April 18, 2009

Karissa Henage: Q and A Interview

Photo Credit: Idaho State Photographic Services/Julie Hillebrant

Karissa Henage lead Idaho State's backline throughout the 2008 campaign. At the end of the season, the sophomore defender was named to the 2008 Big Sky All-Conference First Team. This spring, along with her teammates, she has been preparing for the Benagals' fall schedule. The junior-to-be kindly spoke with Women's Soccer Weekly earlier this week.

Q. Last season, how did you and the rest of the backline cope with the constant change at keeper?

A. Our role as a defense is obviously to stop the other team’s offense. Of course there are times when things break down and therefore the role of the keeper becomes critical. There needs to be trust built up between the back line (and the whole team for that matter) and the keeper. Trust often comes with time and performance. It is hard to maintain trust and the overall flow and rhythm of the game when faced with changes. However, when we focused on our job as the defense, it made it easier to accept whoever was behind us. The constant change of keepers is definitely bearing on the moral of the defense, but we always gave it our best and that is all we could do.

Q. As the team looks to the fall schedule, were you satisfied with the results this spring?

A. Our main focus this spring was to rebuild a foundation. This was critical as well as difficult coming from the many disappointments of last fall. Spring is a time to regroup and make goals for the fall. Of course we could have had better spring game results, but I think the results we see in practice are more important than games results for spring. We are defining who we are in practice through our mentality and work ethic, and I think fall brings much opportunity to show our hard work. And I’m excited to show who we really are as a team!

Q. How competitive is the Big Sky Conference?

A. Any Division I soccer conference is going to be competitive. Obviously we aren’t in a conference that is as highly recognized as some others, but it is still the game of soccer at a Division I level. As soccer is becoming more popular as a women’s sport and as the education of college level coaches and players is increasing, the competitiveness of the game has also advanced. I believe that the Big Sky Conference is much more competitive than it was when Idaho State started their soccer program about 10 years ago. And I think it will be more competitive next season than it was last season.

Q. What was the toughest team to defend against?

A. I personally thought BYU was hard to defend. There was definitely an intimidation factor, and knowing a lot of the girls on the team contributed to that. They are skilled at moving the ball, and they have big, physical, and fast forwards. We had to go into that game physically and mentally tough in order to give our defensive best.

Q. How did you react when you learned that your were named to the First-Team All-Conference?

A. I was surprised because I’m only a sophomore! It made me very excited, and it gave me even more determination to work harder and do my best so that I could continue to make a difference on my team.

Q. What are your team and personal goals for the fall?

Our team goal for the fall is to build the program from the good foundation we set up in the spring. We want to show up and do well in conference games. We want to be Big Sky Conference champions! The year right before I came in ISU was the Big Sky champions, and I want to be a part of that as well. I will continue to work hard so that I can come back in the fall very physically, mentally, and tactically fit so that I can help my team reach those goals.


Anonymous said...

Best of luck to Karissa and her Bengals teammates in '09.

Anonymous said...

Great to see some Big Sky exposure. I went to Sac State myself, in the late 90's, a few coaches ago for both schools. Goode luck to Karissa and the gang. I miss the Big Sky

Nacional Tijuana

SoccerJay said...

Like the feature and the website.

The Big Sky is gaining more national exposure certainly.