bleedCrimson.net: You've had a few tough losses over the last couple of weeks but your team has competed really well and even though you had a 5-0 loss at Texas Tech, three of those goals would have been tough for any goal keeper to stop.
Blair Quinn: Yeah, they're very good. They're better than we are. That's a fact. He's a better coach than I am. That's a fact. With all that said we still competed very well. To be honest, that game actually, we could have had two or three goals. Their goal keep made at least two fantastic saves and the third was really good. I don't think it would have changed the outcome of the game but it would have been nice to get a couple goals. I think we had finally been doing the right stuff attacking wise and taking the right shots, she just made a couple of amazing saves.
bc.net: Going back to your games against UTEP, Montana and New Mexico, what are some things that really stood out to you that tells you that your team is progressing the way you want them to?
BQ: The way we played against UTEP and UNM specifically. We played really well actually against UTEP. I got an an anonymous letter after the UTEP game basically calling me names and they said that I was wrong and childish and juvenile and a jerk for saying that we were better than UTEP and what I said exactly was that we played better soccer than UTEP. That is my opinion and I'll call it fact because it's my opinion and my team. We played better soccer than UTEP. We passed better, we held the ball longer, we just didn't finish. I said exactly that. We didn't finish and they did. They score goals better than we do and that was the difference in the game. We were better defensively and we were better in possession and that was encouraging to see. And anybody else that wants to send me anonymous letters, feel free.
In terms of the Montana game we did not attack as well we kind of sat back again and let them dictate the pace of the game which is not something we want to do with anyone. We lose our midfield a little bit that way. That's where they ended up getting so many shots and we had so few. Bitner played really well in that game, Courtney Irwin played really well in that game and 0-0 was the outcome.
The UNM game was really unfortunate. The kid was onside, it was a really well timed run. She had just come back from their previous attack, had just gotten back onside right before they played the ball and she got in and the shot went the only place Bitner couldn't have saved it. She had saved everything else that day as well. We showed some fight in that game as well in terms of our attack. We got forward at them a little bit but again the difference was that we weren't quite as dangerous in what we did with the ball in the final third. We weren't quite getting around the last player to get the shot on goal and it's something we're still working on.
Defensively we've been good for the last couple weeks and even in the 5-0 game, I know it sounds silly to say but we actually defended really well. They just have a couple of very, very special players. They were a huge difference. Their attacking center-mid No. 24, their striker, No. 12, their attacking center-mid No. 8, those kids were really, really good.
bc.net: You open up conference play this week, even though you're sitting at 1-7-2 it feel like there might not be a more battle tested team in the WAC than your team.
BQ: Yeah. There's a couple teams that have played really good schedules. Denver has played a fantastic schedule. Utah State and Seattle have both played very good schedules as well but I think we have too. We've been in four overtime games, we've played teams from the NCAA Tournament from last year. UNM is very, very good, Texas Tech is very, very good, UTEP was very good, they're very hard to play against with their style. Everybody's given us something different to look at which is really the key. That's what we're trying to get when we're going into conference play. You want to see everything essentially. You want to see three or four different formations, teams that have more speed than you, teams that keep the ball better than you, you just want to see anything you may come up against and I really do think we've seen all of it.
bc.net: On Friday you host Utah State, they're having a really good non-conference season.
BQ: Yeah, they're very good. They always are. I think the last three or four years they've either won the regular season or conference tournament. They're well coached, well put together team and they're very organized. Not much changes with them from week to week and year to year, they're just very consistent. They've got good team speed. They're very organized so even when they turn the ball over they're in good positions to win it back and win it back quickly. They've got a couple special player like they always do. But at the same time it's a new year. We get to start over, not just with this season but right now with the conference. We get to start over. We get the defending champs first. We're going to find out right away if we can go out and win a conference championship like we think we can.
bc.net: You've been on the road quite a bit this season. How happy are you to be at home and to be able to open up conference play at home?
BQ: It's nice. It's nice to be able to start at home because you always expect to play better and get points at home. We're looking to get a win on Friday and a win on Sunday and be able to start conference play 2-0. That's what we're looking for our record to be, 2-0. The non-conference record doesn't matter anymore.
bc.net: Over the course of the non-conference who are some players who have stood out to you with their play?
BQ: Courtney Irwin has been our best player pretty much every game. She's just flat out been everything we've needed her to be in a stretch where we haven't been scoring goals. Our defense has had to be very good and it has been. She's been the catalyst for that.
Elise Nordin has been very good in the midfield attack, very consistent. Lauren Cope has been very good, very consistent as well. One of the freshmen, Mikaela Haley has started to come on in the last few games. She's playing more and more minutes and getting more and more confident and comfortable playing right back. She's still got a ways to go but she's been very good in the last few games. I'd say those three or four have been the most consistent players certainly in the last few weeks and Courtney the whole season.
bc.net: What are the keys for your team, what do you want to see from them this weekend?
BQ: Relentless attacking mentality. That's it. Pure and simple. We believe in our ability to play very hard and defend very well as a team but what we've gotta have is a relentless attacking mentality. We've got to go into each game wanting to score ten goals. If we get three or four out of it, great. But the mentality has be going in and wanting to score ten. We've got to have that mentality this weekend.