I guess I was just in the right spot at the right time. I'm always supposed to stick on that corner, so thank God I did."
2004 NCAA National Championship
December 4, 2004
Head Coach Jillian Ellis
"I thought it was a tremendous game. Both teams fought and battled. It was a close game. It's unfortunate one team has to walk away after a game like that without the result they wanted. Congratulations to Notre Dame. They're a very good team and a great season. I'm exceptionally proud of my players and how they played."
On strategy of lineup for penalty kicks:
"We go with what we've been practicing when we've taken PKs all season. We keep track of the players that are the most consistent and then at a certain point you ask them if they want to take one at the very end, make sure their nerves don't have the best of them. That's what we work with in our 10 kickers."
On the format of penalty kicks:
"Eventually there has to be a tournament winner. Short of softball putting someone on base or taking players off, I don't really know if there's a better way of doing it.
"I said to keep their heads up. They've had a tremendous year and they should be very proud of where they are. It's a very difficult way to lose. It takes the momentum out of it. It takes the excitement out of it a little bit because it's such a closed action. They did great. I'm very proud of them."
On the last 15 minutes of regulation:
"We switched into a three-front and played a little more direct. At that point in the game, you're pretty fatigued and are looking for one single opportunity. I think both teams defended extremely well, the pressure on the ball and recovery. It was end to end and it was very excited. Two PKs were called and we didn't put ours away. That was kind of the game. You get those chances, you've got to put them away. I would have bought a ticket today."
"We were all really nervous. We just kept praying and kept believing that we were going to score, that I was going to save a goal. Even though we got scored on a few times and a few of our players missed, we just didn't let down and we kept positive energy. We continued to believe."
"It's tough to swallow because we came so close. It feels different only because the way we lost. Today the game was sort of in the hands of fate * a silly goal against Notre Dame and we were up, a silly foul on our side for them, to get a PK and we were tied. PKs at the end of the game. That's not the way soccer is meant to be tied. But somebody had to walk out of here with the trophy. I think we're upset, but then again I'm trying to look at it with perspective and I'm super-proud of what our team accomplished this year. We played our hearts out today."
"We bounced back from so many adversities. Coming into this tournament all the way up to the final game, we weren't scored against. That's an accomplishment in itself. The only goal that was scored against us was a PK. That's a credit to our defense and the team in general. I'll look back at this game actually really positively because I'm so proud of how hard we fought to the end."