Falcons at the NCAA East Regional
March 24, 2011
Below are comments from Air Force head coach Frank Serratore and players Derrick Burnett and Paul Weisgarber at the NCAA East Regional Press Conference, Thursday, March 24, at Webster Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn.
Head Coach Frank Serratore Opening Statement: "Well it's been a Cinderalla kind of year for us. After graduating our backbone for four years, Andrew Volkening, we knew that we would have some growing pains. Last year we came up short, losing in the semifinals. We started this season 0-4. It's not often you have a team that you say these guys just might get me fired to winning a championship, that's both halves of the extremes. I think in all sincerity it was a matter of our team needing time for our young goalie to mature and for players to accept their roles and learn to play as a team the way we wanted them to play and then come together as a group. As I told them the other day, I don't know how many great players we have but we sure don't have any bad players, we have a lot of good players, one thing we are, we are a great team. Two attributes that this group has had from day one right from the get go, I always tell them that if you aspire to be a champion there's two attributes you have to have - you have to have the ability to come from behind and you have to have the ability to win on the road. Our road record was better than our home record for awhile...This team has been the most resilient team I've had. Usually it's the kiss of death to be behind in the third, but we came from behind in the third to win or tie 11 times."
On how important the Yale game was in November: "It was a big win. Don't get me wrong. And after you win a game like that over a great team like Yale there's no reason to ever doubt yourself. It's not like you aspire to do it, you did it. If you did it once you can do it again. Just knowing we played them and had success. We know Yale is a terrific team but we know they're also human and they're going to have to play a good game against us." On the Yale Speed: "I watched Yale play in the national tournament...I watched Yale play BC. I just loved the way both those teams were built, the way both those teams played. On that given night, Yale played more than good enough to win. Their goalies had a rough night. Just watching that game, if I was hoping to get any player in the world, I'd get players like that, hardworking, determined, thick, strong, they compete. I sent Keith an email. I was so moved by the way they played. I felt so bad for Keith. I wrote him an email and told him how much I admired his team and I loved the way they played. If you could build the ideal college team that's the way it should be built, entertaining, hard working, strong, Like I said, I look at them and BC and they've had much the same type of architects."
On the Yale Defense: "I just watched the Cornell game. I don't really know much about their defense. They just weren't in their zone very much. They are a puck pursuit team. When they come, they're coming at you. They're like a bunch of little Mike Tysons, just coming and coming and coming, they're always on the attack. They're always attacking the puck wherever it's at. Their greatest attribute is just their [compete] level and their ability to win one on one battles and just keep their opponents on their heels. To be honest with you I think one of the things that worked for us in Colorado Springs was, even though as hard as they work I think 7,000 feet caught up with them a little bit late in the game which won't be the case here because they just exude a tremendous amount of energy. Like I said I love the way they play, whoever they played, wherever they played, they're entertaining."
Senior forward Derrick Burnett On confidence after come from behind 4-3 win over Yale in November: "I think it is, not just come from behind, but just kind of knowing deep down that we have the ability to beat these guys. Obviously both teams have changed a lot from the beginning of the season until now, they were on quite the run then, they're hot now, but so are we. We're looking forward to the game. It's just kind of calming knowing that deep down we can beat these guys on any given night and I'm sure we're going to get their best game.
Junior forward Paul Weisgarber On the Yale game as a turning point for the team: "I think so. It was the first game I think Jason Torf started for us and really stepped in, gave us a lot of confidence to play a little bit more of an aggressive game. I think our record shows we started really playing well after that game, what it comes down to is just having confidence in Jason Torf."