NCAA Championship pre-match press conference quotes
Dec. 16, 2009
Head Coach Jerritt Elliott
On coaching against the other "mature" coaches knowing that he is the youngest at 41 and the respect that he has for them: Well, I have so much respect for these coaches that are in the Final Four. These are the one's that have grown this sport. These are the coaches that were basically working for free when volleyball started off and they're the one's that have, you know...Mike was the one that, and Dave were a founder of the AVCA and growing it for young coaches like myself. I was the one that was growing up and watching women's volleyball and had a passion for it and always admired how well they coached their teams in the big games and how successful they were, and I was just trying to be a sponge as much as I could and now I've had the fortunate opportunity with a talented team to come and coach against them. I have a lot of respect for them; they are the one's that paved the way for young coaches and they've done a tremendous job and I hope that as my career continues that we can do the same for future generations.
On pieces of the puzzle needed to add to get to this point and ultimately win a Final Four: Well, I think anytime that you get to a Final Four all the teams are talented and they have a very special niche that they can be successful at, and I think that the more you coach, the more you learn about how to manage players and how to manage certain situations and building the confidence and the team chemistry throughout the year. That is the biggest challenge as a coach. All of the coaches obviously knows their X's and O's, but the way you manage the student-athlete and all of the players 1-12 or 1-15 is the key component to making sure that everybody is happy; they understand the goals, they understand the philosophies and they are committed to what they are doing on a daily basis. Those teams that have kind of stayed that way are here and that's because they are great coaches that will lead them from Minnesota, Penn State, and Hawaii and they are all battle tested.
On the match with Hawaii and Penn State: I haven't seen Penn State too much. Obviously, I saw Hawaii a couple of months ago and saw the last game and a half after our match at dinner. They're two different teams. Penn State is a very physical team that can overwhelm you with their size and their ability to play first ball kills, and Hawaii is a team that can frustrate you. They can play at a very, very high level. We played extremely well the last time we played them, but I think they've improved a tremendous amount and the key component is that Hawaii is going to have to really win the serve and pass game I believe and they are going to have to frustrate Penn State with their defense and transition game. But, its going to be a fun match to watch. There are exceptional athletes and I think that it will be very good for our sport.
On what Penn State's 100-game win streak means to the sport: It's incredible! It's incredible that Russ has been able to create that chemistry, create that leadership, and create the focus. It's tough to keep 18-22 year-old girls on task everyday and knowing that they have a target twice the size of their back on them everyday. What Russ has done has really brought a lot of attention to our sport. People are really starting to enjoy it and learn more about it and the athletes that we have. You know, him having the ability on ESPN and the New York Times is something that we need for our sport. It's growing. In my opinion, it's one of the best women's sports in the game and it's a lot of fun. What Russ has done has meant a tremendous amount for our sport, not only this season, but over the years he's been coaching. They're on a special run, a very special run that is pretty safe to say they probably won't repeat again.
Destinee Hooker, Senior Outside Hitter
Ashley Engle, Senior Setter
Juliann Faucette, Junior Outside Hitter