Quotes from University of Evansville women’s soccer coach Krista McKendree and players Simone Busby (goalkeeper), Abby Springer (forward), Stephanie Thompson (midfielders) and Kayla Smith (forward):
Q: What was the difference last season when the team bounced back from a poor start to win the regular-season championship of the Missouri Valley Conference?
MCKENDREE: “The biggest thing with women is confident, and getting off to a poor start sometimes you just need something to happen that allows you to feel very confident. Unfortunately, it took a little while to get that break. I think that was the biggest thing.
“There wasn’t one thing that happened. We just played really good one day, and we got the result and that’s something that changed their mentality and their confidence. and allowed them to feel like they were a good team. Ninety-nine percent of the women’s game is is they are confident they are going to play better.”
THOMPSON: “I just think we weren’t in synch very well and we decided that (with the start of conference play) we had a chance to do something. It was kind of like a now or never thing. We had a chance and we wanted to make something of it.”
SMITH: “We kind of got together as a team and said, ‘Hey, we’re better than this. We can do more than we are doing. Let’s start practicing harder, training harder. The results cam and we started winning game and being excited to play.”
SPRINGER: “I know I personally went through a slump. We got together. We came out after practice a few times and took shots, worked on our runs. After that it kind of all clicked in our heads and we got together and started scoring goals. Everything started coming naturally.
Q: How much did some of the lineup changes, including putting Simone Busby in goal, spark the turnaround last season?
MCKENDREE: “There’s always adjustments you make as a coaching staff. We’re always trying to figure it out and if something is not working and we’re not getting the results, we have to try something. We had some adjustments of some people, and those adjustments — I’m not saying they were the ultimate reason — somehow something worked in that mix and allowed us to continue the conference season on a very positive note. (Simone) was part of that.
“We kind of talked about it. “We have to quit giving up multiple goals in games. We can give up one goal — that’s OK. Obviously, we’d like to go for zero. But if you continually give up two or three goals per game, it’s very hard to win.”
Q: Simone, you came in and helped spark a turnaround, finishing with five shutouts. How satisfying was that for you to earn the starting job as a freshman and make such an impact?
BUSBY: “It felt good to do what I did. But I also know somewhere along the way somebody could come and do the same thing to me. I never really wanted to settle for being able to play. I wanted to make sure I had that spot and I was set ther, and I was working hard and doing what I was supposed to be doing in order to keep my spot.
“Nothing is ever given to you, you have to earn it.”