Jillian Ellis Press Conference

Dec. 1, 2000

Opening comments:
Well obviously I'm extremely pleased with my team in getting this far. We're now at a point where it's two more games to accomplish the goal we've set out to accomplish. At the beginning of the year we talked about winning a national championship and it's gradually coming to fruition. But we obviously have two more games to battle out. It's not a case of just being happy to be here. We made it here and we want to win so that's our goal.

On the keys to UCLA making it to the College Cup:
I think three big keys are sitting next to me (Venus James, Karissa Hampton, Tracey Milburn). Obviously, our senior class has stepped up big and they are playing the best soccer they've ever played in their careers. They're looking for a future in the WSA. I think that, combined with an influx of freshmen that have provided more depth. But in essence, everyone sort of thinks this is a new program, but this program has been around for eight years. Its been to the playoffs. Joy (Fawcett) and Todd (Saldana), the two previous coaches, got it going in the right direction. I think this is now kind of an evolution for us at this point.

On Bruin forward Stephanie Rigamat's play of late:
She's an interesting bird. She's a dynamic player. She transferred in and I had her last fall but she wasn't eligible to play because of the transfer rule. In the spring I tried to make her back, but she's stubborn. This Fall, come preseason, now I understand why she's a frontrunner. She's dynamic, she works hard, and she's explosive. She's been a go-to player for us, especially in the playoff games. She's tough to handle.

On the Spartan Stadium field:
I liken it to the field at Florida. The field in Florida is also very small. We have good speed and we have good flank play so obviously it being a bit smaller will be hard for us. But we proved in Florida that it doesn't matter if you're playing on a postage stamp or a huge field, it comes down to executing. I think we'll be fine. And our goalkeeper can punt the ball so it will be interesting as far as the length in concerned. I hope she gets an assist.

On Tracey Milburn being the best forward in the Pac-10:
Tracey's best position is at forward, but she's played all year, because I've asked her to, at wing-mid. I think she's a very gifted player with tremendous ability. She has scored great goals and now understands her role as a wing-mid in getting assists. But yes, I think she's had a tremendous year and is very deserving of her honor.

On at what point did she feel this team had a chance to win a national championship:
For me personally, that's why I came to UCLA. It's always been a goal of mine. When the UCLA job became open, it just seemed like a perfect fit in terms of being able to get that done. I've always wanted to win a national championship and it didn't matter what program I was at. But I think UCLA has allowed me to get there more rapidly with the support and the resources that we have. And obviously the players. Our first game of the season against Clemson served as a gauge of where we were. Even though we lost that game, I understood then that this team had great potential. I think our best game of the year was against Washington as far as playing great soccer and we lost that game. For me it's about getting them to play their best soccer at this point and they are. It's always been a goal and at this point, if you're in it this far, you're in it to win it.

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