Nov. 13, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With three open tournaments behind them, Northwestern now turns its attention to the first dual meet of the 2009-10 season, traveling to Palo Alto, Calif., to compete in the Stanford Duals on Saturday, Nov. 14. The Wildcats will meet up with rival Notre Dame, North Carolina, Air Force, UC San Diego, Cal Tech and the host Cardinal as head coach Laurie Schiller continue to closes in on his 1,000th career victory.
Schiller, who enters the weekend with an overall record of 989-412, recently sat down with NUsports.com to talk about the upcoming season for the Wildcats, gave a weapon-by-weapon breakdown and reflected on what his 1,000th victory would mean to him.
On his outlook for the season...
"We've had some good seasons over the last few years, but this year we're hoping to have a great season. We've come so close to beating some of our top rivals, and we have a nice mix of both veterans and good youngsters. So hopefully this will be that great season we've been waiting for where we get over the hump of beating those top schools and continue to establish ourselves as one of the nation's top programs."
On his epée team...
"This is probably one of the most experienced and talented teams I've coached. You have Christa French, a three-time All-American, who is a senior. Her sister, Kayley, is a two-time NCAA qualifier and is a senior. Joanna Niklinska, our other top epéeist, is a senior. So I think they will continue to leave their mark on this program and we will look to them to provide the leadership and carry the team this year."
On his foil team...
On his sabre team...
"We have a handful of very young, but very talented girls. Obviously we can't replace (four-time All-American) Sam Nemecek, but Devynn Patterson did a great job for us last year as a freshman, just missing being named an All-American. Camille Provencal and senior Meredith Baskies will provide a very talented threesome in the foil, and we also brought in Dayana Sarkisova, who is a top junior fencer. So I'm expecting the foil team to continue to be a strength of this program and expect two NCAA qualifiers from this group."
"Probably the area which will determine the success of our season will be the sabre team. We need them to get those three or four extra bouts which will be the difference in beating those top teams. We brought in two very good freshmen in Chloe Grainger
and Alicia Gurrieri
, and combine them with the returners in Whitney White
and Jill Mahen
, and I think we could have a very good year from the sabre squad, which will translate into a great year for the program as a whole."
On being close to 1,000 career wins...
"It's hard to grasp exactly what it means. As a coach, you can only do so much in preparing and training the athletes, but ultimately they are the ones that have to go out and perform. That being said, it is still a tremendous recognition and it has been an honor to have that opportunity here at Northwestern and having been given the chance to do that. Most other schools wouldn't have given me the type of support that Northwestern has. I'm looking forward to that day, and I think it will be fun to celebrate with the girls and those who have helped make it possible along the way."