Volleyball media availability quotes (12/9)
Dec. 9, 2008
Head coach Jerritt Elliott
On playing at home: The big advantage of being at home is the routine. The disadvantage is there’s a lot more distractions and we’re trying to monitor that. I would expect our team to show up and play pretty well at home, and that’s what our goal is.
On pacing the preparation this week: We are already preparing for UCLA. We have the film and we’re breaking it down. We’ll start showing the team film Tuesday afternoon. We met for two hours this morning with the academic staff on final exams and getting them as organized as possible. They’re going to get an itinerary for the week to eliminate distractions and get the routine set up so we can be prepared for UCLA.
On the team’s tournament performance: I felt that Saturday night was one of our best performances of the year in regards to the serve-passing game. We were efficient with attacking and our ball control was very good. We were able to put a lot of pressure on a very good Wichita State team.
On the experience from last season and the focus now: The way our girls have prepared up to this point shows me they have learned a lot. They are focused on one match at a time and not looking ahead. They know UCLA is a very good, high-caliber team that has the potential to be a Final Four team as well.
On Ashley Engle’s role: She has really developed and she has become our do-all type player. She passes, takes over on our offensive load and keeps teams off balance. There are just so many different things she can do to hurt you. She is a big cornerstone for this program. She’s one of our captains and she’s taken on that role with a lot of pride. She has developed into a very good leader, the players have a lot of respect for her and she’s gaining more confidence, which shows on the court.
On the advantages and disadvantages of playing at home: Getting to play at home is awesome, especially with our fan base and the support we have here at our school for volleyball. It is comforting but at the same time the NCAA rules make it as if it were a neutral court. You just have to go into it having fun. We’re glad we’re on our home court. We can’t take any of those aspects for granted because you never know what’s going to happen in any match. We are just taking it one match at a time and preparing for this Friday.
On if the team is peaking at the right time: I think we‘ve come a long way. You can see it with our play and with the last two matches. We’ve really grown and connected as team. I don’t know if we are peaking or not because you never know how good you can become. It feels right at the right time.
On learning from last season: I think we’ve talked about it enough to where we have set the standards that it’s one match at a time and we know that going into these matches. We can only take the opponent that we have right in front of us. Looking ahead last year was probably one of the mistakes we made. We made it pretty clear to the freshmen and newcomers that we don’t want to do that.
On the team’s performance in the tournament’s first two rounds: Our offense really shined this past weekend. We have five great attackers on our team and you could really see it. From Friday night to Saturday night, we talked about our defense stepping up with blocking and digging the ball. You could see the difference from the Lamar match to the Wichita State match. That was good and it was a growing experience. Most importantly, we wanted to stick to our game plan and that’s what we need to do from here on out.
Junior libero Heather Kisner
On if the team is peaking right now: You can always play better. Right now, we are playing very well. You keep practicing and you keep getting better.
On playing at home: Just the fans make a big difference. Being here, being at home, sleeping in our own beds and having our fans come out helps a lot. Again, we just have to take it one match at a time because you never know what is going to happen.
On Ashley Engle’s role on the team: She’s one of the team captains. She’s pretty much the leader of the team. She makes sure everyone gets going and you expect her to be there every game. If someone is down, she is the one who picks them up. She’s always there, on or off the court. She’s doing a great job, just being there for everyone and playing great.
Junior outside hitter Ashley Engle
On the Pac-10’s playing style: I always say they’re very good defensive teams. It may come from the beaches being right there and there are a lot of beach players, which is where your defense can improve. They have great coaching. California has always been that powerhouse for volleyball from the club, high school and college level.
On the team peaking and their focus: We’re right there. If we haven’t met it yet, hopefully it’s coming real soon. We’ve been working so hard. Right now, all of our focus is on Friday. We don’t have games in the middle of the week now so we just have to push through and use this time to keep improving.
On what the tournament means to her: It’s such an exciting time and there’s so much riding on it. But I’ve learned that all of that doesn’t really matter. It’s just about playing volleyball and still having fun. Our team has great chemistry and you just want to win for each other.
On preparing for this weekend: Every team is different. UCLA is going to be an awesome defensive team. It’s about being patient, not getting frustrated and staying as consistent as possible. Also, our defense is always something we can improve on.