Volleyball media availability quotes (12/15)
Dec. 15, 2008
Head coach Jerritt Elliott
On what made the difference this year: We've learned a lot with the process you go through and the pressures that exist with it. I think this is a harder step than the NCAA semifinals. We've learned from our mistakes. Our focus level was different. The way we approached it and our routines were better because of our leadership. Our team was more prepared and didn't overlook anyone.
On Stanford: Stanford is one of the best teams in the country. They have three players who were very close to making the Olympic team. They have the physicality and experience. They're great volleyball players. They won the Pac-10 and are one of the programs that everyone tries to elevate their program to.
On learning from their first game against Stanford: You can take a lot from it. I think you take a lot from how close it was. You look at how the Big 12 did against the Pac-10 in the NCAA tournament. We were very successful and know that we can compete with anybody. Our girls understand that and we are here to get that next step.
On keeping the team focused and not looking forward too much: You never know what is going to happen but this team does a really good job of staying on the routines, enjoying the process and focusing on the next opponent. It's a big challenge for our team [playing Stanford] but we're ready for it.
On handling all of it as a coach: You have to relax. It's important for me to enjoy this as well. I've been there once before in 2000 and you can get caught up in trying to be focused on the match. You've got to enjoy the whole process but be aware of what's going on and really try to be the leader in showing your team that you're relaxed and that this is a process. I have a lot of confidence in this group so I'm exited to go and compete.
Junior outside hitter Ashley Engle
On going to the NCAA semifinals: We got together in August and set this as one of our goals. We've been in the match to come here two years in a row. This is the third time and third time's the charm.
On playing Stanford: They have multiple All-Americans on their team and many girls that I have played with before. I know how talented they are. They're a really complete team and it'll definitely be a good match up for us.
On the emotions of the postgame celebration against Iowa State: I really don't even remember. I feel like it was such an adrenaline rush that I kind of just blacked out. I have no idea what happened, but the pictures show it. I think in the picture I look like I'm in pain, but I was just screaming so loud.
On the final moments of the regional match: I was serving the last couple balls and it was the most focused I have ever been as a college athlete. We all wanted this so bad and finally having the opportunity to go to the NCAA semifinals is something I'll never forget.
On the drive of the team to overcome their challenges: I think it defines our season. Our season has been up and down and it hasn't been easy. We've faced a lot of adversity in the gym and out of the gym. We had a lot of distractions. I think overcoming them has made us stronger and that's what pushed us to the NCAA semifinals this year.
On Coach Elliott having them play a high level of competition during the preseason: I think he does it because setting up an easier preseason isn't going to tell much about where your team is at from the beginning. We played Stanford at the beginning of the year and they're a good team. We've improved and they've improved as well. It's ironic that we met them in Omaha at the beginning and now we're going to meet them again.
On if there's less pressure now they're in the NCAA semifinals: I would like to say "yes," but I don't think so. I think that we're definitely not satisfied. The semifinals are a great accomplishment, but now that we're here we just want to go for it. I think it's more of an all-or-nothing attitude and to give everything you have.
Freshman setter Michelle Kocher:
On the personality and control of being a setter: I'm not the loudest person on the court but I have to call the plays and I'm deciding how the offense is running so I need to have control to some point. We also have our captains who help and give their input. It's a collaborative effort.
On the emotions of going to the NCAA semifinals: It's a little surreal. I definitely did not expect it. Coming in my freshman year, I was just taking it one day at a time. I feel so fortunate. As a team, we're lucky, but we also earned it. We're deserving of it at this point because it's been a tough season and a battle, but it's worth it.
On playing Stanford for the second time: We played them really early in season. Now, both our teams are primed a little more. Being a freshman, it took me some time to get in the rhythm of things. I think both of our teams have changed and evolved a lot, but it's good to have seen the hitters and how their system runs. It should be interesting to see how everything has panned out and how we counteract.
On the atmosphere of playing in the tournament: I'm anticipating some crazy fans. It's good that we have such good fan support at Texas. We enjoy the loud crowds and we play off of it. I'm looking forward to it, but we don't know exactly what it's going to be like since it's our first time. I'm expecting the unexpected.
Senior middle blocker Lauren Paolini
On the atmosphere in Omaha: I think it'll be a sold-out crowd and it'll be pretty crazy. My family is coming so that will be exciting. Hopefully, it will be a lot like our home court with the crowd and the excitement.
On whether the team is satisfied just going to the NCAA semifinals: I don't think we're satisfied. We know that our No. 1 goal is to be National Champions. We're still working towards that and reaching our full potential. I think we still have more work to do.
Sophomore outside hitter Juliann Faucette
On the emotions of going to the NCAA semifinals: It's really unexplainable. I never knew what it would feel like and never dreamed that it would feel this way. It's so surreal. I think that once we get to Omaha we'll really know and really feel it. I'm really excited to see how it goes and just experience it.
On playing Stanford: I think it's a really good match up because we both compete the same way. We're kind of the same team in the sense that we both have two really good outside hitters, two good middle blockers and we both have new setters. They're a really good team and that's always fun for our team because we love to step up to the challenge. We have grown a lot. We've been though a lot of ups and downs. Anytime it's a second game against the same team it's always going to be different.
On enjoying their success and getting refocused: I don't think I'll get ever over it [advancing out of the Regional Round], but it's definitely back to business today. We have some work to do. We definitely don't want to end it here and that's the key.