NCAA Volleyball Championship National Semifinal Press Conference Quotes

Dec. 12, 2007


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Opening Statement:
Rich Feller (Head Coach) -
'Obviously, we're very pleased to be here in the NCAA Championships- first time for Cal in volleyball. We're very excited to have our team represent the Pac-10, along with a couple others. It was a tough road to get here. We had two very long road trips. Looking back on that, I think it was maybe the best thing that could have happened to our team. It really prepared us for the travel and the organization and tournament format. Those trips got us very well prepared for coming here to Sacramento, and like I said, we're very happy to be here.

Angie Pressey (Senior Outside Hitter) - On whether the team can sustain the momentum after upsetting Nebraska
'I think we were on such a high after beating Nebraska, but playing good volleyball is playing good volleyball. Sometimes it's your night and sometimes it's not, but hopefully if we do what we're supposed to do and we do what we always do in practice, then that momentum will carry over into this week.'

Rich Feller - On finally making it to the NCAA Championship in 23rd year of coaching
'It's something we as coaches always dream about and aspire to. Circumstances and long hard work and athletes like these three (to my right) and all the others (on our team) combined- everything aligns just right. There are a lot of coaches out there that have never reached this pinnacle and have coached for much longer than I have. We're really kind of blessed this year with a great combination of staff, players and administration that have supported us and allowed us to build the right way to get to this spot.'

Rich Feller - On what's different about this team
'Things came together. You've got to build from something. We returned the bulk of our team from last year when we went to the NCAA Regionals. We've got some incredibly gifted athletes that everyone knows about and we've got some incredibly gifted athletes that no one knows about. Every day in practice those 13 athletes are putting out every effort they can to make everyone on the team better. The depth of our team and the consistency and the fact that we stayed healthy this year, the structure of our practices, the timing and the length of our practices, our strength coach, academic coach and trainer- everything has combined throughout this year to get this group of athletes to play their best. It's really that combination of things along with the years of planning to get to this point, and along with having some superior athletes that can carry a little extra load now and then. For us, I don't think this is a surprise that we're here. For us, we know last January that this could be a special team, and the way its played out its turned out to be true.'

Angie Pressey (Senior Outside Hitter) - On what's different about this team
'Just to go along with that, we have one of the best recruiting coaches in the country in Chris Bigelow, and the caliber of athletes she brings here is amazing. To be nervous about your job after you're named All-Pac 10, to have someone like Hana (Cutura) coming in is amazing, and I don't think Cal had that before.'

Rich Feller - On what the match against Penn State will be like
'We had a few days to prepare, one videotape that we got to watch from the regional final. We have to do what we do best, and that is great blocking, tenacious defense, some really tough serving and set the ball to the right hitter at the right time. It know it sounds basic. We're going to see a big blocking team in Penn State, but we see that all the time. We see that a lot on the Pac 10. Penn State's going to see a big blocking team in Cal. I don't know if they see it as much as we do, maybe they do. I think it's going to come down to whoever can do their own jobs. When we played Nebraska I think one out of 10 fans gave us a chance to beat them. Anything can happen on any given night. My other assistant who I'll mention, Matt McShane, does all of our blocking training and our blocking calls during games and he reads the other team. I know there's no one better than him at doing that, and I think that gives us an edge. If there's two good blocking teams against each other, I'll take our team.




Opening Statement:
Russ Rose (Head Coach) -
'It's great to be here, I think our team is excited about the opportunity to compete at this level, at the national championship format. We have had a strong season, players have improved throughout the season and again we are excited about the opportunity in front of us.'

Russ Rose - Concerning Cal
'I saw a little of Cal early in the year when they played Minnesota, because they had a match on TV. I thought at that time they looked terrific. Certainly to advance this far, every one knows that the teams that get here, have gotten here based on their performance. The video that we have of them playing Nebraska, they looked great. Their outside hitters had a great evening and had a great impact on the outside.'

'There is a lot of similarity between our two teams, I think both teams lead their conference in blocking and aces and are in last place in digs. There seems to be a similarity that both of the teams have.'

'I've seen a number of their players through the junior ranks, but I am not privy to seeing a lot of Pac-10 volleyball, because they play to late for me.'

'Nebraska was the defending champion and for them to get beat 3-0, that is all the indication you need to know that Cal is playing terrific right now.'

Russ Rose - Concerning three Pac-10 School, time change
'The fact that there is three Pac-10 teams is an indication that those three teams played well in their regions and that they advanced.'

'Time issue is more of a challenge for me than the players, because I am never up at midnight and I think they are always up at midnight.'

'I think when you are young you get more excited about opportunities that you are concerned about getting your rest.'

Russ Rose - Compare this team to others reaching the NCAA Tournament
'Well I think every team is different, because the game has changed. Now that we are in a rally scoring era, the game has really changed.'

'The games are a little bit different now, the length of the rallies aren't as long. You can get some kids that can take some bigger swings and some chances from the end line. I'm not necessarily a fan of the new style of volleyball, but that's what it is.'

Melissa Walbridge (Senior Middle Hitter)-
Compare this team to others reaching the NCAA Tournament
'This team is different than even the past three years, you have new people coming in and we all work together really well. We are working together now, at least last weekend, better than we have all year. We are looking forward to playing tomorrow night and building on what we started last weekend and what we've been trying to achieve this season.

Nicole Fawcett (Junior Outside Hitter) -
Compare this team to others reaching the NCAA Tournament
'I agree with Mel, the past year I thought we have worked really well in the spring and the summer, playing hard and being a team. I think a little bit in the beginning of the year we fell from that, but we have pulled it together and we are doing that at a good time.'

Russ Rose - With two good blocking teams, what is the matchup and difference you look for?
'It will be easier to say after the match, but going into it their outside hitters get close to 60% of their swings and the success they have had in the Pac-10 is an indication that they are exceptional players.'

'We are not going to change our game plan because Cal sets their outside hitters. It's one thing to see them on TV, I haven't seen Pressey play in person since she was a club player in Orlando. She was an exceptional player in that age group then, and the fact that she is having the success she is having now is not necessarily surprising.'




Opening Statement:
John Dunning (Head Coach) -
'Well it's an honor to be here. It's been a long road and a great season. I think our group knew that we had a lot of opportunity to start the year and have really capitalized on it. We're pretty healthy and we're looking forward to the weekend, representing the Pac-10. I think the three players sitting to my right have had amazing years, and we're just looking forward to the next level of play this weekend.'

'I'd like to again say congratulations to (Sacramento State Head Coach) Debby Colberg since Sac State is the host school here, for the great career that she's had.

John Dunning - On how each NCAA Championship is unique
'I've had the pleasure of getting to several Final Fours, and they never get old. Every team is different and they're all enjoyable in different ways and this is a great group. It's great to be with them here. And this is what our sport declares as the culmination of our season so it's a great thing to be a part of it.'

John Dunning - On Cal being in the NCAA Championship
'Cal has continued to grow and I think Rich has done a marvelous job and Matt's really helped coming in and joining the program. I think the Pac-10 in the last five or six years has been a hard conference to break into the upper echelon of, but now in the last two years there are five different Pac-10 teams that have been in the Final Four now. They were ahead 13-11 in the final game the last time we played them and we ended up winning, but that shows just how good they are right there and how much they've improved. This is the best Cal team I've ever seen.'

Bryn Kehoe (Senior Setter) -
On the significance of this NCAA Championship
'It has been a great four years and it's an honor to be here. Not just to be in the Final Four but to represent Stanford once again. This is my third time in the Final Four and I'm looking to finish out my career on a good note.

On what's different about this team than others she's been to the NCAA Championship with
'Every team is different. This year we are very balanced both offensively and defensively. We have great pass hitting, great offense and great defense. We have a great libero, Gabi, and I also have fantastic hitters to feed the ball to.'

Cynthia Barboza (Junior Outside Hitter) -
On the difficulty of playing the same team for a third time (USC)
'It's definitely difficult. But every weekend in our conference is like playing a national championship-caliber match. We experience it with USC, each time you come to play each other the other team has improved and made changes. You can never really bank on just because you beat someone in the past does not by any means you'll be able to handle them this time. All four teams here are very dangerous and very talented.'

On being named Academic All-American
'I actually had no idea that it had happened! But it's a huge honor, especially at a school like Stanford that's so tough academically. It's tough to juggle and tough to manage at times but that's what we signed up for when we signed up for this. I feel like I operate better when I have a bunch of different things going on in my life and I don't have time to get lazy.'

Foluke Akinradewo (Junior Middle Blocker) -
On improved hitting percentage
'I think a lot of it has to do with the players around me. There's no way Bryn can set me the ball without a great pass or a great dig so that definitely helps. Bryn's obviously a great setter, and I think I'm just learning about volleyball more and more every single day.'




Opening Statement:
Mick Haley (Head Coach) -
'Certainly you can imagine, we are immensely happy to be here. The whole focus was to get here this year, we did an awful lot of hard work last spring, we took an international trip, which had us drive 10 hours then play a match. We competed quite hard. We got a sense of team, then tried to integrate eight new freshman into that group. For three months we played musical chairs because of injuries. A great effort from our seniors, their leadership has gotten us to this point, and a superior group of young kids joining our program with great personalities and a desire to win. That has strengthened our team concept and we are extremely excited to be here.'

'We beat some very good teams to get here and played in a conference that almost made you hurt every night to try to sustain. Now we want to try to finish this.'

Diane Copenhagen (Senior Outside Hitter) - Concerning USC Women's Soccer team winning the National Title this week and bringing home a second National Title in a week.
'We flew home from Gainsville on Sunday, as soon as we landed in Los Angeles all of us checked our missed calls from a bunch soccer players saying they won. They said go have fun and enjoy it, they never thought that they would end up there and they are rooting for us and hopefully we will be able to join in their fun.'

Mick Haley - Concerning the win over Stanford in Los Angeles
'That video is our regular Friday night entertainment, just kidding. We for the first time in that match started to get healthy, we played well. Taylor had a great match, I think Stanford will recognize that. We have been getting stronger and stronger throughout the year, I believe that was Oct. 27.'

'We have different quarters, versus semesters that we deal with. We have four or five quarter schools and four or five semester schools and they have testing periods at different times. So some of the times when you see us dip, we are right in the middle of a testing period and when you see them dip they are in the middle of a testing period. The real test for all of our schools is to see if we can maintain balance throughout the whole thing. '

'We were very successful and hit for a high percentage that night and we will continue to try to do that, but we have improved and Diane is now back in the lineup, our captain, all the way around so we feel like we have got some added stuff. Gina did a great job and she is still contributing, Jess did a great job, we feel we have improved and I know Stanford has improved. So it's the rubber match, it's the third time.'

Taylor Carico (Sophomore Setter) - Concerning her offensive success this season
'My success is definitely to the passers and their consistency, because as accurate as they can get than it only helps me be more accurate and helps my hitters.'

Asia Kaczor (Senior Outisde Hitter) - Concerning her offensive success this season
'Taylor and the other players really helped me this season, I think that passing on our side was really great on our side. Diane and Jess did a great job passing, so Taylor's job was easier and my job was easier.'

Mick Haley - Concerning Stanford's serving?
'I think Stanford is playing at an absolutely phenomenal level. I don't think there has been a collegiate team at this time of the year that has played like Stanford is playing. If you look at their last five matches, they have been scoring 24, 25 and in one case against UCLA 27 kills in a game. That doesn't count aces and blocks. UCLA played a phenomenal game against Stanford, they had 20 kills, they gave them one point and Stanford scored 27 kills, had one stop and one ace. That means they scored 29 points of their 30 points to win. That is tremendous, so yes we worked a lot on serve - receive.'

Transcription courtesy of NCAA and Sacramento State Sports Information

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