2010 NCAA Volleyball Championship Austin Regional press conference quotes: Texas
Dec. 9, 2010
Head coach Jerritt Elliott
On watching the Illinois match from earlier in the year: We didn't play well. Our systems have changed. We've watched it as a staff just to see what they've done offensively and defensively against us, but they're not going to learn a whole lot from that match. The majority of that match we had a lot of errors. They played exceptionally well and put a lot of pressure on us. We've changed some of our formations and our lineups. It's a different team than we were in September.
On if he has any concerns going into the match with Illinois: No, I feel good. We've built confidence over the year. We've got great trust. It's been so much fun to coach this team. It's been a really enjoyable ride. I'd like nothing more than have the opportunity to advance and let these two seniors keep on playing. We're going to have to be good in the crunch. There's going to be some deuce games and teams are going to have to perform when those games are on the line. I feel good. Our team has been performing really well in those situations. Any time we've been pushed in this run we've been able to push back. Illinois is going to push us around a little bit. We're going to have to be able to respond and play at a high level.
On how Illinois has responded since the injury to Laura DeBruler: They're very similar to what they were. DeBruler was a special player for them and a senior and had great leadership. They continue to play at a high level. When you're at a great program like Illinois and well-coached like Kevin [Hambly] has done they usually don't miss a beat. They're capable. They've got pieces. They've got two middles that are arguably the two best middles in the country. They've got a fantastic opposite [hitter] and Colleen Ward who is a great left side hitter. Any time you have a senior setter who has been around the block, it's an advantage for that team. They'll be ready. They're confident. They come from a good conference. We've all played in big time matches. It's going to be enjoyable to watch. It's going to be enjoyable to coach. I'm sure there's going to be some chess matches going on. We're just happy to be at home.
On the team feeling pressure: When you come to Texas there's always pressure. You learn that every single day that you practice, every day that you play a match, everybody's coming and bringing their best game. We've been to the last two final fours. There's been pressure in every one of those matches to advance. Every team here has pressure. They want to advance. It's how you view it. I think this group has prepared. When you're at Texas you learn to face pressure and adversity with pride and opportunity. It's an opportunity for us to get back to the Elite Eight for the fifth-straight time. They've created a culture here. It's why we're here. It's fun. It's the NCAA Tournament. It's about opportunities. It's about teams making big runs. No one's really expecting us to make that run. We've got the advantage of being at home. There's pressure. But there's pressure on Florida and Purdue and Illinois as well. Our group is used to that. It's part of the culture that we train and the expectations of being part of a program like The University of Texas. We're all here because we love that pressure and we love being in those opportunities.
Senior outside hitter Juliann Faucette
On the amount of strong teams in the bracket: I think all of these teams are great. All of us are great. It's going to be a really fun time for our fans to be able to see such great caliber volleyball. Florida is ranked No. 1, Illinois 8, we're 9, Purdue 16. You can't ask for much better volleyball in one region. We're really excited, but we're only focused on Illinois right now. We don't know what the outcome is. It can go either way. That's why it's such a cool regional for us.
On not looking forward to a potential match with Florida: I think because we're playing such a high caliber team first you can't look ahead. We can't afford that. We have to focus on the match at hand. Obviously if we don't win that one we won't make it to that right. We have to focus on Illinois and what they bring to the table.
On if the team feels pressure: I don't think our team feels a lot of pressure right now. We've been through a lot. We've had a lot of adversity and ups and downs throughout the season. We've grown up a lot. We take it for what it is. It's more exciting than pressure. I think it can go either way with all of these teams that rankings don't really matter. The pressure is off. We just want to play and have fun. Especially as two seniors up here, it's our last go around. We're going to give it our all.
On what the team learned last weekend: I think we learned a lot last weekend, especially in the UCLA match just about blocking and defense and how that's going to be the changing factor for games. If we're disciplined on our block and we're giving good touches or slowing down the ball for our defense in the back, then we can transition hard and we can make plays. I think that's what this tournament is going to be about from here on out. Who is the team that can defend well and make plays, because we're all pretty good powerhouses from here on out. We have great offensive teams, especially in our bracket. It's going to be about the defense. That's something we picked up last week and we're going to definitely carry it into this week. We still are looking to improve.
On if the match with Illinois is about the Big 12 vs. Big Ten: No. We're the only Big 12 team in this region. You have the SEC too. I think it's a combination of three really good conferences and really good volleyball. That's what the crowd and volleyball fans are looking for, not really conferences against each other.
Senior middle blocker Jennifer Doris
On the amount of strong teams in the bracket: All four teams, we all come from pretty high quality conferences. We all have some pretty talented players. We're excited to focus on our team and our game. We don't know what's going to happen in the other match. Normally we can catch a game of it. We're excited to see the other teams play. When it's our chance to take the floor, we're excited about that match as well.
On if the team feels pressure: I don't feel like there's pressure right now. We've done all year. We've taken care of ourselves and the team ahead of us. It's proved all year that rankings don't really matter. It's just a number. It just depends on what team shows up to play on any given night. Any team is capable of taking it. We're focused on Illinois. They're a great team. It's going to be a great match.
On the comfort of playing at Gregory Gym: Gregory is arguably one of the best venues in the country to play in. We have such a huge crowd turnout no matter which game we play. They influence us so much in the fact that they cheer for us all the time. When it gets to the crunch time or when we start going down a few points it gets even louder. Just the fact that we have so many people behind us means a lot. I think it definitely motivates us and helps us. It's a huge advantage.
On other players on the team who has stepped up: I think everyone on our team has stepped up. Here at Texas, you never know when your number is going to be called. You have to be ready to step up and play. Rachael Adams is playing exceptionally right now, one of the best middles in the country. Amber [Roberson] being able to go out there and take some swings on the left with [Lauren Dickson] and Juliann [Faucette]. It's just been so much fun to play with all of these girls. Everyone steps up. Even when someone on the team is having an off night, there's always someone there to pick us up and carry us. I think we've done a great job of that all year long. I'm excited to see how that continues.