K-State Soccer Hosts Media Day

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State soccer head coach Mike Dibbini and his team met with the media on Saturday  to preview the inaugural season and to provide an update at where the team is at following its first preseason camp. The following are quotes from Dibbini and members of the team.

Kansas State head coach Mike Dibbini
On characteristics that he was looking at for his players…
“As far as a student athlete, good character is important to us, but as far as the player itself, athletically if they can compete, technically they can compete, tactically they are sound, and physically and mentally they are both strong in those areas. Those are the areas that we were looking for as we were and are recruiting and bringing in players. We do that by watching them in their game environment, training environment, talking to coaches, and watching them warm up because you can tell a lot by a player’s warm up if they are ready to play.”

On the new program bringing something fresh to recruiting in Kansas…
“Being a new program kind of opens up another opportunity for those that have been competing for that one university in the state of Kansas, and now they have the opportunity to compete for another one. It basically opens their eyes. They might say, I have a K-State tradition or a K-State background and what a unique opportunity now to set my goals and aspirations to try and be in a K-State uniform in the future.”

On wanting girls in the state to aspire to play for K-State…
“I am going to continue to recruit the best Kansas student-athlete soccer players that I can find, and also check into the surrounding states, besides my second backyard which is southern California. Those are my two niches right now, Kansas and California.”

On what the pitch is to get players from southern California…
“The pitch is that it is K-State. It is in the Big 12. It is a Power Five school. There are not many of those, in terms of across the country, so having that opportunity. California is so saturated with top talent that there is just so many of them that they cannot have them all, and it also helps that I am from that area and one of my other assistants is from that area. A lot of people know me very well in that area. So having those on my side at least helps me get a visit. If I get nine out of ten coming out from southern California and actually come into Manhattan and see the athletic facilities, seeing the campus, and seeing the community, nine out of ten are ready to commit.”

On the feelings of the schedule…
“That is a difficult part of the first year. When you are starting a program it is hard to get home games. However, I think it is a perfect schedule to get our feet wet, understand us and figure us out, and see what we can do. It is going to take these types of games early on to prepare us for the future.”

On challenges for this season…
“I just think that the biggest challenge will be battling the recruiting. The recruiting will be the issue, and once we are headed in the right direction I will have to show off all the other facilities on campus. I think the recruiting and the facilities are important for us to compete right away, and they are coming. I just have to be patient. I am used to coaching at different levels without the same resources that I have here. So the resources here are helping me quite a bit. I am very appreciative.”

Senior Defender Abbey Fiser
On what are your expectations for a team that is so new…
“Our expectations are what coach has said we are either going to win or learn. We don’t really use the word loss because we are a new program and we have nothing to lose going into this season.”

On how her family feels about her being closer to home…
“They love it. My grandparents live here and they are all about it. My grandpa used to play baseball here, used to coach. My great grandpa played here and my uncle so it is definitely a family atmosphere for us.”

On the team’s chemistry…
“There is always room for improvement but as far as team chemistry goes we’ve done pretty well. We played Arkansas already and we only lost 2-0 and they are a very well established program so I think we are doing well.”

On being the only senior…
“Yeah, there is definitely not the seniority rule because I’m a little outnumbered but it’s been great. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

On who you’ve taken under your wing…
“I would say Bridget Howard. We have this big sister little sister program and she’s mine so I just want to be able to be there for her and use my experience to guide her along the way.”

On playing Division 1 soccer at Ball State..
“Playing Division 1 for three years you definitely notice a change in the pace of the game. It is a lot quicker and more physical which we learned very quickly in our Arkansas game and we’re going to really have to step it up so we can bring that in our future games.”

Sophomore Defender Kelcy Fiser
On what made her come to K-State…
“My whole family is from Manhattan and my grandparents, and my aunt and uncle are here and my dad grew up here. I’ve come up here growing up visiting family so it’s good to have family nearby.”

On what it is like to have her sister here…
“There wasn’t any convincing on either part of us. We made our own decision. Both of us knew it would be the best for us individually. It just worked out that it was both of us.”

On playing collegiate soccer with her sister…
“It’s been a great time, even at Ball state and in high school playing with my sister and a lot of people don’t get to play with their siblings for that long so it’s been really cool that we’ve been able to do that.”

On being on the ground floor of a new program…
“It’s fun saying that we are making history and starting it all from scratch. We’re just trying to build a strong steady foundation and I think it’s going good.”

Redshirt Freshman Elizabeth Hernandez
On what made you want to commit and take a chance on this team…
“Coach Dibbini had a big toll on it and the K- State family. Just how Coach Dibbini put confidence in us”

On being from California…
“The biggest change is being away from my family. I was really close to them. I come from a big family of Hispanics. Obviously the weather change, winter and below 42 degrees. It’s different and it’s fun.

On expectations as a team…
“I hope we build as a team. Our first game as Coach Mike says, they are learning experiences. As the years come by we get better as players, get better as a team, good and high expectations.”

Redshirt junior Midfielder Madison Wedekind
On what made you want to commit and take a chance on this team…
“I have a twin sister who runs track and cross country here and so it’s kind of cool to be able to go to the same school as her and compete in a different sport. My dad grew up in Manhattan for a little bit when he was young and my older sister graduated from here so my family loves K-State.”

On expectations as a team…
“We are going to surprise people. I don’t think people are expecting a first year program to come out and be successful but I can see us coming out and doing some really good things and hopefully winning a lot of games.”

Redshirt freshman forward Krista Haddock
On what made her commit and take a chance on this team…
“Mike was a huge influence on me to come here. I had, especially towards my later years in high school playing, I started having huge doubts about whether or not I could play Division 1 soccer. It was something that I had wanted to do for a very long time specifically in the Big 12. I had actually wanted to go to some of the Texas Big 12 schools. Talking with Mike through recruiting he told me that he believed that I was a Division 1 player and that I was being counted out for my size and that really instilled a lot of confidence in me and really made me believe in him as a coach, apparently enough to bring me halfway across the country.”

On being from California…
“It’s definitely cool seeing a different culture. People here and people there are completely different, and the weather as well. When we (Elizabeth Hernandez) signed our letters of intent we hadn’t even come here before. We had never been to the state of Kansas. Our official visit to come here was the weekend after so we really were just hoping to God that we were going to like it here, and luckily we do a lot.”

On expectations as a team…
“Any first year program everyone’s going to expect your record to be a losing record. Every game you go into, you’re projected to lose because you’ve never played before. Like Mike said which has really stuck for us that we either win or we learn. That’s completely true. We are expected to lose and if we win we are surprised and if we don’t, we are just learning because it’s our first year.”