Head Coach Janet Rayfield Discusses NCAA Round of 16

Illinois Coach Talks About Matchup Versus North Carolina

Nov. 18, 2008

Head Coach Janet Rayfield
NCAA Round of 16
Illinois at North Carolina
Saturday, Nov. 22 • 4:30 p.m. (CT)

On facing North Carolina:
"It's exciting for me to be going back home, I guess you would call it. The administrator from North Carolina called and said, `Can't wait to have you back home,' and I'm excited to take this team back to the place where I did what they are doing now. I think that's exciting for them too, but I told them people are going to try to make this about me and my career at North Carolina, but it really is about them and their future as soccer players, and that's what exciting. They get a chance to go and play the program probably with the most history in women's soccer. They came here to play games at that level. They came here to be in the Sweet 16, and they earned their right to play against what most people call the best program in history in women's soccer. It's great to have been a part of that and it will be great to go and compete against that program."

On what this tournament appearance does for the program:
"We were looking back and this program has been to the Sweet 16 now three times in the last five years. I think that says a lot about the caliber of this program. To step into this game now, I think those previous experiences are going to really help us, but it means that this program is now a nationally competitive program. We're going into this game to compete, and I think that says a lot about what's happened here over the last ten years in terms of building a team that's ready to compete at this level."

On if there is a sense of awe in playing UNC:
"Because we've stepped on and played them before, I think that will help a lot, and there is a sense of comfort for me in that it's a place that I know pretty well, and can talk about what it's like, and can know what it's like to be on both sides of that coin, and I think that will help too."

On the pressure of being the underdog:
"The great thing about being where we are right now is that there is no pressure on us. This is a game where we can go and compete. We have to go into it with the best of our ability. We've been an unbelievable defensive team. This team is confident that they can defend, and if we can do that, like I said going into Missouri, it just takes one chance."



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