March 28, 2014
Freshman Kim Coughlan discusses what the team has been working on this week in practice, her individual development as a midfielder, playing in the Big House, and also breaks down keys to U-M's matchup with UC Davis on Sunday.
On the benefit of having a week off between games ... "I feel like we've had a lot of time to go through a lot more things in practice than just working on the next team's offense and defense. We have more time to focus on the things we need to do to get better as a team. We've been working a lot on transition and our defensive ride. We need to continue to get better at getting the ball up the field and being able to stop the ball in transition. We've also been working on our defensive positioning and getting up on the ball more."
On the improvement in the team's fitness level ... "I remember in the fall we were pretty out of shape and from then until now we're totally different people and we're much more in shape. Now I can last a whole game and our midfielders can last a lot longer without needing a break. When we do start to get tired they'll pull us out and get us a water break and get us back in refocused."
On her development as a midfielder ... "I think one thing I really need to focus on is my motion on attack. Coach (Ulehla) has really been trying to get us to work well with each other. We're starting to flow much better as an offense, but we still need to keep working at it. I think my communication has gotten better on the defensive end. We're starting to flow a lot more on defense and are getting to know how one another plays -- we're learning when we can slide and help each other."
On the biggest different from the high school to college game ... "The speed of the game is a lot different compared to high school and I'm getting used to that. The ball gets pushed up the field a lot faster, but I'm getting used to working with the other midfielders. It's all new, learning how to work with all new players, but it's getting better each game and it's all a work in progress."
On keys to Sunday's game against UC Davis ... "I think intensity is one thing we really need to focus on. We either come out really strong or we end really strong, but we haven't brought that intensity for the whole game. We really need to make sure everyone is on the same page and pumped up to play. We also need to focus on the flow of our offensive, keeping the ball moving and making sure we're moving without the ball. On defense, we need to keep our communication and our intensity up. We tend to start out strong and when we get tired we start to fade out, but we need to stay loud and big on defense."
On the team playing more aggressively with more confidence ... "I think that we've realized that we're a lot stronger than we thought and we're at a level where we can compete. We can't be scared or afraid of who we're competing against because other players are older than us -- we can still fight and compete in any game. We're starting to take more risks and trust each other more. If we try something and it doesn't work out, we'll adjust and try something else, but we have to continue to stay aggressive."
On the feeling of playing in the Big House ... "It was amazing playing in there for the first game against Winthrop. I felt the intensity when we went out on the field for the first time. It was amazing to be able to play on that field. In our warm up, we were so excited and couldn't stop cheering for each other. I felt the power in the Big House and within our team. It's an amazing experience to be able to play in that stadium."
Previous Spotlight: Kelly Kubach