Kealia Ohai in the post-game press conference.
Kealia Ohai in the post-game press conference.
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UNC Press Conference Quotes
Release: 12/01/2012

NORTH CAROLINA POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
November 30, 2012
 
Head Coach Anson Dorrance
 
Opening statement ...

"Obviously, we're ecstatic to beat an outstanding Stanford team. To be in the final is an absolute thrill. I couldn't be happier with the way my kids have played. It will certainly make a huge difference to our program, so I'm absolutely thrilled in every respect and very proud to be advancing."
 
On the substitution strategy ...
"We play a high pressure game that's exhausting, and the players that do most of the work in the system are the strikers. You can't play them extended minutes. You've got to give them periodic breaks. The strategy going into overtime was to play an excellent collection of reserves and try to rest up my personality of attackers and out them in when they were a bit fresher to see if we could steal the game at the end. Which is not a very deep or complicated strategy. It's just a strategy necessitated by the fact that we just play a game, and the players that are doing the most work are the attacking personalities. I need to give them a break, so that's the way we divided it up.

I don't know how much fresher we were, but I was certainly pleased with the opportunities we created. Stanford certainly created opportunities too, and certainly the final strike, the great serve in and the final composed finish were absolutely outstanding. I think that was probably the best chance of the game, so to win the game on the game's best chance is certainly a nice way to win. It wasn't the ball bouncing around in the box or some sort of fluke. It was an engineered attack with a great final pass, a composed finish, and I think that's just a tremendous way to win a soccer game."
 
On recruiting and finding depth for a team ...
"There are so many talented players out there, and I think I mentioned this the last time we got together: our reserves are outstanding. Honestly, the last couple of weeks, they've been a dominant team. And the starters and reserves scrimmage, so I don't hesitate to put them in. They give us great energy; they can play. It's not as hard now to find the depth. In fact, relative to everything else which is a heck of a lot harder, like getting to this kind of event and consistently winning, finding a decent bench is an easy thing to do now. There are so many quality players out there. We're effective at recruiting them, and it makes a huge difference in training. I think my reserve unit has played well all year, and they certainly did again tonight."
 
On the referee's calls...
I don't think that Garret shies away from any challenges, so I think both teams had their battleships. This is a collegiate sport.  I don't think the referee missed too many flagmen hacks, but the referee let some of the collisions escape the whistle. I don't think it was a dirty game. I don't think either of the teams went after the players individually, and I don't think it was a game that was out of hand. I think it was two teams that respected each other. These are players that know each other. I mean during one of the breaks during the U20 circuit, Chioma came to Chapel Hill. Here's one of those candid strikers training in Chapel Hill with Kealia (Ohai) and Crystal (Dunn), so there is a real closeness between all these elite players. And I think Stanford is strewn with these elite players, and obviously you've got two of them sitting up here. I don't think there is a vindictive animosity between the units. I think these are kids that are tough, this is not badminton, this is a collision contact sport. I think you accept a certain amount of that as long as you're not going for knee caps or whacking people from behind. I think that this is a sport that takes physical courage and the capacity to take physical risks. I think that game was a game of respect between two fine teams and a collection of athletes that respected each other. "
 
On the story of the back line- walk on defense...
"I was joking with my goal keeper about the walk-on defense.  Between the goal keeper, the center back and the left back, all three of them are walk-ons. They are not on scholarship, so I'm incredibly proud of them.  The only scholarship athlete in the back is Satara Murray, and that includes the goal keeper, so I think it's a great story. Caitlin Ball, we invited her out two days before practice began her freshman year and within a month she was starting. Hanna Gardner, we didn't even take her on our first trip to Portland. We took twenty other players.  Then my senior left back broke her leg in the first four months, so when we came back we had to reconstruct our defense. We threw Hanna out there, and as you guys can see, the kid's legit. She's got a good frame; she's got some pace. I mean, she is not a technical wizard, but she doesn't give any ground. She's a good, tough little defender. I'm very proud of her and very proud of Caitlin, and obviously very proud of Adelaide Gay. She jokes about this all the time. My first question when she was interested in coming to us was can you touch the cross bar. I think that's a very fair question to ask a goal keeper that's interested in coming to play for you. She assured me that she could. Then I saw that she can barely touch it, but she can touch it, and she had a wonderful game in goal for us. So I'm very proud of my walk-on defense, and yes, the center back and left back both played soccer at East Chapel Hill High School."
 
On what made the difference in winning the game...
"Obviously, Crystal Dunn is a handful and always trekking up the middle. I'm always wondering how she stays on her feet when she gets whacked or when she goes through people. She just has amazing agility and played, I thought, a superb ball into Kealia. Again, what I absolutely loved, was her measuring that finish. I mean she beat an outstanding goal keeper, and there wasn't that much space because her angle wasn't all that good. Of course, it knicked the post and went in, and I think that was the margin- great final pass, great strike and a great goal to end the game on."
 
On goal keeper Adelaide Gay...
"I think what she has is an amazing ability to cover the goal mount and there were several redirected shots, you remember those in the game. Balls start to go to one post, and all of a sudden it knicks a defender and started to swerve towards the other corner. Addy has the agility to start to go that way to make the save and then comes back and makes the save. I thought she made some remarkable saves for us today, especially that one, I think it was off of a cleared corner. We're stepping out, and two Stanford players I think must have timed their run perfectly, because the ball was served back in. And Addy somehow comes out to either close the angle or tip it over. I think what you saw today is why we're playing her: great decision making, and really good feet in terms of moving around the box, really good agility, and just an outstanding goal keeper."
 
On Crystal Dunn in comparison to North Carolina basketball alumni Ty Lawson...
"I think that's a pretty good analogy. I think that like Ty Lawson, she's got a low center of gravity, she has amazing agility and she's a fabulous dribbler. But the part of her game that's starting to improve dramatically is her ability to serve and find people. In the last month, she has improved tremendously, as has Kealia's game. Kealia obviously is a phenomenal athlete. I think when you're young  you use your athleticism to beat people. You kick the ball past people and then sprint to it. I think at a youth level that's how you beat people, and Kealia could always do that. What I love about Kealia's dribbling right now, she's got a great stop and go thing going right now. She's got all kinds of deception in her game, and I've really enjoyed watching these two young women improve. I think this is the year they've improved the most, and I think Kealia hit the nail on the head. One thing that was really cool about the success of the U20 team is they're on the world stage, and they beat some incredible teams to win the world championship. When they came back, I think what I saw was this ignited passion and love for the game. Love for the ball, love for the game. I think for us to remain a world power, our culture has to make that a part of their personality. I saw that in both of them when they came back, and I certainly credit Steve Swanson, our U20 national youth coach, and United States soccer for investing in these young women because I think they've been improving dramatically over the past year."
 
 
Kealia Ohai, forward, junior
 
On the team's chemistry...

"I think playing with the U20s for a while, and then obviously playing with this UNC team, we know each other's tendencies now. We know where each other is going to be. If I'm dribbling down the side line, I have faith that if I pass it to Crystal, she is going to score. It's kind of the thing where I have to get it to her because she is going to score. It's definitely something that's developed through playing with each other."
 
On her feelings before shooting at goal...
"Right before the overtime started, Anson looked at us and said someone has to make the big play, someone has to be courageous enough to step up and score this. I think I got a pretty good chance right before that, and I shot it near post and it wasn't good at all. I could have crossed it. So when I got that chance that's actually when I thought, I have to score this. I have to make the big play. Crystal has been carrying out, and she still carries out throughout this whole NCAA tournament. It was time for someone else to put one away."
 
On coming back to play for North Carolina after playing in U20...
"I also think that once we got over the physical, you know being tired from the time change and things like that. I think that the world cup and winning that with the U20's, I think it's a completely different experience. Honestly, I think that being on that level kind of sparked something inside of us, and it kind of made us realize how cool this game can actually be. College soccer is amazing, and it's incredible, but there's something about a world cup you just can't describe. I think winning that and coming back and having an opportunity to be on such an incredible North Carolina team has kind of given us some more passion and fire for really going after it."
 
 
Crystal Dunn, forward, junior
 
On the winning goal- staying balanced and looking for the pass ...

"That play was interesting. Basically, Katie Bowen played a good ball in and it got a little ahead of me, but I managed to get a foot on the ball. I remember, I don't know which Stanford player it was, but they were putting pressure on me. I actually collided with that player, and the ball just trickled back into my direction. I remember Kealia having a really good outside run, and it created a lot of space for me to play it through to her feet. She finished a beautiful shot."
 
On the team's chemistry...
"Like I said before, Kealia is really good at making downside runs, and she creates great space. It's hard to mark. That's why she is so good at finishing and making chances, because she creates the space for herself. It was pretty much easy finding her feet in that through ball because she had the space."

 
On coming back to play for North Carolina after playing in U20...
"When we came back, I think it was the Maryland game, I remember us just being so exhausted. I think we had landed back in the US maybe five days before that game, and we mentally, physically just weren't there coming off the world cup. I mean we were there for a month and coming back and joining the UNC team, it was a little hard for us. But like most things, we had to adapt. Right shortly after that we were able to adjust and get back into the swing of things." 



UNC North Carolina Women's Soccer


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