Wisconsin head men's soccer coach Jeff Rohrman addressed the media Monday at the UW weekly news conference.
He discussed the team's regular-season performance and the Badgers' upcoming competition at the 2003 Big Ten Conference Men's Soccer Championship, held at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, Nov. 13 through Saturday, Nov. 15.
A full transcript is below. Video is also available by clicking on the "multimedia" link located in the red menu bar above.
Opening Statement: Good afternoon, overall, looking back, were at 10-9-1 and as many of you know, this year was the first year where we brought in our first class. We had 12 new faces coming in, actually 13 if you count a transfer. So, we had 13 out of 22 that were new to the program and we knew that it was going to be a bit of an interesting year in trying to figure out where and how these freshmen were going to fit in and where they were going to fit in and how much they were going to contribute and all that. We felt, certainly, that most of them were going to be able to play a major role in our successes this year. As young players coming into Division I college soccer, we had some ups and some downs over the course of the year. Certainly, we had some very positive wins and we dropped a couple, that for sure, looking back we never should have. So, I think that experience will, in time, certainly pay dividends for us. I think, last year, we were about the same record but we werent talking about a team where were starting four to seven freshmen in every lineup. So, its a little different scenario and I certainly hope the fruits of our labor will pay off down the road here soon. I couldnt think of a better time than this Thursday against Ohio State.
The Big Ten Tournament, just to comment, a couple of things there. I dont know if we know the format really, but as far as you guys but weve got Ohio State. We lost to them, 1-0, earlier this year and it was one of those teams that we really felt we should have beaten. When we look back at our Big Ten schedule this year and the teams we played, there wasnt anybody that we didnt think we couldnt have beaten. We lost to Michigan, 4-1, yet we were missing one of our key central backs in Aaron Hohlbein. We lost to Indiana, 3-0, and we were playing with a man down for close to 70 minutes, thanks to the referee. So, in those two games we were a little bit short handed, but in the other games we felt we were competing well with all those teams and capable of beating any of them. I also think that this year, maybe more than last year, its anybodys tournament. So, were going down there and were packing for four days. We certainly think if we execute the way we think we can and know we can, then we should be there on Sunday. So, were going in very positive. We had a good win over the weekend against Valpo (Valparaiso), so were going in with a little bit of confidence.
Whats the criteria for an NCAA Tournament bid Well, right now, I believe wed probably have to win out over wed have to win the tournament this weekend. I feel if we had won maybe two or three over the course of the year and were sitting at maybe 13-6-1, or 14-5, something like that, 14-5-1, wed probably be in a better position as an at-large (NCAA qualifier). With mens soccer, theres such a large percentage I was just talking this morning about this with our staff theres such a large percentage of the bids go to the automatic qualifiers, so it doesnt leave a whole lot of room for those at-large teams. So, you really have to you have to make your way through the course of the season to get yourself in a position, so youre not subjected to the low numbers, as far as at-large bids. A lot will also depend on its the same in basketball, if theres a lot of surprises in the conference tournaments, then obviously those teams that think they might think they are there, may not be there because youre taking team that probably have pretty good records and didnt win their conference tournament.
How many teams make it (to the NCAA Tournament) Forty-eight. They upped that a couple years ago.