K-State Soccer Conducts Media Day, Purple-White Scrimmage Friday

MANHATTAN, Kansas – Laramie Hall picked up where she left off last season while leading Kansas State with two goals and a trio of freshmen found the back of the net in their initial exposure to collegiate play as K-State’s Purple side topped the White, 3-2, in an intrasquad scrimmage at K-State Soccer Complex Friday night. 

Hall, a sophomore who tied for the team lead in goals scored a season ago, scored the first and last goals and one in each color during the scrimmage, which featured three, 30-minute periods and multiple personnel swaps. True freshmen Christina Baxter, Hannah Davis and Brookelynn Entz – three of 13 Wildcat newcomers – joined Hall on the goal scorers list with tallies of their own.

The scrimmage, originally scheduled for Saturday but moved due to the threat of poor weather, drew a sizable crowd, including a group of children who joined the team on the field after the friendly for a short clinic. Earlier in the day, K-State took team and group photos and met with the media during its annual media day, with selected comments transcribed below. 

In a match that ended under the lights Friday, the Wildcats matched their intensity from their first week of practice early on in the scrimmage, as both teams threatened with shots on goal early in the first period. Entz showed flashes early for the White team, sending a cross into the box just five minutes into the contest, but it was cleared away by the defense. Purple offered multiple counters and tallied the first score of the match just prior to the end of the first period on a cross from forward Katie Cramer to sophomore forward Laramie Hall.

Team White got their revenge and evened the tally at 1-1 with nearly six minutes remaining in the second period, as Baxter was able to settle a ball in front of the net and sneak a shot past the goaltender. 

Baxter continued her success early on in the third quarter, that included a run down the field that resulted in an assist to Entz. After receiving the pass in the box, Entz was able to square up and score Team Purple’s second goal of the game. 

Team Purple was able to extend their lead with another goal in the third, on a free kick from Davis. After being bowled over just outside of the box, Davis blasted a shot just over the wall and into the upper left of the net to push Purple’s advantage to 3-1. With time running out in the match, Hall ran down a ball to the left of the box and punched it past the keeper to bring the final tally 3-2.

“It felt like we got more comfortable and we were more dynamic going into the second period and in the third we found some rhythm and tempo,” K-State head coach Mike Dibbini said. “We have a lot of work to do as far as trying to build cohesiveness and chemistry. We saw moments, but you can tell that we are still new. Over the next couple of weeks we will start that coming together a little bit faster.”

K-State continues its slate of practices into this weekend and next and will follow up Friday’s scrimmage with two road exhibition matches before starting its season in the state of Oregon with Oregon State on August 18 and Oregon on August 20. The Wildcats will not return home until August 30, when they face off against Omaha at 7 p.m.

Single-game, standing-room only tickets for K-State home matches are available through the K-State Athletics Ticket Office (800-221-CATS, www.kstatesports.com/tickets). Tickets start at just $5 when purchased in advance. Standing room only group tickets are available for $3 with the purchase of 12 or more tickets. On match days, general admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children (12 and under), military personnel and senior citizens. Grandstand seating is sold out. All single-game tickets and new season tickets are available as standing room only, which includes the southwest grass berm, behind the north goal and designated areas on the east side of the field. 

To become a member of the K-State Founder’s Club and have access to season tickets for the 2017 season, contact the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221-CATS or www.kstatesports.com/tickets.

Quote from K-State Women’s Soccer Media Day – Friday Afternoon

Head Coach Mike Dibbini 
On this team compared to last year…
“We’re miles ahead in terms of growing chemistry throughout the spring. The spring helped us tremendously. We grew as a family, we grew stronger with more chemistry. You can see it on the field.”

On returning players having experience…
“We established a base last year with the returning players. We added some young freshman coming in that will help on that base. We have a good combination of returning players and newcomers. We’re excited about it.”

On areas of improvement for 2017…
“If we can execute better in the final third, and defend better on set pieces – those two areas and phases of the game are really important right now and will help us tremendously. It’s a free-flowing game of soccer, the run of play is always going to be tight. If you can get your chances in scoring and executing those three or four chances you get a game, or defending on those three or four chances to get the ball away, we’re going to give ourselves a chance.”

On having experience going into their first offseason…
“Just playing together and understanding each other and roles on the field. I think over the springtime and incorporating the younger players coming in, it’s still going to be a learning curve, but we are a better team in my opinion. We are facing a much stronger schedule. The results will be determined by how hard we work, but as far as being a better overall team i think we are much better.”

On how team will use Haley Sutter for upcoming season…
“Haley can play anywhere on the field, putting her in the center of our defense tells her we believe and we trust that she can give us the confidence to keep us in games. Our goalkeepers and the rest of our defenders keep that presence in the back that we need, and we’re excited for her to be in the center to anchor us back there.”

On position battles…
“There’s some depth this year, I don’t know that we will see complacency like we did in the past with players. I think all of them understand their roles, but they also understand every training session is going to be important for them to get the minutes they want and deserve.”

On season’s expectations…
“Controlling the controllable, I think they [the team] understand that. I think if we continue to do that and to try to get better each and every day and staying consistent with the message, those things will help us get better as a team. We are still very young, we have nothing to lose even though we had a season last year, we still don’t have anything to lose. We’re more confident in ourselves, the coaching staff is more confident with what tools and resources we have going into the season. We’re excited and we’re hoping to make something happen this year.”

On his goals for this season…
“I think the realistic goal for us is focusing on one game at a time and building into the first Big 12 season and understanding how we want to play. If you look back at the history of the Big 12, the last five years, any team that won two or three games ended up making the seventh or eighth seed in the Big 12 Tournament. A realistic goal for us is trying to make it into the Big 12 Tournament. We’re pretty good at home, look at last year. If we have half of our Big 12 games at home, hopefully we can have the crowd to get us through those games and make history.”

On the spread of schedule this year…
“I like some of the single game matches for the weekend, just for the fact that it gives us more recovery time, and it gives us more time to prepare for those Friday matches only. When you’re preparing for a Friday match and turnaround and prepare for a Sunday match with fatigue and not much recovery, it’s difficult. Single-game matches are important and it will help us throughout the year.”

On what he is looking forward to in the scrimmage Friday night…
“Getting everyone on the field and trying to figure out some gelling units. We’re going to mix it up, I know it’s a Purple and White [scrimmage] but you’re going to see three different sets of units out there that we’re just going to play around with and see what we look like. It will be fun. It will be fun to get us out there and get some referees and some fans and the public out here to watch them play.”

Senior Forward Abby Sieperda
On the first week of practice…
“It’s gone well so far, it’s been hard, it’s been long, but we’ve really been getting after it and I’m looking forward to our games now.”

On this team compared to last year…
“Last year we were really, really nervous. This year I think that we have more talent on our team, we’ve got a lot more experience and I think we’re ready to come out and work hard this year.”

On playing against Big 12 opponents…
“Playing in the Big 12 Conference is such a big incentive for us. We have a lot to look forward to just even make it to these Big 12 games and hopefully get some big wins.”

On the upcoming exhibitions and road trip to Oregon…
“It’s really exciting to get to that point. We’re ready to push past the exhibition games and look forward to our real games and hopefully get some more experience under our belt.”

Sophomore Midfielder Ashley Zane
On covering the field…
“That’s kind of how I grew up to play. I have always kind of been the Energizer Bunny on the field. I think that with Brookelynn Entz coming in and Maddie Souder, I think they will help me in that role to just be that Energizer Bunny too.”

On what team needs to take the next step…
“One thing is we all need to come together as a team, I think if we accomplish that we will be successful.”

On chemistry with the newcomers…
“It’s so much fun, the first day of practice we got out there and came together. It was a great first day of practice. They’ve shown us a lot and it’s going to be a great season.”

On this year’s first practice compared to last year’s…
“There is so much talent this year, there was last year too, but how its building and how it’s coming together, how players are coming in and being competitive, it’s going to help us this year.”

Sophomore Midfielder Laramie Hall
On status of this year compared to last year…
“We have made so much progress in such little time, it’s crazy. Especially thinking back to where we started last year, it’s leaps and bounds better.”

On what sticks out with this year’s team…
“This team now is super intense and super go-get-them. Practices have been really intense and competitive and I think that’s something that we really didn’t have last year in the beginning.”

On the freshman class…
“They’re great, and they work really hard. I think it will be great to incorporate them into pieces on the field because they have some things that we lacked last year. It will be awesome to see how they transition in the game. I think it’s a lot easier now that it’s not 36 new people, it’s 13 new people coming into what we’ve already had. It’s a lot easier for them, and everyone kind of knows the expectations now, so we can share with them what those are, instead of last year coming up with them on the fly.”

On this season’s expectations…
“For the season, we want to make the Big 12 Tournament, and we want to put out something on the field every game and work hard. We want teams to walk away from us and think ‘wow that was a very hard-working team, no matter the outcome.’ That’s what we want, to just compete.”

On the focus of the offensive attack…
“We worked a lot on that, but we also worked on defending that. It’s good to see the freshman doing very well on the attacking third and we’re all doing really well. Just seeing what we’re able to do is so much more intense than last year.”

Junior Defender Haley Sutter
On improvements from last season…
“I think having new girls coming in, it’s all about meshing. We need to learn to connect better on and off the field, and just learning to play with each other because it’s hard to play with brand new girls. Once we do it will be good. I need to focus more on being a leader out of the back, especially because I might be in center back position. You have to communicate a lot, since you can see the whole field so it’s really important that you use your voice. That’s my biggest thing to work on.”

On potentially playing a new position…
“It’s going to be different, I like being in the center, you can see the field from a different view compared to the outside. I think it will be tough, but it will be fun.”

On the feel from practice compared to last year…
“We have the girls this year, they are very advance already, and they’re really coachable and learning very quick. That’s going to be very important for us, especially because our first games are coming up next week. It’s important that we learn really quickly how to play together.”

On having experience from last year…
“It’s good because we know what the coaches want and it’s about helping the newcomers and making sure they know what’s expected and our standards on and off of the field.”

Sophomore Midfielder Dora Gallo
On the first week of practice…
“It’s been tough, but it’s awesome being back out here on the field playing together. I missed it a lot.”

On this team compared to last year…
“I feel the development of the players was higher than last year, by a lot actually. By the first practices the level of the game has gone up so much and it’s really pushing everyone to give their fullest.

On playing Big 12 Opponents this year…
“I’m so hyped for it, because now we have to show people what we have, we’re going after that NCAA Tournament so I’m ready, all the girls are ready to give it their all.”

On keys for this year…
“Family first and hard work. If we can outwork all of the other teams and we are in a lot of the games I think we’ll be good with the conference.”

Senior Goal Keeper Miranda Larkin
On first season of K-State soccer…
“I think it was a great beginning season for us, to come together, we have a lot of returners here and we all got to bond and even in the spring we really made advances. To come together as a team and doing team things together. We brought in the new girls and it’s going to look really good going into the Big 12 this year with what we have, I’ve really liked what I’ve seen this far.”

On this season compared to last season…
“It’s a lot different, with 13 new girls in, it’s a lot different now because we brought in new talent and we’ve worked together. I’m interested to see how it’s going to come together on the field. We have been practicing all summer and I think that’s something different with our team with our new girls and working out. It’s a big difference from last year and I look forward to get into the Big 12.”

On what she’s noticed of this year’s freshman class…
“Their technique and work ethic. We have really worked hard this summer in our fitness and technical abilities. Coming out here in preseason it looks a lot faster, the game looks pretty good on the field.”

On being a leader in her senior season…
“I consider that one of my roles. I try to focus on myself first and my ability to play, especially in preseason starting out. I always try to help out when I can and keep the team moving in the right direction and just get us going and ready for games.”

On improvements from last year…
“I think this year we are going to connect a lot more passes on the field, last year we had problems technically. This year we’re a lot more athletic. I think we improved in every year starting this season. We’re a lot more athletic, we’re ready to be physical on the field and we’ve improved technically with our passes. We’ve also really come together as a team so I would say in every area we’ve made improvements on this year.”

On Friday night’s scrimmage and the upcoming exhibition…
“I’m really excited, its going to be fun, playing Purple and White, but I’m excited to play different opponents with our new teammates and see how we can bond and what it’s going to be like. I’m excited that we get these exhibition games before moving into season.”

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