2011 NCAA® MEN’S WATER POLO CHAMPIONSHIP
Spieker Aquatics Complex • Berkeley, Calif.
SEMIFINAL MATCH 1 – USC (17) vs. Princeton (4)
PRINCETON POSTMATCH QUOTES
HEAD COACH LUIS NICOLAO
We gave a strong effort. They just jumped on us early. They’re a great team. We couldn’t capitalize on some chances and to their credit once they got up on us there wasn’t much we could do. They’re just a really good squad.
Talk about USC’s offense and its ability to score so quickly:
They sprint so well. They have such great ball skills and ball vision. I don’t think we did a good job of what we try to do – getting out in their faces early. We were a little tentative. They’re so deep. All their players can score. If one guy is off their man, they make you pay. To their credit, they’re really well coached. They’re good off the ball. They know what they’re doing when they get the ball. They’re a great team.
Talk about the game’s tempo and your strategy:
I think we tried to do too much in the first half. The excitement of the game, trying to create some plays, it caught up to us. You want to create plays, but in reality it turned into counterattack goals. I think they had six or seven first half counterattack goals. We really wanted to slow it down and hope it we could score three or four goals in the first half, and we just didn’t do it. We just kind of got steamrolled there in that first half.
What is the last thing you will say to your team tonight:
That game is over. We have to think about tomorrow and we just need to come out with a little better mindset. I think we wanted to play and came out to play, but we were just a little overmatched. Once you get down three, four or five goals, it’s hard. You’re trying to say the right things and do the right things. You do a couple good plays and something breaks down, and they score. It’s the sign of a really good team. Tonight, we have a chance to win a game tomorrow in the final four and that is what our goal is going to be. Whoever we play, our goal is going to be come out and have a better effort
FRESHMAN THOMAS NELSON
Address the play of USC’s defense:
The USC defense, they really go with a hard pressing. Some of the guys on our team are really not used to that. The East Coast teams don’t press quite as hard. In practice, we tried to get our guys to emulate that and go full strength. It’s hard sometimes. They’ve won three straight national championships. It’s hard to emulate a team like that. We do the best we can, but we still have a lot of work to do.
SENIOR MIKE HELOU
Assessment of the Game and USC:
They’re a great team and make you pay for very little mistake you make and we made a lot of them. We know we have a lot of work to do, but it was a good experience to come here and play such a good team.