Just past the halfway
point of the 2011 regular season, the UC San Diego Women's Soccer team sports
an 8-0-2 record, holds a commanding lead in the CCAA South Division and is
ranked second in the latest Division II national poll. One of the key figures
on this year's roster is junior sweeper Ellen Wilson, a three-year starter for
the Tritons. The 5-9 Santa Ana, CA native presides over a defense that has
allowed just three goals in 10 games. "The rest of the team has so much faith
in Ellen," says Head Coach Brian McManus. "She has such poise and balance and
knowing she's back there, the team's play reflects that calmness. There's never
any panic." Before heading out for her team's final regular season road trip of
the year, Wilson took time to talk about her position, her career to date and
what might lie in the future.
every game of your collegiate career at UCSD. What got you into the starting
lineup as a freshman and what's kept you there?
extremely lucky to have the opportunity to play and start as a freshman. Luckily, the sweeper position was
available for me and I was able to step right into the mix. Since then, I've just taken it one game
at a time and tried to improve. I
think that is why I have been able to maintain my spot in the lineup.
Q-The sweeper might
be regarded as "the quarterback of the defense" in soccer. What skill set is
required to be successful at your position?
I'd be considered the quarterback in the sense that I have the most vision on
the field. Being the last
defender, my job is to direct the defense and help generate an attack, so
giving direction to my teammates is a lot of what I do.
obviously a team endeavor. What talents do you think stand out with each of
your teammates on the backline?
be the third year Sara (Spaventa), Hayley (Johnson), goalkeeper Kristin
(Armstrong), and I have played together in the back. By now, we are
almost always on the same page. We know Sara rarely ever gets beaten,
Hayley is usually an outlet to start an attack, and Kristin is just a
beast in goal.
Q-What skills are
more important at your position-physical or mental?
say mental. Compared to all the
other positions, mine probably requires the least amount of running. I always have to be mentally checked
into the game in order to organize the defense and help us generate an attack.
being stationed as far away from the goal as any field player on your team, you
have five career goals. How does that happen?
time I'm really in a position to score is when I am sent up for corner
kicks. That is how I got all five
of my goals.
gratifying, scoring a goal or stopping an opponent from scoring?
it's an amazing feeling to score a goal, I'd have to say stopping an opponent
from scoring is actually more gratifying for me. For some reason I find it really fun frustrating the other
team's offense by not letting them score...must be a defender thing.
Q-What kind of
chemistry does there need to be between the defenders and the keeper? How much
communication is there (both ways) during a typical game?
key. We know that our keepers are
reliable, so we have no trouble passing the ball back to them or shielding a
ball through for them to pick up.
Nine times out of ten, you listen to what the keeper says to do unless
you have the opportunity to clear the ball yourself.
Q-Last year's team
made it all the way to the NCAA Division II Championship game. What do you
remember most from that post-season run?
weekend of playoffs was the most memorable for me. We had just come off losing the CCAA tournament for the
second year in a row, so we were anxious to redeem ourselves. The next thing you know, we were flying
to Hawaii in the middle of November and staying in a five-star hotel. There, I scored two game-winning goals,
we beat the CCAA champs (San Francisco State) and BYU Hawaii, and began our journey
to the championship game in Kentucky.
Q-What effect do you
feel the results of the 2010 post-season had on the preparation and approach
this year's team has had?
what sums it up most for our team is that we are never satisfied. My freshman year we were knocked out in
the West Regional finals. We came
out with a vengeance last year and made it to the NCAA Championship game. Not winning that game made us want it
that much more this year. We are
always striving to improve and exceed what we've done.
Q-What one factor do
you think has been most responsible for the consistent success of the Triton
Women's Soccer team during your time at UCSD?
WILSON-I think it
is our mentality of taking each game one at a time. It doesn't matter what result we had in our last game or who
we play next, we are only concerned with the opponent at hand.
Q-Where do you feel
you improved the most between your first and second years at UCSD? Between your
second and third years?
first and second year, I think I settled into my position more and gained a
sense of entitlement to be there.
From my second year to this year, I've taken on more of a leadership
role and have had to focus on vocally directing my teammates.
Q-What's the best
advice you've received from Head Coach Brian McManus? What about your coach
surprised you the most after you got to UCSD?
the best advice he has given us is to take advantage of the education we are
getting here at UCSD. What
surprised me most about Brian was finding out that he has been in America for
over 20 years, yet he still has the thickest Scottish accent.
Q-Both of your
parents were collegiate athletes at Loyola Marymount. What factors led to you
attending UCSD to play soccer?
did get in to LMU, I wanted the opportunity to continue my soccer career in
college. UCSD offered great
academics, athletics, and location.
That's why I chose Division II.
Q-You list your
favorite movie as "The Sandlot." What do you like about it? Who is your
favorite character in the movie?
Sandlot" is just one of those movies that reminds me of my childhood-- playing
sports, being part of a team, and bonding with friends. My favorite character would have to be
Squints, although I did have a crush on Benny growing up.
communications major at Sixth College. What particular area, if any, are you
focusing on? What do you hope to use it for after you graduate?
interested in the marketing aspect of communication. I'm hoping I can pursue a career in advertising or PR,
ideally with a sports team.
Q-What is your
"dream" scenario between now and the end of the season for the UCSD Women's
Best-case scenario, we
would continue our winning streak, win the CCAA Championship, host NCAA Regionals,
and find ourselves right back at the National Championship game in Florida the
first week in December.
Previous Q & A Articles
Brian Donohoe (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2011
Roxanne Brunsting (Women's Volleyball) August 19, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Vincent Nguyen (Tennis) July 1, 2011
Patti Gerckens (Softball) May 26, 2011
Blake Tagmyer (Baseball) May 11, 2011
Theresa Richards (Women's Track & Field) April 27, 2011
Austin West (Men's Tennis) April 17, 2011
Drew Lawyer (Men's Crew) April 11, 2011
Keith Okasaki (Men's Golf) March 26, 2011
Matt Herman (Men's Swimming & Diving) March 12, 2011
Hanalei Crowell (Women's Water Polo) March 5, 2011
Camille Gaito (Softball) February 23, 2011
Tim Shibuya (Baseball) February 8, 2011
Carl Eberts (Men's Volleyball) January 31, 2011
Neda Nguyen (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 24, 2011
Amy Bianchini (Fencing) January 14, 2011
Lauren Freidenberg (Women's Basketball) January 3, 2011
Christian Hatch (Men's Basketball) December 24, 2010
Blake Langland (Men's Swimming & Diving) November 27, 2010
Sarah McTigue (Women's Soccer) November 8, 2010
Brandon Yee (Men's Soccer) October 11, 2010
Bryce Madsen (Men's Water Polo) September 23, 2010
Annette Ilg (Women's Soccer) September 9, 2010
Ricci Luyties (Women's Volleyball Head Coach) August 24, 2010
Kevin Messey (Head Athletics Trainer) July 7, 2010
Dan O'Brien (Baseball Head Coach) June 18, 2010
Christine Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010
Vance Albitz (Baseball) May 11, 2010
Erik Elliott (Men's Tennis) May 3, 2010
Kelly Fogarty (Women's Track & Field) April 23, 2010
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 15, 2010
Kirby St. John (Baseball) March 24, 2010
Dan Perdew (Men's Swimming) February 28, 2010
Calvin Ross (Men's Volleyball) February 20, 2010
Nicole Saari (Softball) February 4, 2010
Brad Kreutzkamp (Women's Water Polo Head Coach) January 18, 2010
Tyler Acevedo (Men's Basketball) January 4, 2010
Dr. Cliff Kubiak (UCSD's Faculty Athletic Rep) December 18, 2009
Chelsea Carlisle (Women's Basketball) December 9, 2009
Carianne Cunningham (Women's Swimming) November 23, 2009
Elena Inouye (Cross Country) November 6, 2009
David Morton (Men's Water Polo) October 28, 2009
Juan Pablo Carillo (Men's Swimming) October 19, 2009
Sara Spaventa (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2009
Karen Reis (Women's Volleyball) October 2, 2009
Daniel Pavitt (Men's Soccer) September 23, 2009
Daniel Anderson (Cross Country) September 11, 2009
Peter Gresham (Men's Water Polo) September 2, 2009
Alexia Zatarain (Women's Soccer) August 24, 2009
Elaine Chen (Women's Volleyball) August 12, 2009
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
Dawn Lee (Former Women's Soccer Standout) July 8, 2009
Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009