After the Badgers' 1-0 upset over 14th ranked Ohio State Sunday, Coach Banda addressed the media Monday afternoon about the victory and the Big Ten Soccer Tournament in Madison this weekend.
A transcript of the news conference follows:
On playing Michigan: Our players will be more motivated to play Michigan than if we had played Ohio State. And so I am happy about that.
On how the Badgers have been playing the last part of the season: We are finishing (the season) the way we began so that is a good thing to have at this time of year. We had a good start, then we went into a funk a little bit, and now we are turning things around. It looks like its workingI think one of the reasons has been our seniors. This is the best group of seniors I have had since I have been here. They are buying into the system, into the things we want to accomplish, and into the team. So the relationship has been very, very good.
On the attention DaPra has created: Of course there is not question about it, DaPra is a quality player that is getting a lot of looks from different teams and of course at the next level.
On forward Aaron Lauber: It's a good story. He is a walk-on player and has worked hard. Having DaPra next to him, he has been feeding off of that and playing his role. He has been challenged to say 'Hey, we want our forwards know how to finish plays' and Lauber is one of those guys that understands his role and has been getting a lot of goals for us.
On DaPra and Lauber playing well at this time of year: Yes, I mentioned at one time calling them two-headed monsters up top so the sooner we get them the balllike yesterday we had five maybe six seniors starting and I think they (Ohio State) had one or two. But their goalkeeper, a senior, is their leader so I told our two forwards to outplay him as leaders. Get him early and get him out of the game mentally and it worked in terms of what we got we accomplished.
Has DaPra been a surprise or as successful here as you had expected I am not going to lie to you. He has been a godsend to me, a nice Christmas gift that will go on for a while. He has been tremendous. He has moved our program and given us a quality player. And we are getting more quality players looking at us now. Because of his abilities to play plus being here from Wisconsin, to lead us into this situation has been very positive. We wish him well, and I think he will play at the next level, and it is going to help our program.
What skills or other things make DaPra special Again, like any other sportsshooters, goal-scorers they are born with it. There is nothing you can try to do or change. You just appreciate it at the moment when things are happening. My job is to give him a system that can help him accomplish his task. So finding players that can kick the ball, and find them early, so he can do his business which is to score goals.
Do you like your chances in the Big Ten Tournament Well we have never got to the second round, so my first objective is to get to that second game. And I like our chances of doing that. I feel its the best I have felt since I have been with this program. Not because I feel we have a good team, I think I have had some better teams previously, but because I feel we are coming together as a team. The quality of individuals we have with this program have really taken us to believe we can accomplish our goals, so I really feel we are on the right track.
Would you say Indiana is favored to win Oh, yeah. Indiana is the team to beat definitely.
On not having forward Valentine Anozie: I had planned on having a really speedy team and we had to go back on that because not having him all year has been tough to create opportunities. He was the guy to take away Dominics presence on the field. He can break down a defense with his quickness. Not having him may have been a part of those games we lost. Teams scouted us and knew if they shut down Dominic and then Lauber we have nothing else. But the young freshmen in the middle changed the system to play five in the back, three middles, and two in the front. That hid our mistakes and weakness a little bit and helped us to play to our strengths. So this has given us more dominance in the midfield.
On the Defense yesterday: Yes that was the best we have played. I think we did a great job. Our number one goalkeeper went down with an injury and Phil Ayoub came in and the defense was right behind him. They bent but they didnt break, which was good.
Will goalie Moriba Baker be back: I would be very surprised. It is going to be day to day. It looks like he snapped his quad.
What do you have to do for an NCAA birth We would have to win it (the Big Ten Tournament). Our record is good, but not as good as Ohio State, Penn State, or Indiana.
On Philip Ayoub in goal: I think he made some blunders in some games we put him in. Yesterday, he cleaned up a bit. I like what he did. We played him against Northwestern when Baker wasnt 100% and he came in and did his thing so I feel positive he can handle this.
What does it mean to you to host the tournament When I first realized we had a chance to host, I decided this is the year to put a stamp on this program and for me to turn things around. It will give us a chance to showcase our program in front of a lot of people and see the respect our conference in the country. And to have the tournament here will be tremendous for our program.