After defeating 12th-ranked Sonoma State and Humboldt State last week to improve to 9-1-2 overall and 4-0-2 in conference play, the UC San Diego women's soccer team is back atop the CCAA Southern Division standings, tied for first place with Cal State Dominguez Hills entering a Northern California swing this weekend. Senior goalkeeper Jessica McGovern and the Triton defense have been outstanding so far in 2008, allowing a conference-best eight goals in their 12 games this season. Individually, the Reseda, Calif. native ranks second among CCAA keepers with a goals against average of 0.66 and has posted four shutouts, a figure that also ranks second. McGovern, who notched the 24th shutout of her career in Sunday's 3-0 rout of the Lumberjacks, took a break from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for UCSDtritons.com.
Q: As a goalkeeper, your numbers have gotten better each and every year and youšve already recorded four shutouts in 2008. What is the secret to your success?
McGOVERN: I’ve been fortunate to have great defenders every season. They work incredibly hard and I try to return the favor. I also make a game out of trying to play better than the opposing goalkeeper.
Q: Have you always played that position? When did you know that you were a special player between the posts?
McGOVERN: I have not always played goalkeeper. I used to play center mid and GK with another teammate. I was a little bit crazier than she was and I enjoyed GK a bit more. In some way it always seemed like a natural fit. I finally moved to GK full-time my freshman year of high school.
Q: The team just moved back into first place in the CCAA South Division. What does the squad need to do to finish the season strong and win the CCAA Tournament Championship?
McGOVERN: Having such a young team means that our players gain a significant amount of experience with each game. We will continue to grow with each game we play and hopefully we will peak just in time for playoffs. Our players are all talented. We just need to keep playing with passion and strength.
Q: What is your favorite thing about head coach Brian McManus? How has he made you a better player?
McGOVERN: I love the things he says on the field, especially with his accent. I also love that he truly cares about his players and how that shows through when he emphasizes the little things at practice to keep us healthy. His dissatisfaction with mediocrity and his understanding of the game have pushed me outside my comfort zone and to new, higher levels.
Q: What is your most memorable moment playing soccer and why?
McGOVERN: Beating Sonoma State 4-0 in the CCAA playoffs two years ago was the most memorable because we scored the four most awesome goals ever, including a diving header from Lauren Segars.
Q: What do you usually do to prepare for a game?
McGOVERN: I am not too superstitious about rituals, but I do try and get my head right before every game. I get pumped up with our pre-game locker room music and talks and then focus when the warm up begins.
Q: If you could play any sport other than soccer, what would it be and why?
McGOVERN: I’ve always wanted to play basketball. I wanted to play in high school, but it was during the same season as soccer. A little part of me wonders what could have been. Basketball seems intense throughout the whole game and I admire how effortless it looks for our UCSD teams to make shots.
Q: Who is your biggest role model and why?
McGOVERN: Brianna Scurry was my biggest role model growing up because she was such an awesome goalkeeper while she was playing for the U.S. national team. She seemed to have this incredible ability to read where the ball was going before the incoming forward even took the shot. I definitely aspire to be like her.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
McGOVERN: In 10 years I hope to have earned my Ph.D. in clinical psychology and I would like to be working with severe mental populations, such as people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Q: What is your biggest fear?
McGOVERN: My biggest fear would have to be not living up to my potential.
Q: What is something most people donšt know about you?
McGOVERN: I love singing really loudly in my car.
Q: If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
McGOVERN: competitive, adventurous, funny
Q: What does being a Triton mean to you?
McGOVERN: Being a Triton means being the most competitive person you can be and achieving at the highest level you can.
Previous Q&A Articles:
Bre Schofield (Cross Country) September 26, 2008
Tony Fernandez (Men's Soccer) September 18,2008
Kimberly Carpenter (Women's Volleyball) September 12, 2008
A.J. Kotanjian (Men’s Water Polo) September 2, 2008
Peter Akman (Men's Soccer) August 21, 2008
Natasha Belak-Berger (Women's Soccer) August 15, 2008
Jake LaVieux (Men's Cross Country) August 8, 2008
Dr. Penny Rue (Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs) July 30, 2008
Michelle Torres (Women's Volleyball) July 15, 2008
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer Head Coach) July 1, 2008
Julie Ertel (Athletics) June 16, 2008
Clint Allard (Men's Basketball) June 9, 2008
Jen Myers (Women's Crew) May 27, 2008
Casey Ryan (Men's Track and Field and Men's Basketball) May 21, 2008
Keith Noe (Baseball) May 13, 2008
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 30, 2008
Sydney Gstettenbauer (Women's Water Polo) April 22, 2008
Sarah Hendy (Women's Track and Field) April 17, 2008
Eric Leserman (Men's Volleyball) April 9, 2008
Danielle Lukk (Softball) April 4, 2008
Chris Franco (Baseball) March 24, 2008
Dan Perdew (Swimming) March 18, 2008
Evan Hsiao (Swimming) March 9, 2008
Eric Rubens (Men's Tennis) February 27, 2008
Melissa Ward (Softball) February 20, 2008
Cameron Sprowles (Fencing) February 13, 2008
Kim Hockett (Women's Water Polo) February 6, 2008
Trevor Decker (Baseball) January 31, 2008
Jordan Lawley (Men's Basketball) January 23, 2008
Jason Spangler (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2008
Andrew Skewes (Men's Diving) December 26, 2007
Alexis Gaskin (Women's Basketball) December 17, 2007
Aubrey Panis (Women's Swimming) December 2, 2007
Andrew Hatch (Men's Basketball) November 26, 2007
Kevin Klein (Men's Cross Country) November 12, 2007
Kim Adams (Women's Volleyball) November 7, 2007
Ben Miller (Men's Water Polo) October 31, 2007
Alie Avina (Women's Soccer) October 19, 2007
Charity Elliott (Women's Basketball Head Coach) October 15, 2007