California Press Conference Quotes: NCAA Regional Semifinal

Dec. 11, 2008

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The No. 8-ranked California volleyball team is in State College, Pa. for the University Park Regional semifinal of the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship and will face No. 14 Illinois at 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 12 at Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State University. Last season, Cal advanced past the regional semifinal for the first time in school history and dethroned defending NCAA champion Nebraska for the right to advance to the national semifinal where it fell in three sets to eventual national champion Penn State.

Head Coach Rich FellerOpening Statement'It is really our privilege to be here and be in the home of the national champions. I think the four teams that are here are privileged to be sent here with a chance to play the champion from last year. Our team finished strong this year and set a lot of records for Cal volleyball. We feel like we are ready to challenge again and will put a lot of effort into tomorrow night's match against a worthy and tough opponent.'

On his reaction to the draw and potentially playing Penn State'The opportunity to play Siena was something that we looked at when we saw the draw and really, the opportunity to host the first and second rounds. We tried to host the last three years and didn't. When we saw our name go up on the screen on the selection show, that was the most exciting thing. To get to the championship, you're going to have to beat somebody great along the way. We're just happy to be in the regional round right now.'

On outside hitters and matchups against Illinois'Both teams will throw a few surprises at each other. These are all good teams. I think we're all more than one dimensional. The defense, the passing, the blocking will be more of the story but I think you will see some pretty hard hit balls tomorrow night.'

On the pressure that comes with reaching the upper echelon of the Pac-10'There is [pressure]. But this can all go away fast. Just like in any good conference, it can go away quick. We've got a bit more of a track record now. This year, we beat every Pac-10 team in the conference at least once; a little bit of historic trivia for you. We do feel like we are one of the top programs; one of the elite programs in the Pac-10. With that said, there is a bigger target on our backs. I think all the players feel that stress and pressure and it's hard because we beat ourselves up sometimes when things don't go our way but we're always going to strive for perfection. It's a great feeling but there's also a burden.'

On the growth of sophomore setter Carli Lloyd'I've said this before and if she reads any of my quotes in the paper, she's seen or heard this before. She came in as a very raw setter with extreme talent and physical abilities. Last year, she had the fortune of having a couple of really good players on her team that were pin hitters in Angie Pressey and Hana [Cutura]. If nothing else, she could get the ball up high and towards the sidelines and it would turn into a kill. Over the course of the year, she has continued to grow and continued to gain skills over the year. For sure, we've demanded more of her this year. She's the type of player that makes ten plays in a minute and if she has one bad one, she gets on herself. She'll forget the other nine great plays and figure out how to improve on the one thing she didn't do right. Having someone like Carli, with a great work ethic and ability is a great asset for any team to have.'

On Illinois and inconsistencies on both teams'The cliché is that it's going to come down to serving and passing but that's what it's going to come down to. If our team passes perfect, we're going to side out most of the time. If Illinois passes perfect, they're going to side out most of the time. If one team makes a lot of serve errors, they're not going to score off their serve. I think the unpredictability of it all is why we love volleyball so much.'

Junior Outside Hitter Hana CuturaOn meeting Illinois in the regional semifinal'We've looked at tape and they're doing a lot of combos and cross plays. In practice, we've tried to imitate that and tried to figure out how to block that. They do run a lot of combos and fast plays and we haven't seen that a lot in the Pac-10 this year.'

Sophomore Setter Carli LloydOn last year's experience being helpful this year'It's helped me out personally and I think the team as well. We had a tough road last year too and it's a winning experience. It was nice to host in the first and second rounds because we were on the road last year but I think having been on the road for tough matches helped a lot.'

Senior Outside Hitter Am'ra SolomonOn defeating Stanford in Palo Alto this season'It felt good. We were all playing as a team. We all played together and it helped build our confidence. As long as we play as a team and we play our game, then we'll be okay.'

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