Stanford Pre-Championship Match Press Conference

Dec. 15, 2006

Omaha, Neb. - 2006 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship

Press Conference #1 • Stanford

Dec. 15 • Qwest Center Omaha

Head Coach: John Dunning
Student Athletes: Foluke Akinradewo, Cynthia Barboza, Bryn Kehoe

Head Coach John Dunning
Opening Statement:
'I know the group we have has been looking forward to this match for a long time. Whether they consider themselves lucky to be here or excited to be here, they've worked hard enough to earn this moment and they are looking forward to it. There's been many people who came together to make this moment a very special moment in the history of volleyball and I think it will be a moment we remember for a long time. No matter who the two teams would have been, it was on its way to being a historic moment and a great setting.'

On the tradition of the squads:
'From as long as I have been around the sport I've known about Nebraska. I know Terry Pettit very well and all the years he put into developing the program that John (Cook) has carried on. It's one of the great traditions people know about. To have our program that is much storied as well -- it's a special feeling to have these two teams together for this championship.'

On the season:
'I think this team has been developing momentum for a long time now this season. I think we keep getting better and better. We've been through some difficult things and some tight, tight matches, and they've taught us a lot and I think they are ready for this moment.'

On the growth of the sport:
'In my opinion, we've been kind of building up to this. I think there has been a lot of great leadership in the AVCA and USA Volleyball and they've been driving forces that have brought the sport forward. I think television getting more, and more, involved in the last four or five years has been key to propel the sport upward. I think prior to that a lot of our growth had been word-of-mouth. It's such a great team sport. It's such a great sport to watch. The athletes are so amazing. To get to this point, I think the growth has been huge. Coming up to this venue, in this state, and with this huge attention has brought a lot more attention to this moment. I think this is the largest moment in our sport's history in terms of helping in the growth effort.'

Sophomore MB Foluke Akinradewo
On Stanford's tradition:
'I have heard about all of the great players that have come through Stanford, and to be part of that is definitely a blessing. Each time we go on to that court we think about that and the great teams that have come before us.'

Sophomore OH Cynthia Barboza
On the experience of the last two seasons:
'Our group as a whole has learned a lot, coming off how last season ended. All of the little bumps we've had in the road this year, I wouldn't trade the path we've had for anything. We've learned so much about heart and competition and about coming together as a team. I think tomorrow's match is going to be great and I'm really excited about it -- to be playing in this setting with so many people here will be great.'

Junior S Bryn Kehoe
On comparisons to Nebraska's Rachel Holloway's experience in the national championship as a setter:
'I can't speak for Rachel Holloway, but when I was (at the National Championship) my freshman year I was surrounded by outstanding players who helped me and encouraged me at that time, and I'm sure she's going though the same thing. It's just a great environment and a place to thrive.'

2006 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship

Press Conference #2 • Nebraska

Dec. 15• Qwest Center Omaha

Head Coach: John Cook
Student Athletes: Dani Busboom, Sarah Pavan, Tracy Stalls

Head Coach John Cook
Opening Statement:
'These are two of the premier programs. I think Stanford has set the bar on how many national championships they've won. We had a great match with them last year and a lot of the same players will be on the court [on Saturday]. I think the two best teams are playing in the finals. I want to go back and say I think this was a very tough final four, with the quality of teams.'

On Stanford playing in Omaha and in front of 17,000 fans:
'I don't care who you are, what type of athlete you are, that will be a different feel tomorrow night than it was last night. We've got to be able to handle it too. I think we got a little more experience on how we're going to come out tomorrow, but I think it gets the adrenaline going. 17,000 people is a lot of people when you walk down on that court -- it is very inspiring.'

On the keys to winning against Stanford:
'When you get to this level, they got a lot of good players. I'll start with our serve and pass. They stretched Washington with their serving and we are going to have to be able to stretch them with our serving. We are going to have to try to get in system, because they are a great team if they get you out of system.'

Senior L Dani Busboom
On her differing roles over the last two years:
'Obviously the biggest difference is my position change. I think this year I am a lot more confident. I trust myself in the preparation more than last year. I think my teammates trust me more this year, those are two of the biggest differences. We've been saying all year, one dig, one huge dig can take one of their best players out of the game. To get in their head right from the beginning is going to be a big thing tomorrow night. Me and Rachel Schwartz havealready talked about that, because those outside hitters can bang, you saw that last night and all year. We are going to have to play our best to beat them.'

On playing in the national championship:
'This team sacrificed a lot this year, we went two-a-days the day after finals ended in the spring. We went to China, there are people that haven't been home to see their families for months. I think that is all building up to now. We've worked so hard, and we've made it.

Junior RS Sarah Pavan
On playing against Cynthia Barboza:
'Cynthia is a great player. When we were 15, she was outstanding and she just keeps getting better. I am excited to play against her, because I love to play against great players like that. My whole team loves to play players like that, so it will be a challenge, but I think I and everybody else on my team is up to that challenge of getting their job done against some of the best players in the country.'

On playing in the national championship:
'This is why I came to Nebraska. I came to Nebraska to win championships. We were close last year, obviously a disappointing finish, but I think this team has it in them to win. We have been preparing for this since January. We aren't prepared to go home, playing the way we did last year. I think we are all really fired up and we are going to come out and play.'

Junior MB Tracy Stalls
On getting so many swings on Thursday night:
'I think its gone in waves throughout the season, we get more opportunities in the middle than in other times'

On playing in the national championship:
'This is the most special group of women that I have ever had the pleasure of playing with ... The greatest joy is to look into each others eyes and to just relish the moment. I believe with all my heart that if we bring it, if we max out, there is nobody that can beat us.'

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