Volleyball quotes from Monday's practice
Dec. 10, 2012
Head Coach Jerritt Elliott
On whether it was beneficial to travel to Louisville earlier this season: Very beneficial. We are now going back to some comfortable surroundings. That's one of the reasons that we scheduled that match. It's a big arena. It's a little bit different. It's one of the reasons that we're practicing in here. The depth perception will be different. We got more comfortable as that match went on. We're excited for the opportunity.
On whether his team is peaking right now: I feel like we're playing well. I feel like we did some really good things (in the regional finals). We know that it's going to be a battle. It's not going to be something where we can walk through. We need to be prepared for teams playing even better defense than we saw this past weekend. We've got to be able to play at a continually high rate.
On the crowd at Gregory Gym for Saturday's regional final against USC: The Gregory environment was phenomenal. We have our Longhorn fans and they came and sold that place out. I've heard from a lot of people that that was the most enjoyable match that they've been to because of the level of volleyball, and also how much fun Gregory was.
Sophomore OH Haley Eckerman
On why she thinks her team has been so dominant: I think we're doing a great job of just siding out right away and even letting teams get their points because we know they're going to get some. Siding out, playing our game and staying calm (will be important). (So will) not going on a rollercoaster up and down.
On what she is looking forward to about the Final Four: All the things that we're going to get to experience. I've never been to a Final Four. Getting to experience playing in the Yum! Center again and in front of a bunch of people and getting to do the media and all those things. It will just be a fun experience for all of us.
On whether she knows what her team's schedule will look like in Louisville: No. we're playing it by ear and waiting for them to send us our itinerary to get us started.
On whether she thinks practice will be more tactical or physical this week: I think it's going to be a mixture of both--making sure we're rested up and doing practice before we leave, that way we can get in there and get adjusted. I think it is going to be a push though, because we know it's time to go. This is it. This is our time.
On whether her team is over-excited: I don't think were getting too excited because we know we have to focus, but I think it's started to set in yesterday. Waking up, I thought, "Oh, my gosh, we're in the Final Four." This is where we wanted to be and this is our goal. It feels great.
On the atmosphere of Gregory Gym during the regional final Saturday: I think it was amazing. It helped us push through all the points. It was great to have all of our fans supporting us and to be able to help us out with that win.
Junior libero Sarah Palmer
On whether her team, as a whole, is peaking right now: I think so. Even reading some of (USC head coach) Mick Haley's quotes from the game, this is the best he's seen us play from all film that he's had. We are getting better with every little spot of our playing. I think this is a good time for us to be peaking.
On Bailey Webster's outstanding post-season play: The outsides are going a great job killing the ball and moving the ball around. Also, Hannah Allison has been able to distribute to the middle and to Sha'Dare McNeal. It keeps the other team on their toes. We're able to be successful on the offense on the left side, right side and middle, which is really good for us.
On her previous Final Four experience in 2010: I went to the Final Four my freshman year. That was very exciting, too, but I feel like this year is an even greater experience knowing what it was like and what we're trying to do this second time around for me.
On what she has to offer from her first Final Four experience: I think it's just keeping everybody level. I know it's a very exciting moment. Everyone is going to be overly excited and taking everything in, being in such awe of the arena and the whole experience. I'll just be reminding them that we're here to play a game--one at a time. We want to play two games and not worry about the atmosphere, the fans or all the hype of the Final Four.
On whether it will help that her team played in Louisville earlier this season: It was a great experience. Playing in such a big arena is so different than playing in Gregory Gym. I think us practicing in the Erwin Center, too, will help us with the depth perception. We were able to get that feel in Louisville on that court--I think it's almost the exact same flooring. (Head Coach) Jerritt (Elliott) wanted us to feel comfortable in that arena. I think being able to play in there a couple of months ago will really help us in this up-coming week.
On whether she thinks her team can bring home a National Championship: I think so. I couldn't sleep this whole weekend thinking about the win we had and the upcoming games we have. We're so determined this year. I feel like we have every little piece of the puzzle. Michigan is going to be a tough team, but we're going to try to keep our composure and play really well and at a high level to get that win that we want.
On potentially facing Penn State in the Finals, a team that swept the Horns in their earlier meeting this season: That first meeting was not fun. We lost 3-0, so we obviously don't want that same outcome. We know their tendencies, we've played them before, and we were just not in our game that day. We're such a different team than we were before. I think it will just be a different game and a different atmosphere. We're not at Penn State. If we were to play them--we have our Michigan game to focus on first--it would just be such a different feel for our team and for their team.
On whether practice this week will be more tactical or physical: I think in the beginning of this week, we'll just work on the little things that the coaching staff saw in the games that we need to work on. As we get closer to the game, we'll work on scouting reports and getting everything together--working on the bigger things and knowing what to be prepared for in our game on Thursday.
On the biggest differences between the Sweet 16 and the Final Four: I think it's all in the name: Final Four. There are only four teams left to try to get that one big national championship title. It's such a bigger game. It's more important. Just being there and knowing that you're one of the last remaining teams, and you have a chance to do something great, is really awesome.