Nov. 5, 2012
Watch Trask's Press Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin men's soccer coach John Trask spoke to the media on Monday at the weekly press conference held at Camp Randall Stadium
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Trask's remarks can be found below.
Coach Trask: Just got back last night from a good tough Big Ten battle against Ohio State, drew them 0-0 in overtime. Looking forward to playing against Michigan, a team that we've competed well against over the last couple of years.
While the 6 seed playing the 3rd seed is never easy, we feel pretty good going into the Big Ten Tournament this week at Northwestern.
Question 1: You only have one loss, I think, in your last six or seven matches. Where are you playing best right now, and what do you think you might need to do against Michigan to move on?
Coach Trask: We've tried to build things being stingy collectively, defensively. Our goalkeeper's played well. He's been the Big Ten defensive player of the week the last two weeks. So we feel good about Chase Rau in the nets for us.
We went to penalty kicks a couple of years ago in the Big Ten Tournament. It's usually a one goal game. Hopefully, we can find a goal and continue to play some quality defense and move on. We've been to the semifinals the last two years, and I think hopefully some of that experience will show this year. We'd like to get past that, if at all possible.
So talking about making it a long week, we'd like to be in Chicago through next Sunday.
Question 2: Coach, you mentioned how you feel like your team looks good heading into the Tournament, you like where you're at. Do you feel like they've built up some momentum over the last couple of weeks, heading into a kind of an all or nothing tournament now?
Coach Trask: Yeah, I think we really preach defense. This time of year, as it gets colder and teams get stingier, you want to be one of those teams. You don't want to be a team that leaks goals. I think it's been 250 minutes since we've given up a goal.
We need to find a goal or two. There's no way we're going to continue to go through in penalty kicks or by not scoring. But in fairness to our guys, maybe the soccer gods haven't been smiling. We've had a lot of balls cleared off the goal line the last couple of weeks. Maybe this week will be a little different.
All you can do is put your guys in situations where hopefully they can grab that opportunity. We're not giving up a lot. That's the positive side. It's something we've been working on all year. We've given up goals earlier in the season, and really we've gotten stronger defensively as a unit and individually.
Question 3: How would you handicap the tournament, John?
Coach Trask: The top teams, Penn State is a very good team this year. Obviously, Indiana is historically a very good team. Northwestern came in second or tied for the Big Ten share, and they're on the other side of the bracket. There's never an easy game in the Big Ten. We know Michigan will be a very difficult team. They've played well all season, as well as Northwestern, Ohio State. But in all honesty, I like our matchups, and hopefully our players are going to be looking forward to those matchups as well.
Question 4: Chase, obviously picked up his second Big Ten defensive player of the week, second straight week. How impressive has he been in goal? You mentioned the scoreless streak you guys have going. How big has he been to the success of the team overall?
Coach Trask: Both our goalkeepers have played well. Max Jentsch and Chase (Rau). Chase is our starter right now. He's a freshman, true freshman. For him to come in and accomplish things I think he's given up six goals in conference now in six games. He's playing very well. He's making the big saves for us, but he's also playing with a lot of moxie for a freshman.
I always tell these guys, by halfway through their freshman year, they're really not freshmen anymore. He's got 15 games or 14 games under his belt. So we're expecting good things from him this week. He picked up a little illness, so he'll be out today in training. But he'll be ready to go on Wednesday, I'm sure.
Question 5: Anything up your sleeve for this tournament where you can maybe put the ball in the back of the net one more time?
Coach Trask: Yeah, we've been working on a couple different scenarios, changing the way we're playing at times. I think the guys are pretty well bought into it. Set pieces are always crucial this time of year, and we've made a couple of little tweaks there.
I think getting a belief that we can put one across the line, and if we get one, who knows? We may be able to start rolling because we're the type of team that we're not going to give up a lot regardless. If we can nip a goal and start to really believe, really good things can happen for this group. We've got a lot of experience out there.