Dec. 14, 2005
Quotes From Today's Press Conference
San Antonio, Texas - The Santa Clara women's volleyball came to San Antonio for the chance to play for a national championship. However, their time in The Alamo City has not been limited to just all work and no play.
Upon arriving at the San Antonio International Airport last night at approximately 6 p.m. Central Standard Time, the team immediately was whisked away to the Hyatt Regency San Antonio, located just minutes from the world famous San Antonio RiverWalk. A South Texan treasure for many years, the RiverWalk is a network of walkways spanning two miles that surrounds the San Antonio River linking several world-class restaurants and attractions right under the downtown section of the city. After refreshing at the hotel for an hour, the team walked a few blocks down the RiverWalk to Paesanos, an Italian restaurant featuring the hometown favorite Shrimp Paesano among the numerous of delectable choices on its menu. After dinner was completed, the Broncos walked around the RiverWalk and many enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
"The RiverWalk was fun to walk around and at nighttime, it is so beautiful with all the lights on the trees," commented junior Kim McGiven. "The atmosphere and ambience was just great."
Despite being hundreds of miles away from home, Santa Clara discovered that it did not travel without a fan base. McGiven and a few of her teammates were eating breakfast down in the hotel restaurant this morning when they were approached and discovered they had some built-in fans already in Texas.
"The chef of the restaurant came out once he found out who we were," described McGiven. "He told us that he had bought tickets to the national semi-finals a year ago and now that Texas was out, he was going to root for us. It was pretty cool."
Following breakfast, the entire team piled into assistant coach Will Yuen's room to watch some videotape of Nebraska, Santa Clara's opponent on Thursday night. For an hour, the coach staff filled in the squad on the Cornhuskers best players, their tendencies, and what the Broncos will be expecting out on the court when the two teams face off.
After, about half the team left for the Alamodome, as they had to fulfill their media commitments. Anna Cmaylo, Brittany Lowe, Kristen Luxton, Crystal Matich Kim McGiven, Annalisa Muratore, Cassie Perret, and Caroline Walters met with producers from ESPN and did introductions in front of the camera. All the players had to announce their name, their position and a fun fact about themselves. Matich, McGiven, and Perret were further interviewed by ESPN and fans at home will get to know them a bit better come Thursday night. For example, Perret enjoys cooking and makes "one mean chicken piccatta."
"The stuff we did with ESPN was really fun. Just talking in front of the came and what not," stated Perret. "They just wanted us to have fun with it and be really silly and goofy."
The rest of the Broncos joined their teammates about an hour before practice in the team locker room. Everyone was impressed and touched at the decorations, courtesy of a local San Antonio high school volleyball team, as the lockers and ceiling were covered in red and white balloons and streamers. Head coach Jon Wallace, McGiven, Perret and Walters were then marched off to a mandatory press conference, attended by local and national media.
Once all the of the media obligations were completed, the team finally got an opportunity to practice out in the Alamodome. The orange and blue Sport Court was a sight to see and Perret noted that the arena was probably one of the most impressive ones she had ever played volleyball in. After an hour-and-a-half of hitting, digging, and setting, Santa Clara returned to the hotel in preparation for the annual banquet dinner, hosted by the University of Texas Institute of Cultures. Among the highlights of that dinner will include a team picture in front of a live steer.
"I'm so looking forward to that," exclaimed McGiven. "The banquet is going to be so much fun. We're all going to dress up and I can't wait to get my picture taken in front of the steer!"
Overall, the experience of being in the national championship semi-finals has been wonderful for the entire team and it is something that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
"Yes getting the chance to play Nebraska and competing for a national championship is really exciting, but at the same time, being in San Antonio and the whole championship atmosphere is something I know we will remember for a long time," said McGiven. "Everyone has been so nice and it's just a wonderful feeling to be here."