bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the game against Idaho on Friday night. It ended in a 1-1 tie and you earned one point which all points are important.
Blair Quinn: I thought we didn't play very well in the first half which is frustrating again, especially since it's something we worked on the previous weekend with the Sunday home game, starting faster, then continuing to do that. I think we pretty much got outplayed in the firs half. Having said that I think we equally outplayed them in the second half. It was unfortunate to give up that goal. I think we'd been defending really well. They really didn't have anything really dangerous in the second half at all. Unfortunately, that was the kid we had keyed on to keep her from scoring. You can do that in the run of play but when somebody gets a free kick, that's why it's called a free kick. She buried it. She's a very good ball striker, probably the best, if not one of the best forwards in the conference and she buried it. But it was a great response by our team to score five minutes later. That's a pretty big pressure situation, when you're under 10 [minutes] and down a goal. But it is something we train. We train both sides of that. Under ten up a goal and under ten down a goal and we made a quick tactical adjustment after their goal and the adjustment is actually what led to us scoring and getting a point. In one respect we feel like we gave two points away but at the same time we feel like we stole one back as well. It's not as much help as much as we'd like but one point does help us going forward.
bc.net: In overtime, you played very well and as you noted, maybe a little unfortunate not to have come away with a goal in the overtime period. You had two or three corner kicks in the first five minutes of the first overtime.
BQ: Yeah, we did. We had two other really good looks, I wouldn't say breakaways because there were defenders back but we had gotten behind them pretty deep in a couple of situations. The kids were just unfortunate not to hit the goal. I think they both did about as well as they could have done with them. They beat the keeper and the ball kind of kept bending away on both opportunities and just bent wide of the goal. We kind of decided to scrap trying to play through the midfield for overtime. We put our three fastest kids up top and said, "Okay, we're faster up front than they are in the back so let's just go direct." I think that's why we were able to get as much pressure on them. We were able to generate those corner kicks and those shots on goal, we just weren't able to get the goal that we needed.
bc.net: In the second half your team did a good job in doing something that you'd mentioned earlier in the year as being a point of emphasis and that's transitioning from offense to defense.
BQ: Yeah I think they did. That is something that we had been focusing on is the speed of our transition, both ways but specifically we had to get back faster. We had to get more numbers behind the ball so we're not putting so much pressure on our back four all the time. I thought we did a much better job of that, especially in the midfield which then kind of lends itself to quicker transition going forward because you're in a better shape when you win the ball.
bc.net: Erin Wosick played well in the game against Idaho and the one goal that was scored by Idaho was not a goal that many goal keepers would be able to stop.
BQ: Yeah not many. You'd have to be pretty long and pretty explosive to get there in the amount of time… She was only about two yards outside the box and she's got a very good right foot plus she has the wall. The wall helps Erin kind of block some of the goal but unfortunately in certain situations from certain angles it also blocks her view of the ball for a half second and sometimes that's all the ball needs to get its elevation and speed to beat the goal keeper. It would have taken an extraordinary effort to make that save so I don't fault Erin for that at all. I thought she played well, especially in the first half when we needed her to. We just weren't playing as quickly as we needed and so we were under a lot more pressure than we should have been and she made a huge breakaway save, one of those huge thundering 50/50 breakaway saves where they both slide into each other and everybody in the stadium hears the thud and wonders if either person is going to get up and she just bounced right up. That was a big save in the first half.
bc.net: That's the second or third time that she has made a play like that in the past couple of weeks. What's the decision making process and how difficult is a save like that when you as a goal keeper really have to commit like that?
BQ: It's a timing thing and she is physically strong enough to handle those situations and I think that helps her with her confidence level knowing, "Hey, I'm every bit as big and strong as this kid if not bigger and stronger so here I come." But it's a timing issue, it's a matter of coming out, gauging your speed versus her speed in the box. You want to meet them when they're in the box so that you can still use your hands but you don't want to come so fast that your speed gets used against you and they just kind of slip right around you. So you really have to gauge your speed versus the forward's speed and just pick that moment. It's usually right after they've made what looks like would be their last touch right before they're going to shoot because as soon as they've made that touch, that's the longest time between touches again and in that exact moment they have less control of the ball because they've touched the ball, their foot has to come down, they have to take another step before they can touch it again and that's usually the moment that you go. She timed it really well and lit right through that girl.
bc.net: This weekend you have a tough road trip coming up, a huge road trip with conference play winding down. Obviously a good weekend can get you into the WAC tournament.
BQ: Absolutely. I think kind of the way the schedule plays out and what we've done, if we come home with six points on the weekend [two victories] and we're in the conference tournament, I firmly believe that. Where, I have no idea but if we come home with six points I believe we're in it. Anything less, if we come home with four there's a pretty good chance, three it's still up in the air at that point with another weekend to play and anything less than three and we are in a hole then at that point. It'll have everything to do with the Hawai'i game at that point and we really don't want to have that kind of pressure on us when we play Hawai'i in the last weekend.
bc.net: We talked earlier about this road trip being similar to the Idaho State/Weber State road trip.
BQ: Yeah, two very good opponents, not too far apart from each other. We'll fly into one, bus to the other and then fly out. San Jose, they've won the regular season two out of the last three years I believe, I know they at least tied for first last year. They've only played three games. They've had three consecutive one game weekends so I believe that they're going to be very well rested. That's a challenge in and of itself. The positive is that we're playing them there, their field is inside their football stadium like ours is so it's pretty tiny and that's something that we should be comfortable with is a smaller field inside of a walled in football stadium. That's a game that we absolutely have got to win. If we win that one, we help put ourselves in a good position for our last two games.
Then Fresno, Fresno is probably playing as well as anybody in the conference right now over their last eight games. They took a bit of a hit over the weekend in Hawai'i but everybody knows that's a really hard place to play with so much travel and time change involved. I'm watching that video and the score is not indicative of the game. They actually had most of the run of play against Hawai'i and were very dangerous, they just weren't able to score a goal. That's a very very good team and they've had some very good results against some of the top teams in the country this year.
bc.net: You've talked throughout the season about playing in fields that are a little bit smaller like the Aggies' home field and some that are bigger. From a soccer standpoint, what changes and what adjustments do you have to make when you have different size fields like that?
BQ: Smaller fields can be a bit frustrating. You've got to be a lot more precise in everything you do on small fields because there's so little room for error. When you miss somebody by a yard on a pass and the field is only 66 or 68 yards wide like ours is here at Aggie Memorial and I believe that San Jose's is between 66 and 68, as that ball goes by them, they've got very little time to catch it before it goes out of bounds or more likely before it goes into another player because that space is so squeezed. Whereas on our new field here which is currently our practice field, 115x74, so 74 yards wide, you miss somebody by a little bit they've got some time to recover from that mistake and they may not be under immediate pressure either because there's so much more space on the field.
I think you tend to get punished for mistakes on smaller fields a little bit faster than you would on a bigger field. There's everybody squeezed into a smaller area so there tends to be more immediate pressure around the ball and if you misfire on a pass, you're probably putting your team under an immediate counter situation.