Oct. 27, 2011
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Head Coach Joanie Milhous talks about the Villanova field hockey team as it heads into the last weekend of the regular season and prepares for postseason play at the BIG EAST tournament.
Q: How does it feel to have the program back in the BIG EAST tournament?
Coach: It's fantastic to be back at the BIG EAST tournament. We have been working very hard for this day to come and this team truly has what it takes to get us back there. They persevered all season long, never giving up after some tough losses. Our coaching staff has said that this team has always had a great attitude and we've believed in them the entire time.
Q: What was your goal and the team goal coming into the season with so many young players and being picked to finish 6th in the conference?
Coach:"Prove them wrong" was our goal and it's been the quote outside on our bulletin board. Our goal was to get back to the BIG EAST tournament, that was our coaching goal and that was our team goal. It didn't matter how young we were because we knew these girls actually had what it took to get us back to that point.
Q: How important was it for the senior class to get there since they hadn't in their career?
Coach: So important. They had never been there, but they had talked about it. It meant more to them then I realized it did and that was only in talking to them one-on-one did I realize how much it affected them not being there.
Q: Given that, how valuable was their leadership this season?
Coach: Fantastic. The leadership has been great by our seniors and even Mallary Kile coming off the bench being a fantastic leader. Megan Goelz has been a great leader in the back field and the same can be said for Jordan
Q: What impact has this freshman class had and where do they rank in your tenure?
Coach: They probably rank as one of the best. I'd say that having four freshman starters is incredible, even though I didn't expect four to be starting. They came in right away and proved themselves. They had an impact not just from their hard work, but their production, hence why they are there.
Q:What kind of impact did that Louisville game have for your team's confidence?
Coach: Huge, absolutely huge. Our team went into that game with a "We've got nothing to lose" attitude and I think the youth in the team helped on that part because they didn't know any better. This team just went full bore at that game. It was almost make-or-break and that was definitely the key game because we had put a lot into Providence and everybody was stunned that we didn't win. I think it gave them the hunger to say "Forget it, let's just go for it" because we don't have the cushion of a Providence win, so we need to have this Louisville game. It boosted us because it gave us the confidence that we're going [to the BIG EAST tournament].
Q: What was the team's attitude like during the losing skid leading up to the Louisville game?
Coach: They stayed positive, they stayed completely positive. As a whole, coaching staff and players, it was never a point where they would give up or say, "Forget it, we're done". It was "It's going to come" and let's just keep working. We can't play like this for 30 minutes of the game, and then play differently for the rest of the game. I think we learned lessons from each of those games that we built upon. They were hard lessons to learn, however I think they've helped us in the long run because we've won the big games.
Q: Now looking forward, what will it be like facing the same team twice in a week and will there be any different approach?
Coach: No. Somebody asked me the same thing and you don't ever ease up. You go 100% into both of these games. They are going to be two completely different games because of the location. It's going to be a battle here and a true battle up there because they are being played in two different sets of circumstances. Either way, they are going to be two great battles.
Q: How will the BIG EAST experience translate into success moving into next year?
Coach: It's going to be fantastic. It's going to give them a taste and they will want it that much more for the years to come.
Q: Having said that, how bright is the future of Villanova Field Hockey?
Coach: Very, very bright, which is very exciting. I was talking to our starting freshmen forwards after practice and I said to them, "Do you guys realize what you've done this year and the damage you could potentially do over the next four years? If you guys completely gel now, you're golden for the next four years."
Villanova field hockey will take on Syracuse in the BIG EAST finale tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Villanova Stadium and they will wrap up the regular season at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Columbia.
The BIG EAST tournament will get under way on Friday, November 4th with the Wildcats taking on Syracuse at 3 p.m. at Syracuse's Coyne Field.