May 5, 2009

Matador Minute with Women's Soccer Assistant Coach Juan Plascencia

May 5, 2009

What are your thoughts on the recently completed spring season?
I think we played pretty well, got some pretty positive results and the girls worked extremely hard. There is less pressure during the spring season, so the learning curve is higher. Paying attention to the details in spring will help us get stronger over the summer and prepared to enter the fall ready for action.

As the goaltender's coach, what are your thoughts on their performances in the spring?
The girls all played well and have made the position stronger. We allowed only five goals in our nine spring games, including four shutouts to start the campaign. The toughest part is that there is only one position out on the pitch for them, so it makes things very competitive.

What were some of the better results from the spring season for the Matadors?
We went down to San Diego and tied the Toreros. We also registered a 1-0 victory over Pepperdine and played strong against UCLA. It is always good for confidence to go and perform well and get good results against traditional programs.

What did you see from the defense this spring?
We have a lot of people competing for playing time, which increases everybody's productivity. Although we lost a few players to graduation, we have a lot of girls competing to step in and fill those roles.

And on offense, how did the Matadors do in the spring?
We really started clicking around the second or third game. Although it was tough to get it going, our emphasis this spring was on defense and organization. We didn't want to give up any soft goals and achieved that.

Can you offer us a glimpse of what the 2009 schedule entails?
It will be a tough schedule no doubt, but it will also give us a lot of confidence. We have a couple of big road trips and some challenging non-conference home games, all of which is to prepare us for league play. I think our schedule will set up to have us peaking at the right time of the season.

Do you have any favorite memories from the 2008 season?
Starting the year 4-0 against some tough opponents was nice and we were very competitive against some high level squads. The main thing is that we're constantly getting better and stronger.

Whom are you looking to on the squad for leadership?
Our team captains this year are Katie Fox, Jasmine Pratt and Kellie Drenner. All three encompass the great things about being student-athletes, from their work on the field and in practice to their achievements in the classroom. It is nice to see three girls have so much respect from their teammates. I don't think it was any surprise that they were elected team captains.

The UEFA Champions League Final is right around the corner. Who do you think will take world's most prestigious club title?
Since Real Madrid is no longer around, I am rooting for Manchester United. They are so dynamic and have so many options. I think they'll be tough to stop. I foresee a Barcelona-Man U final with the Red Devils prevailing 2-1.

Are you still playing competitive soccer?
I play in an indoor league with some friends. I have so much love for the sport that I have to stay active, whether its in my coaching or just getting out on the pitch and playing pick-up games with the girls.

Any final thoughts on the upcoming 2009 season?
The coaching staff is definitely excited about the upcoming season. We have a lot of potential and our strength of schedule will offer plenty of challenges to get us ready for league play. We look forward to making the Big West Tournament, making a statement and getting to the NCAAs. We have the team to do it.