NCAA Championship Press Conference Quotes
Dec. 14, 2007
Sacramento, Calif. - Opening Statement:
John Dunning (Head Coach) -
'First I'd like to say congratulations to the valley and the city of Sacramento for the second largest crowd in the history of our sport in the Semi-Finals, I think that is amazing and I think that is great. This is a great place to play, it would be an understatement to say that was a great match last night. Sleep doesn't come easy after you're that excited. Again I want to congratulate USC and Cal on great seasons, we're happy to be here, maybe relieved to be here. Certainly excited to be here and we know what kind of opponent we have on the other side of the court. Penn State showed what they showed against us earlier in the season, they are a great team.
'We're going to spend a little time today and a little time tomorrow figuring out what we are going to do against them. We did not practice today, I think it would have looked painful to practice today, so we didn't.'
John Dunning (Head Coach) - Concerning game five against USC, trailing 14-13 and letting the serve fall
'That was a great play. She has a wicked serve, sometimes it's meant to be topspin, sometimes float and sometimes both, however that happens. And I think we played the four-five because we thought they were close throughout the match that might have been out. That was the perfect timing to stand deep in the court and try to lure her to serve it deep.'
Cynthia Barboza (Junior Outside Hitter) - Concerning 14-13 serve
'Like he said, sometimes her serve spins, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it spins half of the way, then floats the rest of the way. When I was looking at it, it was coming close to my head and I was about 10 feet from the sidelines and I was like, this has to be out, then the bottom dropped out of the ball and it was about two inches from the endline, just out of bounds. I was like, thank God that happened.'
Cynthia Barboza (Junior Outside Hitter) - Concerning being in a position to end the match
'To be honest I kind of went back to when we were in a similar situation when we were in the finals last year. One thing I do regret is I feel like I got tentative in the Finals against Nebraska. I knew that if I didn't swing away at that ball I would regret having put a shot in play, so when Bryn set it to me, I just wanted to swing.'
Cynthia Barboza (Junior Outside Hitter) - Concerning what will be the difference this year from losing in the Final last year.
'I think it makes us pretty hungry, definitely coming so close and coming up on the short end of the stick is a hard thing to go through. I think it is very vivid in our minds, how it went last year and we want to rewrite it this year and come out on top. But that is going to take a lot of hard work, because Penn State is a very good team with a lot of good players. It's going to be a battle.'
Bryn Kehoe (Senior Setter) - Concerning what is like to experience winning a national title and how that drives a player.
'I'm not sure how to describe that feeling or possibly portray it to someone who hasn't been there, because it is truly amazing. I think the most important thing for us to do right now is to look to each other and look for ourselves for confidence to make great plays tomorrow and play together.'
John Dunning (Head Coach) - Concerning eight All-Americans on the floor tomorrow and the level of volleyball expected tomorrow.
'I don't know if that has happened before, it probably has. I think that most of the people that know a lot about volleyball have been looking forward to this season, because I think it is growing each year. This is definitely a year where there are lots of great players and there are lots of great teams. And if you love volleyball, you just know you're going to get to see magical things. I don't think the best plays come out of players until you get into situations like this. We were talking about Cynthia's swing at match-point, part of that is that she had five swings like that against UCLA in the same situation. That may have crossed her mind, just to believe in it more and cut it lose and they were great plays. So the decisions that Bryn makes, the things that everybody up here does, they're great players and it's neat to see the level of play rise because your opponent brings that out in you. That is what we are going to see, as coaches you can almost just sit back and go, wow, it's fun to watch.'
Foluke Akinradewo (Junior Middle Blocker) - Concerning Penn State and Stanford being different teams since playing in September
'I definitely think we've changed as a team since we first played Penn State as well. It was in the beginning of our season, we weren't as comfortable with each other. I think Erin Waller said it last week, we are all on the same page each play. I think tomorrow's match, obviously both teams are very talented, it's a matter of who can stick together and who can help each other out and that team will end up on top.'
Alix Klineman (Freshman Outside Hitter) - Concerning Penn State and Stanford being different teams since playing in September
'I think both teams have grown a lot since the beginning of the season. I'm sure they have had a strong season. Even though we have dropped a couple of matches, I think we have learned a lot from that. So it just depends on who comes out ready to play tomorrow.'
Bryn Kehoe (Senior Setter) - Concerning Penn State's hitting percentage and whether that changes her approach
'When I see another team's high hitting percentage, I don't necessarily think about matching it with our offense. I think the way our team will be successful is serving aggressively and trying to get them out of system and also focusing on having a solid block to slow them down. Our offense will come from our defensive hustle.'
John Dunning (Head Coach) - Concerning Penn State not dropping a game in the tournament, is Stanford more battle tested
'While we can depend upon the fact that we've played through the Pac-10 and played some great matches against teams that have played great against us, the past is the past, it is just tomorrow that matters. We know a lot about each other and they are battle tested too, the Big 10 is really a good conference as well and they played a tough non-conference schedule as well. I think we will just look forward to tomorrow and the past is behind us.'
Foluke Akinradewo (Junior Middle Blocker) - Concerning playing against another player with impressive hitting numbers and her hitting average
'Not really, I don't really think about that when I play, it's more just about playing for my teammates. If the numbers are great, okay fine. I think the most important thing for me and for everyone else on our team is the national championship. But, obviously playing against high level players is always fun, that is what makes volleyball a great sport.'
John Dunning (Head Coach) - Concerning certain expectations of Penn State and head coach Russ Rose.
'I think they are very disciplined and depending on what type of team they have they are disciplined in different areas of their game. I think that his emphasis, while being on the whole game, really matters when you get to 20 and 25. He makes decisions differently when you get to that point, because that is the most important part of the game. I think they are good at that part of the game, so we have to make sure that we stay with it if we get in a position where we have the lead. We know that at that point they are going to step it up. The are going to turn to each other try to go at that point, we know have to do that to. They are just very competitive and very disciplined in what they do.'
John Dunning (Head Coach) - Concerning the Final Four in Sacramento
'At first I was about it, because we bid on it and they beat us for that year. We really wanted to host it this year, but they came up with a great bid and this is a great site. They put the whole package together for it to be here, so after I got over the initial shock of us working on it and not getting it, I love volleyball in Northern California. It's grown throughout the years, it's a great place for junior volleyball there are thousands of kids playing here. I spent a lot of time out here and I am proud that it is in the valley and I think they did a great job. '
Alix Klineman (Freshman Outside Hitter) - Concerning winning a national title
'Obviously winning the national championship isn't something I've experienced yet, winning a national championship would be the biggest thing yet. I'm just really excited about the opportunity tomorrow and hopefully we can pull it out. '
Foluke Akinradewo (Junior Middle Blocker) - Concerning winning a national title
'This is what we work all season for, a national championship. We came here last year and came up short, obviously that is going to be the peak of our collegiate career if we are able to get that. We've never had it, other than Bryn and Franci, so I don't know how it feels but I do know that if we do get it, it will be something amazing.'
Cynthia Barboza (Junior Outside Hitter) - Concerning winning a national title
'For me, it's just the longest haul. On your club team you change from year to year, on the national team you train two weeks before you compete. But we have been in this for two and a half years now, a little shorter for Alix and little longer for Bryn. When you are with the same group of people, working towards the same goal for such a long time, it becomes just that much more important to you and you want to do it not just for yourself but for the people that have been in the gym with you the whole way through. That is why I think it is special.'
John Dunning (Head Coach) - Concerning the difficulty recruiting top players and put together a top team
'I think there are a lot more great players, a lot more good players around the country. That's why there is so much parody, the level of play is high everywhere. I think I am just blessed to work at a university that has a lot to offer, that can attract students. We are also lucky that we have such a long history, as Penn State has, of having a great volleyball program. We work very hard at it, our associate head coach Denise Corlett is in charge of recruiting for us. She does a great job and she has a great network and a good eye, she communicates well with people and puts us in contact with kids. Every staff has someone, either their whole staff, or someone like that. I think there are a lot of pieces in place for us to at least have a chance and it starts with Stanford is just a good place to work and be.'
Alix Klineman (Freshman Outside Hitter) - Concerning any surprises or moments where you thought how special this is.
'I kind of went into the tournament not really knowing what to expect, but one thing I did expect was a high level of competition every match. And that has been true so far, I know that we have a big target on our backs, being the number one seed, so I know going into tomorrow's match I can expect the same thing.'
John Dunning (Head Coach) - Concerning the chemistry of this team
'Good people to start with, care a lot about one another, care a lot about the program. Ways to make that happen, the best thing is to ask the athletes. That they have a good feeling amongst themselves and that they work hard for one another.'
Bryn Kehoe (Senior Setter) - Concerning the chemistry of this team
'Every single year I've been here we have had unique leadership and we've had players step up into roles maybe they have never had to fill. I know my freshman year I really looked to Ogonna Nnamani and she was a great role model for me and a great leader for our team. What I learned from her was that when you get to these crucial points, you really have to play for each other and believe in each other. That is going to be the difference and I think that throughout the year, that we have been tested so many times that maybe we believed in each other, but we weren't really sure about our own ability. I think in those tough situations we have learned to believe in ourselves and not just each other. I think that will show, especially tomorrow night. '
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