Huskies Meet With Media Monday

Aug. 24, 2009

McLaughlin Optimistic For 2009 Season

Seniors On Preparation for 2009 Season

Monday afternoon before practice, head coach Jim McLaughlin and several returning starters met with a few local media members to talk about the upcoming season. Below is a transcript of the first part of McLauglhin's remarks, along with video of McLaughlin and seniors Jill Collymore, Tamari Miyashiro, and Airial Salvo.

Opening remarks: 'I like this team. There are a lot of reasons to like them but mostly, these guys, I believe, if we keep on the path and keep going about business the way we do it day-to-day, they can get to a pretty big time place, a special place. It's that type of group. Practices have gone well, they've gotten better. Each day has been a little bit better. We're doing more things the way we are supposed to do things and practices have been intense. The players have gone extremely hard every day. Every day we play a little bit better volleyball. Things are good right now. We are in game week phase and have four more days to get prepared for our first match.'

On what he means by 'big time': 'You never know. But, big-time around here is big time. It's getting to the top of Mount Rainier. We'll see if we can do it but I believe we can do it. Of course, we've got to do all the things that we're supposed to do, but these guys will do that. They're not afraid of the challenge. I think we can get there.'

On what gives him that belief: 'Just based on where we're at and the progress we've made so far. Just the quality of hard work. And then the return we're getting at this point. If we stay on this path and we don't get distracted and fall into the traps along the way. These guys, we have the firepower, we have the speed, we have the ball control, and we have the people. We just need to stay focused on the things that tell us what to do and be in good places at the right time and we can apply a lot of pressure.'

On the benefits of the team's experience: 'It's huge. This team has done some good things. They have some experience and you learn from your experiences and I think they're ready to take the next step. I think they're going to be ready to take the next step. They're smart girls. They know it's not going to be easy and they also know that we can't take anything for granted. All the little things we do, the cumulative effect of all those things are going to be critical so we can't take a day off, mentally, physically, emotionally. But we haven't yet.'

On how owning a national title adds to belief in the system: 'I think they buy in. They believe in the staff and they are going to let us guide them. They know that they have to do the work. We can set the standard. We can measure the progress. We can write the activities. We can set the conditions. But, they've got to take the responsibility to do the work and they've got to take the responsibility for their improvement. That's the deal. If this team improves, we've got all the components.'

On if he has confidence in his ability to win another title based on the first one: 'I've never looked at it as I can do it. I think the University of Washington can do it. We're at a place where the standard is awful high and awful difficult, but that's why these players have come here. A long time ago, I had my time as a player and now it's their time. I think the best coaches in the world pay such close attention to their players that they know how to help them and they know what to do for them. It's not our pace of learning, it's their pace of learning that's the issue. If we can pay attention to them closely, we'll know how to help them and I think that's what the best coaches do.'

On how the team's four returning outside hitters will find time: 'You don't know. When I was young I would look at it in every way, shape or form and try to write it out. I'd have all my ideas. But when you listen to the best coaches, they teach their team, they develop their players and then they get their answers, they know which way to go. I don't know. We're just going to keep developing them and then the answers are going to come. I really believe that. You know what I've thought about though, I'd like to see all four of them play. Maybe we look at that. But, that will be a function of how they develop in their separate areas. We just have to develop the people on this team.'

On if all four could start: 'I don't know. I know we have the personnel where we've got four big time outside hitters. It's a dogfight every day. Where there's competition there's progress. We're making a lot of progress, each one of them. Every day, you ask them, there's some heat going on and they got to bring their game. The little idiosyncrasies or little deficiencies are very exposed now. I had a discussion with [Becky Perry] on little off plays. They were hidden last year because we were working on it. Now she's starting to manage her game where these little off plays its 'uh-oh there it is, we can't do that anymore.' Arial, yesterday she was our number one hitter in hitting affect, not hitting effiency, in her affect when she hits the ball. And then Jill won the overall day. She's never done that before. Kindra scored more points than anyone. It's who can stay on the path.'

On if OH talent is a good problem to have: 'I don't think it's a problem. Great teams have depth and great teams have competition. Sometimes as a coach you have to manufacture it. I haven't had to do that at University of Washington. These guys are doing it every day. To the point where this morning I'm thinking we're not going to compete in the morning anymore. We're just going to compete to let them know where they're at and it's an internal improvement issue. In the afternoon, we're going to worry about wins and losses but in the morning, we're not going to worry about it anymore. They'll probably have an issue with it because they like to compete.'

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