Post Game Quotes
Dec. 9, 2012
NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott
Congratulations to USC. They had a phenomenal year. They have a great team and a great program. What an amazing night. Our fans were electric. Our team was confident and they played at a very high level tonight. So much goes into coaching and as I told the team in the locker room just now, the wins and losses mean a lot, but more so to be able to see your team enjoy all the hard work that they put into it and being here in the summer and getting to this point of being able to get back to the Final Four for the fourth time in five years. It means so much to me as the head coach of this and I'm so happy for the young ladies we have in the program. Their dedication, their teamwork, their consistency and their overall spirit and how they played tonight and represented the University of Texas. There have been so many people that have helped us get to this point. From our athletic director Chris Plonsky to our event management to our athletic trainer DeAnn who has done a great job keeping this team healthy and ready to compete every night and our strength coach Donnie [Maib] who has kept us in one piece this year after a lot of years that we haven't had that luck. Randa Ryan in academics and I know I am probably forgetting some people. Everyone, my staff has been phenomenal. I am very lucky to have people that support me and are there for us when we need that. Again, I am elated right now and I cannot wait to go back to the locker room to celebrate with my team.
On pinpointing what made the difference tonight:
We were very efficient tonight. People talk about our serve and pass game not being very strong, and tonight it was really strong and it has been very strong. We had some great play from everyone; we had great balance. Our defense I thought was very solid tonight and we had great transition swings. [Junior outside hitter] Bailey [Webster] played really well. [Junior setter] Hannah [Allison] did a great job distributing the offense and our blocking getting touches and our middles getting involved was very important. Most importantly, we were consistent the entire night. Except for the first few points in game two and game three, I think the steadiness of our team was very, very good.
On having unfinished business at the Final Four:
Before I forget, I want to congratulate Bailey. She graduated earlier today and went through the ceremony. It was a big deal for us being able to have that and earning a trip to the Final Four was pretty sweet. We have a goal and there are going to be four teams left here that have that goal. Obviously, you are always judged by trying to win a national championship. We are going to go about the process. We have to be able to play well, but we don't need to play perfect, as I have stated. We have a great team and I like the mentality that we have. We are familiar with playing in the KFC Yum! Center earlier this season. We will go out and give it our best shot and represent this university well.
On the fan support in Gregory Gym:
It's electric. It is one of the greatest college volleyball environments in the country. We are very fortunate to have the people in Austin support us. They have continued to grow and watch how amazing these young women are. It is about getting people in the stands for the first time that have never seen it. A lot of people think it is backyard volleyball until they get here and they are like, `Wow, this is pretty special.' Our fans had a big part in that. I hopefully want them to enjoy that tonight and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart, so does the athletic program. I know our players really appreciate having them behind them and representing us.
Junior outside hitter Bailey Webster
On how it feels to go back to the Final Four:
It feels really good. I am very excited about it. It's a great feeling especially with a win like this. Our team played really well. We were a cohesive group and it was just fun to watch. Even if I was on the sidelines, I was just amazed. It was just amazing to watch.
Junior setter Hannah Allison
On if balance is the key to this team:
Yes, our passers did an amazing job tonight. It seemed like we were in system almost every play. I give a lot of credit to them. When our defense functions that well and our passers function that well, it makes my job so much easier. We have so many more options and people have a hard time trying to pick who to block on our team.
Sophomore middle blocker Khat Bell
On having an attitude in the third set:
I think so for sure. Tonight was a lot different from other matches. I was a lot calmer than usual. Bailey kept me so composed, because I was kind of in my own head. Usually I yell and scream, but I was able to just relax and be like everyone else and fit in. I let everyone else yell and scream. The attitude was on.
USC Head coach Mick Haley
I'd like to say how proud I am of my team. I thought we were going to have to rebuild this team this year, but we were actually able to reload. We gave our very best effort tonight. I think you really have to pat the home team on the shoulder from the serving to the defense, which hasn't always been their greatest trait. Their two offensive weapons were very good. We've done well against that all year, so I think you really have to give Texas a high mark here, and if they continue to play like this, I think they have a chance to win. We were pleased to be able to play to a crowd like this for two nights. We had to go to Hawaii last year and play in front of 9,000 each night and that was really fun - much more fun because we won - but still fun tonight. We didn't win tonight, but I think we enjoyed the opportunity to play in this environment and I hope that we will absolutely get better because we had that opportunity. We're going to use every bit of this to help us get better. Since we're hosting the regional next year, I'm sure they'll send Texas to Los Angeles, so I'm sure we'll see them again.
On not having an answer against Texas:
In the first set, we didn't have an answer because they did to us what we normally do to most of the people the last 16 or 17 matches to the opponent, which is driving them off and backing them up with our service. A really important thing to say about Texas is that their serve-receive was exceptionally good tonight and when they weren't good, they were good at hitting out of system. In other words the high set and off the net, and they were still able to get their kills. I'm still not quite sure why we had so much trouble defending. I'll have to watch it on the video, but it's something we need to practice, because the style they played we haven't been able to practice against so we will probably need to do that now. When I coached the Olympic team the Russians played like this and as a coach I know how to play against it, but as a player it's a little bit harder. I thought our kids battled really well. We didn't have an answer when we couldn't run the middle. In the third set, we couldn't run the middle as well as we wanted to set up our outsides and we weren't as patient as we needed to be. You've got all those people yelling and you're down 2-0, but I think it's something we can grow from.
On the difference between Texas against Florida and Texas tonight:
They flipped the middle for the third game last night against Florida and they came back with that tonight. That helped [Khat] Bell get out of the middle and get to the outside, but they put Molly [McCage] next to the setter and that was something different. They had a definite mismatch with [Haley] Eckerman over our setter, but we probably could have accommodated that. [Bailey] Webster hurt us the most and I really felt we had our best block on Webster so we lost both ways. We didn't stop Webster or slow her down and Eckerman still got 10 kills. That should not have in itself have hurt, but the fact that we gave them 18 kills, and they're averaging about 14 kills, so they not only got those four points, but they hurt us with the serve. If you take the errors that we made and the good plays they made, they made a serious increase in their production over the last three of four weeks. Their numbers tonight are significantly better than the last few games, so their coaching staff has to be very pleased with the improvement over the last three weeks in performance.
Senior Opposite Katie Fuller
On defending Texas' outside hitters:
Hitting against the left side blockers is always a challenge, but they're big and that's pretty much the only difference between them and the other outside hitters I've faced.
On Texas compared to other teams they've faced:
I think they're tied with the best teams we've played this season. They are definitely hot at the right moment.