Wisconsin men's soccer head coach Jeff Rohrman took time to address the media at Monday's weekly press conference and offered a preview of this week's Big Ten Men's Soccer Championship, which the UW will host Thursday through Sunday at the McClimon Complex.
Archived video of the press conference is available mid=2712"> --> here , and a transcript of Rohrman's remarks is available below:
JEFF ROHRMAN: As many of you know, we are hosting the tournament this week. I think the fans of Madison are going to thoroughly entertained when all the teams from the conference come to Madison for this weekend's tournament.
There's certainly a high caliber of play within our conference. My expectation is that again this year, our conference will be the number one men's soccer conference in the country in terms of RPI, in terms of the number of teams that get into the postseason, and I think it will open some eyes this weekend when everybody gets a chance to come out and see some of the teams play. So it's going to be an exciting weekend. I hear the weather's supposed to be 40 degrees and rainy, so it may not be ideal for our fans, and certainly it will affect play a little bit, I think, as well.
But you know, we've got Michigan Thursday. They're a very good team. They've put together a very good season. They've got three, perhaps, of the top attacking players in the conference, in terms of Mauro Fuzetti, Peri Marosevic, and Jake Stacy. We're going to have our hands full with those three players. So we're going to have to be very intelligent and disciplined and good on the defensive side.
So we got our hands full. We certainly feel we're ready for them. We've played them well a few weeks ago. It was a 1-1 tie. However, it was one of those games where for 85 minutes I thought we did enough to win the game, and then for 5 minutes we did enough to tie it or lose it. But we managed to tie. We gave up a penalty kick with 23 seconds left. So it certainly put a, you know, a sour moment there for, on what we thought was a good game for us.
But we're looking forward to Michigan. Obviously it's going to be a big game for us. We've put together a pretty good season so far, and we think we can position ourselves for a postseason bid, if we do well against Michigan, and get ourselves in the semis, and perform well there as well.
QUESTION #1: Jeff, can you just talk about the ups and downs of your season I mean, you've been close in a lot of games that you haven't won and it's just, you know, maybe a couple minutes here or there that are the . . .
ROHRMAN: Well, yeah. I think we've been the victim of maybe some tough calls, some bad bounces, some tough plays. You know, I feel like I've aged 20 years in the last 3 months. Welcome to the life of coaching. But we've had some great moments as well, I think, you know, when you look at how we performed against the in-state teams and put up some good numbers against them.
And certainly, when you look at our conference record, you know, go into overtime against an Indiana team, hitting the post, having them pull one off the line 14 minutes from the end, and performing really, really well, I thought. And then, of course, the Michigan team, as I alluded to. In a lot of ways, it felt like a win, or felt like a loss, even though the result was a tie, you know.
I think our performances over the course of the season have been pretty good, and, you know, that's the nature of it, you know. Sometimes you get the calls and the bounces go your way, you know. Surprisingly, to me, we haven't had a penalty kick called for us all season. So it's, you know, I'll knock on wood right now that that happens coming this week.
But, you know, it's just been one of those bumpy rides, you know, and as a coach, you can't let the highs get too high and the lows get too low, and you just got to keep moving forward and preparing for the next opponent.
QUESTION #2: Coach, you talked about the late goal against Michigan last time. Do you see your players using that as extra motivation, or is that really needed when it comes to the Big 10 Tournament
ROHRMAN: I would like to think that they're pretty motivated already. I know that they felt that that was a game that got away from them, and certainly they recognize there's some things that we could have done better down the stretch in that game, even prior to that penalty kick call. And we addressed that as a team, and certainly hope, as a coach, that you learn from those moments and apply them down the road.
So I think our team feels good about the, you know, having Michigan on Thursday. We know it's going to be a tough match. We're going to have to play very, very well.
QUESTION #3: Jeff, it looks like you could beat anybody in this field, right
ROHRMAN: I think when, we just had our conference call this morning on the All, you know, the All-Big 10, the All-Conference selections. And to be honest with you, Michigan State won their regular season title. I knew they were going to be a very good team. And you look at the results in our conference from top to bottom, it is very, very rare that you see a game decided by more than one goal.
The parity in our conference, which I've alluded to for the last two, three years, is unbelievable. I don't think there's one team that anybody truly fears. I think every team is fully capable of making a good run. You look at Ohio State last year, you know, and the run they made, you know. In a lot of ways, maybe surprising some people. But I think it just shows that the strength of our conference is tremendous, and the caliber of soccer is fantastic. And I think this weekend's going to be an exciting weekend for the Madison soccer fans.
QUESTION #3: Do you anticipate much of a home field advantage being able to host it
ROHRMAN: Yeah. You know, certainly we hope that that's the case. You know, hopefully we can get some fans out there and support us. I know the weather's going, as I alluded to, is going to be a bit of a deterrent. But certainly, you know, being at home, sleeping in your own bed, you know, eating at home and all that good stuff, you know, certainly we hope helps us. So we feel good about that fact, and hopefully it will help us win the game Thursday.
QUESTION #4: Is there any doubt that Scott Lorenz will be an All-Conference performer, and anybody else for you
ROHRMAN: I would like to think that that's a slam-dunk, but, you know, you never know. I would imagine that he's going to be, at some level, a first team or second team All-Conference selection.
You know, I think we've had some good performances by a number of individuals this year. I think Brandon Miller has stepped up. We've played him in a couple of different spots. We started out with him wide, and then we moved him up as a forward, and he's done very, very well. He's extremely athletic, you know, has great pace, can get behind defenses.
Victor Diaz has been hampered by injury for quite a bit of the season, but he's come on strong the last five, six games. He's performed very well. You know, I think Eric Conklin and Taylor Waspi have done a great job for us on the defensive side. And I think Alex Horwath, our goalkeeper, has a lot of good qualities and has made some big saves for us.
QUESTION #5: You've got a season that starts in August and it's blazing hot, and you end with the College Cup in December, I think they're pushing snow off the field most years. That range and everything you're talking about, preparing for 40s and rainy this weekend, how does that play into, you know, how you deal with the field conditions and everything like that, and how you prepare for a game that might just be a complete tossup because of conditions
ROHRMAN: Yeah, you know, it's funny you mention that. I was thinking of that the other day, and how through preseason and, you know, at the Dayton Tournament when we played Wright State in Denver it was, you know, high 80s, low 90s. And then, you know, coming into this weekend, you're looking at the 40s.
So it challenges you as a player. I mean, you have to be prepared for all elements. And certainly, you know, going into this weekend with the weather, you know, that we're expecting, it's going to test you mentally and physically and emotionally, and we just have to be prepared for it. You know, obviously both teams are out there dealing with the same elements. A lot of times it's just a matter who's going to be able to handle that stuff a little bit better.