2010 NCAA Volleyball Championship Austin Regional press conference quotes: Illinois
Dec. 9, 2010
Head coach Kevin Hambly
On how Texas has changed since earlier this season: I think they have changed their personnel a lot. They have gone back and forth at their setting position. In the match we played here, they changed liberos. They have just solidified their systems with their passing. They are just playing better. They had a lot of young kids out there that are figuring it out. They are playing at a higher level.
On the strength of the Big Ten this year: In the last seven years that I have been here, it's certainly the deepest. I haven't really discussed that with many coaches and we will talk about it later on but I think this is the most teams that we have ever had in (the NCAA Tournament). There were certainly no breaks in the Big Ten this season.
On losing Laura DeBruler to injury this season: You know here's a senior that is just past the halfway point in her senior season, and she has an ACL tear on a kind of random play. It didn't look like much when it happened but it ended up being career-ending, at least here at Illinois. She was certainly one of the most loved players to come through Champaign. It was all about the fact that Laura's career was over in that way and it was out of her control. As far as the team, we had capable people still and we knew that we were going to be able to move forward. It was going to take some time to figure it out but we knew we were going to be fine as a team. Emotionally, it was a devastating blow because of the heartbreak for Laura. I think the team has recovered well from it. It took Laura a while. I think she emotionally removed herself from the team for about four to six weeks. Finally she started to come back and show some leadership. We needed that the last couple weeks to figure some things out.
On coaching against Jerritt Elliott: I think Jerritt is one of the premier coaches in the country. He's done an incredible job. He does it the right way. He recruits great players, takes good care of them, he provides a great experience for them and his kids do great at school. He's embraced what Texas is which is that it's a great academic institution. I would like to have his success.
Illinois junior outside hitter Colleen Ward
On her decision to transfer from Florida
Senior setter Hillary Haen
On playing against Texas' size and strength: We definitely need to win the serving battle. They are a really big, physical team and they have great middle hitters that are very hard to stop. So, putting as much pressure as we can from the end line is going to be really important.
On their success against ranked teams: I think as far as confidence goes, we know that as a team we can beat everyone that we go up against. As far as the program, it has gotten us a lot of fans at our games and support in the community. I think it just makes us more excited to get to this part in the tournament. Two years ago was our first time in the sweet 16 and then we played in it again last year. I think we just feel a lot of support from our entire program that we definitely have a good shot. We are looking forward to a good battle.