Nov. 30, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Greg Ryan
Opening statement ... "First of all, I'd like to congratulate the University of Virginia. Steve Swanson is not only a great coach but a great person. He and I were teammates back in the day. Virginia showed their quality. They are an outstanding team. We played our hearts out. More than anything, I want to thank Holly (Hein), (Meghan) Toohey and our whole senior class for not only the great run in the tournament this year but for being great people and great players for four years. They completely rebuilt Michigan's program, which was in last place in the Big Ten the year before I got here and the next two years before I recruited this class. They changed soccer at Michigan, and I couldn't be prouder for the whole group and the whole team."
On if he's seen a style of play in the college game that Virginia plays ... "No. I think Virginia plays the best brand of soccer in the women's college game that I've seen in a long time. Stanford plays a similar style, but Virginia does it at a much higher pace, not only with the ball, but when they're out of possession, they are so quick to possess. They're very much like FC Barcelona. It's very difficult to get into any kind of rhythm. You know your best chances are in the counter and that's where we scored and that's what we worked on. But they're going to keep coming after, keep pressing, keep putting balls in behind, and they're going to wear you down. They're No. 1 and there's no question they deserve it. I want to wish them the very best as they go into the Final Four. It's great to see that quality of soccer in the women's college game."
On the 2013 season ... "This year was a blast. The reason why I didn't get up here first was because I couldn't get out of the team huddle because the kids wouldn't stop hugging each other. It's a group of people that are a family. They love each other. They didn't want to leave. Our seniors were like, 'I don't want to leave this huddle.' They weren't disappointed that they lost to the No. 1 team in the country. They were disappointed that they won't be together every day in the future. For me, I'm so thankful and that's the culture Holly was talking about that's been built here. As a coach, I get to benefit from being with a great group of young women who give it all on the field, are great off the field, great students and fun people to be around. I couldn't be happier."
On defending Virginia's attack ... "Weather the storm is right. Virginia throws the kitchen sink at you and a couple of pipes from the basement and the crowbar from the back of your trunk. You have to be able to deal with so many attacking positions they have. We decided that if we were going to give them anything, we were going to give them the flanks and not up the middle, but unfortunately, we were out of position on our first goal. Today, it was team defending. It was a back five today because they had four or five on our back line all day. They played fantastic. Every chance Virginia had was under pressure other than that first one. They've given up 12 goals this entire year. Virginia is the first team to score more than one goal on this team all year. We set the record last year with 17 goals against. This year's 12 obliterated that record. That's Holly and Shelina's (Zadorsky) leadership at the back. Keyana (Thompson-Shaw) played an important role today. That's Kayla (Mannino), Chloe (Sosenko) and Christina Ordonez and our holding midfielders in front, from Tina Murillo to Cassie (Collins) and Tori (McCombs). And then you have little Meghan Toohey who covers 10 miles a game. I'm so proud of them. They did all that with a freshman goalkeeper. I know Virginia has a freshman goalkeeper, too. It's just ours had a bit more work today. And Taylor (Bucklin) did a great job."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Holly Hein
On the team's defensive strategy ... "Credit to Virginia. They have an awesome attack going forward. We did well for a lot of the game to keep them contained. They put a couple in behind us, but we really fought the whole game to make sure they weren't able to get in behind, but they did a couple times. That's the way soccer goes. I couldn't be more proud of our back line all year and every one of us who defended in front. We've just done a great job and I'm really proud of our team."
On the legacy of this senior class ... "I think first and foremost, the thing that stands out in my mind is the culture we've created for Michigan soccer. I couldn't be happier for that and I'm so proud to leave that behind. That's really driven our success over the last couple of years. We're a family. It allows us to play for each other on the field. The records and whatnot that come with it is an honor and a testament to how great of a team we had this year. I'm proud of everyone and couldn't have done it without every single player on the field, from Taylor (Bucklin) to Nkem (Ezurike) up top, who broke so many records this year. It's a team effort and I'm happy to say we were a part of it."
U-M Senior Meghan Toohey
On her goal ... "After they scored, we huddled together and said that we have to keep going after it. We couldn't let it affect our play. We had a game plan. It was on the counter. Nkem (Ezurike) got the ball and crossed it pretty much to my foot. I tried to hit it into the back of the net and it went in."
On if the team met the expectations set at the beginning of the year ... "This year was just special and we kind of knew it starting the season. We came in second in the Big Ten and went on a run to the Elite Eight. One of our goals was to just get further than we did last year, and I think it's a credit to our team and the hard work and dedication put in every day at practice. We put in the hardest fight we could tonight and I walk away proud."
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