Volleyball media availability quotes (Nov. 17)
Nov. 17, 2008
Head coach Jerritt Elliott
On the enormity of the match: It has really developed into a great rivalry. We've got a lot of respect for Nebraska; we've been trying to climb that ladder and take that spot that they have held for so long. It's a big time game in a big environment. We look forward to it, and we feel we need to be tested like this, getting ready for the NCAA tournament.
On Texas' loss to Oklahoma earlier this season: It was shocking, but the Big 12 is tough and to get through it undefeated is difficult. Not only is it physically demanding, but it is mentally demanding.
On Sydney Yogi: She is a little different, but a big part of this team. She is a spark plug. She really fell in love with this place the first time she visited, and it really means a lot that we have her here. She is very energetic, very loud, laughs a lot, true to her Hawaiian culture and she is just very happy 24/7.
On where the team is right now: We've done some really good things recently. We have been practicing really well, we are continuing to grow and we've been really good in the crunch time as of late. That shows a lot about the character of this team.
On the importance of a win over Nebraska: This match will not only determine the Big 12 Championship, but it will also determine if we are a No. 1 seed going into the NCAA tournament.
Junior All-America opposite hitter Ashley Engle
On what the match against Nebraska means: I think it means a lot. If we were to win, it would mean we'd be tied for first place in the Big 12, which would give us the opportunity to share the Big 12 title. Texas has never won back-to-back Big 12 Championships, so it's a big deal. It's Nebraska. It's a rival and it's a great game.
On duplicating the success Texas had against Nebraska in Austin last year: It's something that we can keep in the back of our minds, but can't count on. We need to be prepared, because obviously, they're a great team and they're going to put up a big fight. We need to take care of our side of the net.
On the memories of last year's victory over Nebraska: I remember that it was our preparation. It was the practices that went into the match, it was the feeling that we had, not even in the gym, but outside going to class and talking to our teammates before the match. There was just so much energy, passion and drive to succeed that really showed when we came together that night.
On whether the team is satisfied with how they're playing right now: I do like where we're at. I think we've had a lot of struggles throughout the season and I think that's making us stronger. We just need to continue to get better, especially in practice. I think that gives us the confidence that we need to succeed.
On whether the match against Nebraska is a "make-or-break" game: I think there is a lot that goes into every match. This one is between high-seeded teams, this is more of a Final Four-type of match. There is a lot that goes into it and I think in a way, those can become distractions. If you focus on those, then it can kind of take away from your team. We just need to come together and focus on getting better.
Sophomore All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette
On whether the match against Nebraska is a "make-or-break" game: I think any match with a ranked team is a huge deal for the NCAA tournament and for seeding. That's really the main goal for this team is to go that far in the NCAA tournament, so this match is one step towards that. We really want to win it.
On duplicating the success Texas had against Nebraska in Austin last year: We're a different team than last year, they're a different team than last year. They're a really good team, ranked third in the nation and we're fourth. I think that it can go either way and both teams have to show up to play if we want to make the outcome that we want.
On the memories of last year's victory over Nebraska: Just the fact that it was a team effort. I think that's what really stuck with me and how glorious that win was, because everyone participated, including the bench. We were all excited for each other and I think that's going to be the key for this year also, playing as a team and letting every single one of our talents come out at once.
On whether the team is satisfied with how they're playing right now: Definitely. I think we're making great strides every single day we show up in the practice gym. Our goal is to improve and I think we've proven that, especially after the OU loss. It was a tough loss but it was a blessing in disguise for us. Now we're just taking it with a grain of salt and working every day, getting better both offensively and defensively.
This year's match against Nebraska: This year is so much different than last year. Last year we didn't' know until around this time that we were going to be a good team, and this I think we've established ourselves pretty well. This time around with Nebraska, it is a mental game. We have to be prepared for anything. The way we see it, we are taking it one match at a time, this week it's a match against Nebraska. It's a really awesome thing to have them at home. The crowd is going to be huge and we are really excited.
On their previous match-up: I remember not being able to stop their right side hitter. They had a great match. I think that when teams can just defend our big attackers that really is a struggle for us. Since that game we have geared our practices towards that sort of game play, we have to block balls and dig balls, but sticking with it is the key.
Freshman setter Michelle Kocher
On whether the team is satisfied with how they're playing right now: I feel good. We definitely have had our moments and it's been a struggle, an up-and-down season. But I think that's made us better in the end. We're looking forward to each match one at a time.
Junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker
On whether the match against Nebraska is a "make-or-break" game: Of course we want to win this game. That's our main goal right now is to win. But I feel that we're learning from this experience also. I guess we have to build momentum from this game to carry on into the tournament.
On the importance of beating Nebraska two years in a row: I feel that this game is going to be a battle and will probably go to five games. Last year, when it went three games, it wasn't just Nebraska that was shocked, we were saying, wow, we did it. I just feel that Texas has a lot to prove. We beat them last year, we have to come out and step it up even more this year.
Senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini
On whether she gets tired of playing a tough team like Nebraska twice a year: I love playing Nebraska, it's so fun. It's just exciting to play a team that is so competitive.
On whether the program at Texas is becoming as storied as the one at Nebraska: I think in the last couple of years, the Big 12 conference has taken a huge jump forward. Not only is it Nebraska or Texas, but Kansas State, who we just played last weekend, has gotten a lot better. Iowa State - there are a bunch of teams that are really stepping up. So I think it's made the whole conference really exciting every game.