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Aug. 7, 2008

South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith
Our goal is to really see where the players are at after the summer. They’ve been training on their own all summer so for us we’re seeing them for the first time in a while. With the newcomers it’s a chance to see how they fit in with the new players. It’s coming all together as we see what strengths they have compared to other players. We’ll put the best team on the field hopefully in two weeks.

(On volunteer coach Laura Armstrong)
We’re excited to have Laura back. She’s someone who’s been through the program and did an excellent job from her freshman to her senior year. She worked hard and is a good example of how strong a player can be if they really dedicate themselves. Now she has an invite to the new professional league and that says a lot to where she’s put herself after four years of college. I think she has a great shot and if she doesn’t make it she has goals of playing overseas. She’s got a great work ethic and tools that helped her succeed at this level and I’m glad she’s here to be a role model for the players returning and the newcomers.

(On preseason injuries)
Unfortunately Dani Henry is injured in the preseason and that takes her out of the whole equation for the year. The good thing is the couple that are injured are working their way back in. We hope to continue that path and see some of them on the field this year.

(On the three team captains)
They compliment each other very well. They get along and work together as a team of captains. We have different classes represented and they have different personalities. They bring different things to the playing field. What they have to offer as a group makes me think they’ll be one of the strongest groups of captains we’ve had.

Kayla Grimsley – Fr. – Midfielder

Overall it went really well. It was a lot more intense than I’m used to. Even being on a top club in the nation is no comparison to this at all. They don’t expect anything less than 110 percent. It’s expected of you. They didn’t push us too much because it’s the first day but we’re coming together really well as players.

(On training in the heat, rain and turf)
It’s hard on your body. I’m from Florida and the heat is nothing like it. It’s dry and it’s hot. Then going into the rain, nobody likes to play in the rain. The raindrops were huge. Then coming into (the “bubble”) from being wet in the grass to the turf is hard on your body and you have to know how to make that transition.

Blakely Mattern – Jr. – Defender

It was good to finally have everyone out there training together. A lot of us have been here all summer but we’ve never been in the environment with the coaches. We have the fitness test behind us and now we’re able to play more and get to know each other.

We know that we’re going to be a young team this year so it’s really important that our freshmen step up and not play as freshmen. It was good to play with them because they’re going to be an integral part of our team and an important part of our season. It was weird a little bit because it’s kind of like a brand new team with so many freshmen, but we’ve bonded over the summer so it’s not like we haven’t seen them before today.

This morning was brutal. It felt like 100 degrees. Then it poured down rain tonight so that was fun. It was definitely two extremes.