BYU women's soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood has coached a lot of great teams, but this one may end up being her best ever. The Lady Cougars have compiled a 16-1-1 record on the year and look to be in good shape to win the West Coast Conference championship and make a run in the NCAA playoffs. The Deseret News' Brandon Gurney asked Rockwood five questions to gain a better perspective on this year's team.
Q: WHAT HAS BEEN THE KEY TO YOUR TEAM'S SUCCESS SO FAR THIS SEASON?
A: We have a lot of good returning experience and those who are returning were very disappointed to not make the NCAA tournament last season. We've sort of used that as motivation and we should definitely get an invitation to this year's tournament with our record and No. 5-ranking.
Q: YOU'VE BEEN COACHING AT BYU SINCE 1995. HOW DOES THIS YEAR'S TEAM COMPARE TO THE OTHER GREAT TEAMS YOU'VE COACHED?
A: It's probably the best attacking team that I've coached while here at BYU. It's a special team that is really mentally tough and consistent with their approach to games and to practices. We'll see where they are at the end of the season because we still have a lot to improve on, but I think this team certainly has the potential to be as good as any team I've coached.
Q: HOW FAR DO YOU THINK THIS TEAM CAN GO THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE YOUR TEAM GOALS?
A: Our main goal is to win a conference championship and we're on track to do that, but we need to make sure we finish strong. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves with any expectations and just take one game at a time. This team has been good at focusing on just the game it has, so we don't want to look too far ahead.
Q: WHO ARE SOME OF THE STAR PLAYERS ON THIS YEAR'S TEAM?
A: It's really tough to single out specific players because it's really been a team effort. Our leader on defense is Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall who is a two-time All-American for us and has been playing a huge role for us since she first joined the team. At midfield we have players like Cloee Colohan and Michele Murphy who have played very well and our attack up front at forward is led by Carlee Payne Holmoe and Erica Owens has been very solid for us goalkeeping.
Q: WHAT DOES THE TEAM NEED TO WORK ON FROM NOW UNTIL THE END OF THE SEASON?
A: We need to make sure we're healthy. We have a few players with some minor injuries, but we just need time to heal up and we also need to fine-tune some things. I really like how we've played overall, but you always need to make sure you're improving and fine-tuning things. We just need to stay on task and I believe this team has the potential to do some really good things.