Santa Clara Pre-Game Press Conference Quotes
Dec. 14, 2005
Head Coach Jon Wallace
On being one of the teams in the final four:
"We are very happy to be here. For two reasons, first, it's obviously a great event and great for the players. Secondly, we want to compete again. We feel have played well and we are doing all the things we need to do. We feel confident and we just want to go play. We want to get out tomorrow night, today. We are happy that we are finally here and get to play another match tomorrow night. I will say that the three players up here have had an amazing tournament so far. Without Caroline Walters, last weekend digging the ball that she did and the Cassie and Kim playing the way that they played, we wouldn't be here. Some amazing athletes up here that have gone way beyond maybe my expectations as being great athletes, ball players to bring the team together to get here."
On the challenges the team faced in mid-November after losing three straight matches:
"My athletic director told me after beating Stanford, you have to be happy for Whitney. What do you mean for Whitney? When we went to San Diego, that was the same day that my daughter, Whitney was born. So, I missed that trip, so ever since that trip, we lost three matches so we blamed my daughter Whitney on the losses. So, after we won the Stanford match, the athletic director said, coach you finally got the monkey off your back.
Eight months ago we set our sights on winning the conference. It's really hard these days to depict what you want to do in the NCAA tournament based on your draw especially in our west coast region when there are so many strong teams you can't say, `I want to be in the elite eight'. You can get up to the national champion in the second round, so we just wanted to win our conference. And these girls put everything into winning the conference. They stayed and worked in the summer time, they put in the extra hours, they are dedicated and they did every necessary. We clinched the conference too early. Lost our focus and started not to play great volleyball. So the best thing that happened to us before the tournament was that we had two weeks off prior to the tournament and our last regular season match. So we went back to doing what we did in double-days, we went back to re-focus as a group, we went back to make them confident and strong and what we have been doing all year. We sat in a room and said what do you want to do? They said, Final Four or nothing. That was our goal. Set your goal and get out there and do it. Since that day, coaching has been easy. I walk into the gym they are ready to go, I call a time-out and they know what to do."
On playing Nebraska in '02 and '03 and did you ever expect to play them in a Final Four:
"Back in '02, either at the beginning or after that season, we visited some schools like Nebraska we realized this was volleyball, this is what it is all about, big time is awesome. Playing in front of big crowds and great competition, this is what we want to be a part of. This is what I want to make Santa Clara. That year, we wrote a three year plan. And in the third year of the plan, it was to be in the final four. It came true, amazingly it came true. A lot of luck in there, a lot of hard work but by going there it is such a great thing playing. The fans are fantastic on both sides, that is what we want our program to be. That is where I want my program to be and that is where the girls at Santa Clara want to go. We got to go where we wanted to go, that's the next level and now we are because of their hard work and dedication. And the experiences of playing at Nebraska and we went to Hawai'i as well.
On being the Cinderella team this year:
"Love it. We are unranked and to my knowledge, the only unranked team to reach it to the NCAA semifinals. I we are a small school and yeah, sure we will wear that slipper. The thing is we are happy to be here, but we are not done. We are really excited about playing tomorrow night."
On comparing the style of play from Nebraska compared to the Pac-10:
"I think that with Stanford injuries, they became a two player team with Kristin Richards and Foluke Akinradewo and Arizona with Kim Glass and Jennifer Abernathy, they are really great players and great all-Americans. I think with Nebraska, you are going to get four kids on the court at once. They are a lot more balanced. Nebraska will have four of the great players on the court at one time so it will be really tough to pick our battles and guess to try to find out where they put the ball. The key is to get them to feel the pressure and more predictable."
Kim McGiven, Outside Hitter
On team's intensity in the regional final against Arizona and how it will be carried to the next match:
"The match was a lot of fun for us. Our team throughout the tournament and the entire season has had the ability to battle. I think we are great when we face adversity. We are great when we get into game five; we are great when we get down we know how to fight back. I think that is a lot of what playing against great athletes like Kim Glass, and playing great teams like Stanford and University of Arizona it has helped prepare us for this."
Caroline Walters, Libero
On the outlook of playing Nebraska:
"We have always been looked at as the underdog in the past few games and have got past that expectation. We heard people saying that Stanford would win 3-0 and provide them wrong. We are just so excited to be here and hope to prove everyone wrong again against Nebraska.
Cassie Perret, Opposite Hitter
On the outlook of playing Nebraska:
"When we play, we have to play Bronco volleyball. Each opponent is excellent in the NCAAs and when we go out there we just have to look at them as another opponent because it is about playing our volleyball and playing our style and winning. Its not about being intimidated."
On turning point that turned the unexpected into the expected:
"I think it started from the beginning. We set the goal last year to win, and we focused throughout the entire summer, and the pre-season. I think our level of play was just awesome throughout the season. Yeah, we maybe had a few bumps in November. The entire season was a good indication of how far we could go and expect from the team."