bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the opening weekend games against Boise State and Idaho State?
Blair Quinn: It was good in some aspects. You never want to lose both of your opening games, that's frustrating. But there were definitely some good things out of it. Speed of play is one of those things that's hard to judge until you play somebody else. I think that was something we learned very quickly that we weren't playing fast enough. As a coaching staff that was something we were trying to impress on them all week during practice but again until you do it it's just hard to figure out. We figured out that we need to be playing faster and attacking with a more dangerous intent instead of just attacking to attack randomly.
bc.net: What were some things specifically that you saw in the opening game against Boise State that you were pleased with?
BQ: Our midfield play. I thought our midfield played well especially defensively. They were pretty good at making the defensive shifts that they were supposed to make depending on where the ball is. I thought our back line played pretty good for the first game and Jess Schutter made two good saves in that game. Giving up goals is part of soccer. You always want to get a shutout but if you give one up you should still be okay because you're always expecting to score at least one. We just didn't get the one we were looking for. There were definitely some good things in that game.
bc.net: After the Idaho State loss you mentioned that you felt like the team had taken a couple of steps back in terms of what you had seen from the Boise State game. What were some things you were disappointed in?
BQ: Our attacking. Just our team mentality in attack. I wasn't just the forwards or the mids it was everybody. I don't think we put nearly as much pressure on Idaho State as we did Boise State even though we had more shots. The shots were just shots from 35 and 40 yards that really had no intent behind them. It was just, "Hey, I'm going to try to kick this toward goal." What I thought we had done better in the second half of the Boise State game was that we started playing faster, we started connecting better. We kind of went backwards on that. In the Idaho State game I kind felt like we fell into the way they played which is very direct, diagonal balls over the top and when we start playing like that, we're not good like that. We're not built to play like that. We took a couple steps backward in our attacking system.
bc.net: What are some things that you do as coaches to prevent or help your kids to not fall into playing the way the other team is playing especially if it's not the style of play that you want to play?
BQ: You know what, it's hard. It's actually one of the more difficult things to do. In any sporting event where it's a free flow event, you see somebody play a certain type of ball and so you do the same thing and they get it back, it's about telling them to control the pace of the game. Whether it be to play faster or to play slower it's controlling the pace. We control the pace in our system and our style by connecting the midfielders and the midfielders to the forwards. We've got to pass to each other. That's how we get our pace and our rhythm. That's really what we've got to keep trying to tell them is to control the pace.
bc.net: Who were some of the newcomers that got some playing time whose play stood out to you?
BQ: Sam Sandoval, I think she played pretty well for her first weekend as a college player. She is quick, she's got a very good left foot. She can be dangerous but she wasn't as dangerous as we want her to end up being and she knows that. For her first college weekend she did some good things. She's still got a ways to go and that's kind of how it goes with freshmen.
Mikaela Haley didn't get a lot of minutes but she gave us good minutes in the back. She gave us minutes when we needed them and with one exception of a silly little foul she did, she played pretty well. She's actually probably our fastest back she just needs to get used to the speed of play in college.
bc.net: What are some things that you're working on with your team this week based off the first two games?
BQ: Attacking. Attacking, attacking, attacking. Attacking, trying to be as fast as possible with the attack. There were just far too many moments in the Idaho State game where we were attacking but we weren't being dangerous and that's what we've got to become is just a more dangerous team. Even if we're not scoring goals we're creating corner kicks by putting pressure on the other team and we didn't create many of those on the weekend.
bc.net: Aside from the attack what are some things you're really hoping to see from your team in this week and weekend of practice and then in the next two games next weekend?
BQ: A higher speed of play, a greater speed. Being able to dictate the tempo instead of having it dictated to us. That's going to be a key thing as well and that's not just in the attack that's in all phases of the game. Being able to dictate the tempo of play. We do need to see a little bit better connection in the back line and what I mean by that player to player. Our center back needs to be covering our right back better. The center backs then need to cover the other center backs better and then the same thing moving over to the left side. They defended fairly well but there were a few times we left people do it on their own and that's not how we do it in our system. I think that's something we'll do better as well. We'll have a little more connectively between each of the four backs.
bc.net: Opening weekend of this year versus opening weekend of last year what kind of differences did you see in your team obviously noting that you had a lot more time with your team in the offseason this year than you did last year.
BQ: Immediately just the system itself. Knowing the system was a huge advantage to us this year. I think last year they did everything more on adrenaline, "Hey, here we go, we've had 15 or 16 days and we don't really know what we're doing but here we go." I think this year was much more focused on trying to play our style we just didn't always accomplish that but the effort was certainly there and I said that as well after the game. We didn't lack for effort it was just decision making at times that really caused us problems.
bc.net: We've talked a lot about the start of games. How pleased were you with the way your team started both games?
BQ: We actually started each half really well. The first half of the first game was a little slow from both teams just trying to feel each other out a little bit in terms of the rhythm and what each other was trying to do. I know one of the halves of the Idaho State game we had a corner within the first minute. We were definitely starting a little bit better in the first five minutes but we were giving up goals somewhere around the 60th minute so that's about 15 minutes in [to the second half] so the rhythm has settled down a bit and then that's when we've given up the goals. So now it's not just starting fast it's keeping that same rhythm to the game.