JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. -- The transcripts from LMU coach Sean Fraser and midfielder Mariana Diaz and Carson-Newman coach Simon Duffy's press conference following the NCAA Southeast Region Semifinal match between the two teams.
LMU: Head Coach Sean Fraser and midfielder Mariana Diaz
Opening Statement: It's been a fun one, I think it was a great game. Credit to Carson-Newman, they were absolutely fantastic tonight. They've got some phenomenal fùtbolers on their team and that's what Championship soccer in Division II should be about. Fantastic atmosphere, two good teams, everyone on the edge of their seat, we're just happy to be playing next week.
Q1: Mariana, you came here from the beginning when Sean got here, you've helped us get built to this point, what does it feel like for you right now?
Diaz:Oh, it's great, it's a great feeling. It's great to have every single member on the roster believe and want the same thing. And that's why we're still in it, you know, we keep fighting and we keep believing in what Sean implements in every session and we keep going.
Q2: Talk about the resolve you saw tonight from your team. Obviously, you fall down by one, and earn the PK and then you hang on and win another PK shootout for the second day in a row?
Fraser: Our GPS numbers will probably tell us that some of the players have touched 16 or 17 miles in two days. Which soccer miles, 17 miles is a lot I mean that's a lot to run in the street. So, the kids have just grinded it out. We didn't use a sub in the game today, I just felt like the game was really tight. But like I said, it's a great feeling to be playing. We've got a young side, they're learning. I thought they were absolutely tremendous today. We absorbed a little bit too much, defensively we could have got our foot on the ball a little bit more in midfield and up front, but the kids were fantastic off the ball. I think they had one or two opportunities, we had one or two opportunities, it was just a brilliant game to be a part of. It's a shame that it ends on penalty kicks, but there's no other way to finish it. But like I said, we're just happy to be playing again next week.
Q3: Two hundred and twenty minutes total, in basically 24 hours. What were you as a captain telling the team as the game drags along?
Diaz:One thing coach kept telling us, and I tried to keep telling the girls was just discipline. Staying and keeping our shape and we'd go from there. We were nice and compact and then we'd push up together, always staying together. That way one didn't work harder than the other one we were all being together. So, that was really the message was tactical discipline.
Q4: We've got to talk about Ann-Marie O'Connell, she had a clutch save there near the end of regulation and of course comes up with another stop in the PK shootout.
Fraser:Yeah, she's absolutely unbelievable. She's a top keeper man, she's one of the best keepers in division two. She doesn't get enough credit for that. You know, we said to the players, she will save at least one penalty and she's done it twice in a row. Her save in the game was brilliant, coming off the line. The forward did really well to pull the defender and get the shot off, but you know, like I said, this is elite level soccer and you're going to get moments like that that win games. Games like this the keeper needs to make a big save and she made a big save.
Q5: Now you draw a matchup against Columbus State in the Sweet 16, talk about your preparation for that match.
Diaz:For us it's trying to recover these couple weeks and then we'll see what we have in training sessions and go from there.
Fraser:Same as what she said, they know the drill now. They'll rest and recover, and then we'll go again and train. We're excited to have the opportunity, we want to play in big games, so we mapped it out for them. For us to really reach our potential, if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. So, we're excited where we are, but again we've got a lot of development left in us. It's a young side, so again, I keep saying that, but we're happy to still be playing.
Carson-Newman: Coach Simon Duffy
Opening Statement: I'm just very proud of the girls, how they went about it. I thought it was a very uneven first half, I just asked a bit more of the girls at halftime. The girls up front to be able to hold the ball up for us a bit more, and I thought we did that, I thought we created some great chances. But LMU is always a threat with Cravero, and some really really good players. And all credit to them. It comes to penalty kicks, I always kind of smile when it goes to that because you just never know what's going to happen. You could have the best players in the world, the best keeper in the world and it just happens the way it happens you know. Very proud of how we played, I thought we tried to play in the right way and just unfortunate we came up short.
Q1: Obviously it's a quick turnaround for both teams, but LMU's able to come off a game where they already go to PK's and they don't even make a single sub tonight. What did you see from their players having to respond to that?
Oh, they did fantastic, and fair play to them. To play two games back-to-back within 24 hours, it's a lot to ask but I think I'm glad we decided not to go on Friday because I don't think it would have had the spectacle that the games had that were played here the last two days. So, I just can't thank the grounds crew enough for getting the pitch the way it was today and obviously Shelly and all her crew for getting this whole thing set up and for obviously our SID's and everything. But credit to LMU, they had a lot left in the tank and we stressed to the girls before the game that this could come down to just who wants it more. I thought we left it all on the pitch as far as I'm concerned but some great penalties taken as well, it's just unlucky that Alex doesn't get it done.
Q2: What's it say about the fans coming out to support?
Ah that's great. You know I sent an email to Mr. Ross Brummett this morning and he was already on it. It means the world to have fans come out, take time out of their Sunday evening on a cold Sunday night and come out and support us. It was fantastic, and I know it meant the world to our players and gave them a lift. When you don't have a lot left in the tank, you know some fans screaming your name or whatever can really get you going again. And I thought they did a great job for our players so I'm obviously very very thankful for them.
Q3: You're sending off a large group of seniors, what have they meant to you in your short time here?
We just spoke down there with them, in my two years it's been surreal. We obviously would've loved to have gone further this year just to really send our seniors off. They've created a culture here, you walk by and see what they've done here in the last four years and it's been incredible. No other SAC team, no other Carson-Newman team before that has done it and the teams that Moody had before and the ones before him were you know, fantastic teams. But I knew coming off of last year, the success we had, we'd have a massive target on our back. I think we did a great job this season, we faltered a few times, obviously we challenged ourselves. We had the toughest schedule in the country, we didn't hide from anybody. I think the seniors should be very very proud and rightly so we're going to hold our heads up high and always welcome them back here.