Volleyball talks about progress during preseason camp
Aug. 17, 2012
Texas Volleyball head coach Jerritt Elliott and several players met with the local media to talk about the team's progress and expectations for the start of the 2012 regular season in one week.
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott
On the preseason ranking and team: We have got a talented group. They have been a lot of fun to coach and we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores that will be seeing a lot of significant playing time. We will see how they respond to the pressures that are presented in the level of college volleyball. We are excited to showcase that starting here next Friday night. We know it is a long season and have to keep teaching this group. We have the potential to be pretty special if we work hard and focus on the areas that need it.
On if has gotten to the point that anything less than a national championship is disappointing: We have gotten to that point. I think that is where every program wants to be at and if not winning a national championship is a disappointment, it means you have good teams. We have a lot of things that go in to that; we have got to stay healthy. We have had a few injuries these past few years and have to get a little lucky sometimes too. We are going to keep contending, keep pushing and be right there. Hopefully, one of these years we will get over the top. I like this group. I like the mesh of ball control and athleticism that we are able to put together with this team. I feel like this team could be very good by the end of the season.
On Bailey Webster being named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year: Bailey is showing signs that she can be the dominant player in the country. She is a physical player like Destinee Hooker was at this level. She has the opportunity to continue her game and is showing that she was a different player than she was a year ago. We knew that when we recruited her that it takes time, but we are seeing some real special things from her. Haley Eckerman is showing those things as well.
On how this team compares to past ones: Our 2009 team was pretty special. We had a good mix of veterans on that team. Personnel-wise, we could be close. We will see what kind of balance is able to present itself. When you compare teams, it is based on the end of the year and this team has a lot to prove and work for to be able to be compared to anybody in the last four years. We will see if they are in that category and only time will tell. I like the pieces that we have; I like their commitment and everything they have shown since over the summer.
Junior outside hitter Bailey Webster
On being 2012 Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year: I really appreciate it. Getting an honor like that means a lot, but I don't really focus on things like that. I have been focusing on two-a-days, the team, and getting better as a team so we can have a good opening season.
On knowing the team is respected enough to get the #2 preseason ranking: Yes, it is nice. Once again, it is an honor but preseason rankings don't mean anything if you think about it. Our number one goal is to win the national championship.
On is the team capable of winning the national championship: Yes definitely. I think any team is, but it is all about how you put the talent, athleticism, and everything else together. Right now, we are on a good road to that.
On such a good program at Texas, is anything less than winning the national championship a bad season: It has basically graduated to that. Some teams' goals are to make the tournament or something along those lines. We have made the Final Four so many times that we are trying to make it again. It is our goal to win a national championship and we are going to trying to get to that goal. It pushes us every day to work harder.
On how people say this is Coach Elliott's best team and how does it compare to the last two you were part of: I think every team is unique in its own way. Every team I have been on since I have been here has been great. First, my freshman year with Destinee Hooker, then my sophomore year with Juliann Faucette and then this year. Every team has been great in its own way. I feel like we have a lot of qualities and talent, but we have to put it all together and play well together. It is going well so far.
Sophomore middle blocker Khat Bell
On if this team going to win the national championship: Hopefully. We are working really hard this year and putting things together.
On high expectations: People bring us up and talk about us all the time. I think that being in the lead and us playing that role of being top four or five all the time helps that. We are supposed to be there for sure again.
On missing the majority of last season: It was really tough. I was devastated when it first happened, but my team was there for me and got me through every day. I was still on the bench, cheering at all the games, and just being part of the team.
On if and how Bailey Webster's injury and coming back last year helped you: It is very inspiring. Bailey has talked to me a lot. She encourages me and tells me that I am going to be fine, every day taking one step at a time. I'm learning to be patient with my timing, get to know the setters and the defense, and take it slowly with everything.
Junior setter Hannah Allison
On not sneaking up on anyone this year with a #2 preseason ranking: No sir. We are just preparing ourselves as if there were no rankings at all and working hard every day.
On this team compared to your last two teams: We have a lot of young players, which has been really fun. The gym is just really different every year with the different personnel and it is just fun to see the cultures of the different teams, their different personalities, and their different strengths that we are going to have.
On this being the most loaded team since you have been here: It is debatable since we have had so many different types of teams. Last year, we had people like Rachael Adams and this year we are more rounded. It is good in a different way.
On expectations of having Khat Bell back: We are just encouraging her to do the best she can. We know she is recovering from a knee injury, so it is not going to be 100 percent all the time. We are really just supporting her as she gets her feet under her. She has been competing every single day and happy to see her back on the court.
Freshman middle blocker Molly McCage
On what it means to not have played a game yet and already picked as the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year: It is an honor. I think that it is a bit of pressure, but I am not that nervous because we have very good freshmen here. I think the talent gap is not that big here. With the new freshmen and having the upperclassmen together, it will put us at ease and make us more comfortable.
On reasons to play at Texas: The atmosphere, the games here at Gregory Gym are incredible along with the family atmosphere and reputation that Texas has. It is always classy and I love it here.
On if not getting a national championship would make it an unsuccessful season: I wouldn't say unsuccessful, but we are striving to get that national championship. That is our goal and I think all of us as a team will put everything we have in order to get that national championship. We know as a team that that is our goal and we are going to get it.
On Saturday's scrimmage: It is exciting. I have been coming to the matches a lot these past couple years so I have been the fan and getting the chance to talk to the girls after the games. To finally be one of those players now is pretty cool.
On expectations you have for the team and the season: I think to win a national championship is our goal. Right now, we have a lot of talent and practices are tough, but we also pull together a lot. I think that one of our goals is to just get the compatibility together and really mesh well.