UCSB Pre-Match Quotes For NCAA Tournament First Round Against USD


Thoughts on facing USD...

USD is a very hard team to play against at their place, so were really happy that the game is in Santa Barbara. Second thing about USD, they started out very strong, and then they struggled towards the end needing to win a couple tough games to get themselves in. Good news is were not playing a team that's necessarily hot, you know winning 8 out of 9 games to get themselves into the playoffs, at their place, so those are very positive things. We played them in spring this year and thought they had a very good team, they have one of the best forwards in the country in a guy named Coiner, I know from their game against Northridge, Northridge lost 1-0 down at their place. It'll be what you expect in a playoff game.

About having UCSB's first ever playoff game being played at home...

The only way to express it, or the only way to get people to understand it actually will be right before kickoff when I think that we'll have a lot of people there. It's what coaching is all about. You want to play on a big stage in front of a bunch of people. This is what you do all your training for, when people don't get to see what you're doing, all the work you do late at night, all the phone calls, recruiting, you hope will you get that one chance to play in a big game. That's what is great about [the tournament] is that every game is big now. To get the first one at home is such a thrill for us and for our team. We had a lot of energy just from the crowd we had the other night [last Saturday's game against UC Irvine with an attendance of 1163], so we're hoping and expecting Santa Barbara to be out for this game.

Obviously your goals and expectations are to go farther than the first round. But how good does it feel knowing you've worked as hard as you have and finally get to this point?

You know it's interesting. We have been trying to build a top-20 program here in Santa Barbara and this year we finally hit the top 20 and stayed there all year. So that was a big accomplishment for us, to be known as a top 20 program. It affects your recruiting, and it affects your scheduling. Now I feel that this team is built to win big games, the only hesitation I have and the only real disappointment about not making [the tournament] last year is that the teams that always do well seem to have experienced players on their roster who have some experience of playing in NCAA Tournament games. We just don't have that, and USD does. They're a team that has been to the tournament each of the last three years and they have a roster full of guys that are used to playing in games like this. So by us not getting in last year and not having that experience, that's a bit of a disadvantage for us. At the same time we're at home so I think that takes [the disadvantage] away.


About facing USD...

I don't fell overconfident, but fairly confident that no matter who we are going to play against we're going to play well. San Diego is a good squad but I think that we definitely have a good chance at taking them and getting into the second round, especially because the match is at home, that's to our benefit. So I feel good about it.

How good does it feel, knowing you guys have worked so hard, you've traveled a hard road to get to this point?

It's definitely a relief to have it all pay off, to step into the tournament. Breaking the mold is exciting and I think it's going to lead to success in the future years too. But personally, it's a little bit of weight off my shoulders to finally be in.


You came to Santa Barbara and helped turned this team into a top-20 team. How does making the tournament make you feel?

I'm just happy for the guys. They've put the work in and have responded well. Tim [Vom Steeg] and I are very similar, we like to get after teams, we like to press. We're very aggressive by nature, but that's the way we like to play, that's the way we like to see the game played, and these guys have responded well to that. I said early in the season that today, getting into the tournament for the first time, this was accomplished last spring. These guys made a commitment in the off-season to their fitness, to their game, to the team, on and off the field, that has paid off big-time here. It's the players, it really is. They're a great group, a fantastic group, humble, but they are a hard working and confident group. I'm excited for them, I really am.

About facing USD...

They're a really tough team, tough to get through. They got a good player up top, in Coiner. We'll have to sort him out. But I think they're really going to have problems with us going forward. We're playing really well right now, which is what you want to do going into the tourney.