Stanford Pre-Match Press Conference Quotes - NCAA Semifinals

Dec. 17, 2008

Omaha, Neb. - Head Coach John Dunning
Opening Statement

'We're obviously very excited to be here. We're proud of what we've accomplished and how we've grown throughout the season. I know we're all very happy to be representing our institution at the championship. They put on a great event here the last time we were here. It's an amazing facility. I want to congratulate the other three teams that are here on what they've accomplished to this point. It appears as if we have some history happening here with Penn State. We're all chasing them here. I want to congratulate them on that. We're all in a hunt chasing down the Lions. We're looking forward to the tournament starting tomorrow.'

Head Coach John Dunning
On recruiting Bellevue, Neb., native Gabi Ailes to Stanford

'That was a long time ago now in recruiting. Gabi had a pretty high level of interest. Her academic nature. She' s very successful in the classroom and saw Stanford as a place she'd be interested in early. We're very happy to have her. She's always had a great attitude, competitive, sacrifice for her team, energetic - the things you want as a libero. She's getting better every day we play because she always wants extra reps. It's great to have her on our team. She's really made a difference for us.'

Head Coach John Dunning
On the effect of falling in the finals in each of the last two years

'I think that when you go through, particularly our seniors and our juniors, what they've gone through the past two seasons, getting to the final match, having great matches and having lost twice - I think that in itself initially is very disappointing. Most people, in the long run, it is educational. It can help you. If you do it wrong, the expectations alone can be a burden, can make you focus on the wrong things. For our team, what it's done is help us because one of the things we realized is we needed to be better together. They needed to interact together. They needed to care about each other more in order for us to climb the ladder that we wanted to climb to get back here. We are a significantly different team for having gone through them. But the rest of the world wants us to think that's a failure and it isn't in any way. You have to learn the right way from it. I think we have. I think we're a pretty darn strong, close-knit group, and I'm really proud to see the things they've accomplished this season.'

Alix Klineman
On Penn State

'Obviously they've had a great season and we know they are going to be tough when we play them. We think that we've improved throughout the season and we offer something different, so we're excited for a rematch. But first we have to play Texas, and we're not overlooking them.'

Alix Klineman
On difference between last year and this year

'I think one thing just from the start of the season, we knew we had to work really hard to get here. A lot harder than last year. I think we did. I think we came to practice every day knowing we had to focus, and our team did that and we really came together along the way. We searched a lot to figure out which system to run bouncing from the 6-2 back to the 5-1. I think we really found our team's personality along the way. I think the chemistry is really rolling with us. I'm looking forward to Thursday.'

Alix Klineman
On Gabi Ailes being from Bellevue

'It helps to a certain extent to have the crowd behind you, but at this point, it's the team that's the most prepared. I think that's what it is going to come down to. It's great to have the crowd cheering for you, but we're focused on ourselves and playing the match.'

Cynthia Barboza
On Penn State

'Penn State has done incredible things this year. 3-0 all year is pretty amazing, but really our focus isn't on Penn State right now. If you talk to me in two days, maybe. But right now our focus is Texas, Texas, Texas. And that's about it.'

Cynthia Barboza
On Texas

'They're a good team. They come with a lot of fight and energy and a lot of fist pumping. We're excited to play them. It should be an exciting match.'

Cynthia Barboza
'On playing in Nebraska

Nebraska is a great place to play. The people here love volleyball. There's a ton of support and the fans are great fans. They love to see great volleyball. They're not evil and putting hexes on the team they want to lose. It's a fun place to play, but with a stadium that big, it just sounds like background noise.'

Cynthia Barboza
'On using the 5-1 or the 6-2

Right now in the past couple of matches we've been using the 5-1. With both of our setters, we're versatile enough to jump back into the 6-2 if we feel it is necessary or it could add something to our game. It's one of the benefits from have using both lineups during the season.'

Foluke Akinradewo
On the rematch with Texas

'It's pretty ironic that we started our season here and we're back again. The team we were before when played them the first time is completely different than who we are now. I'm sure it's the same for Texas. Like Cynthia and Alix have been saying, we've grown a lot since the start of the season. We're really excited to play them.'

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