Dec. 8, 2011
Florida State Pre-Tournament Press Conference Quotes
Head Coach Chris Poole
"Certainly, we're very excited to be here. I think for any of the teams that are left in the top 16, everyone is good and everyone recognizes that if you have an off game, it can be over. Our intent is to go out and play to the very best of our ability. The girls have had a great year. They've worked hard and certainly deserve this opportunity."
On traveling for the Regional after hosting the First and Second Round:
"Certainly, we were glad to have hosted for the simple fact that we also ended our conference season by being on the road three weekends in a row. So it was nice to kind of have that little bit of break before we've gone on the road again. I think the biggest thing you have to do at this point of the season--it's more about managing everything, trying to keep people healthy, trying to keep people focused on what they need to do. Every team is facing the same thing with end of the year fatigue, with finals coming up for all these kids. So it's really a matter of getting them focused on what they need to do here at the Tournament, and at match time."
On returning to the Sports Pavilion for the Regional after being there in 2009:
"Certainly they do a great job here of hosting. I have a lot of respect for Minnesota and their program here, and to have the opportunity to come up here and play again is great for the girls. Certainly, we feel good about what we did two years ago, coming in and being able to win that first round of the Sweet 16 and go into the Elite Eight. I think the girls know that it's big time whenever you're playing at a level like this, and that they just have to be able to settle down and relax and try to be ready to play."
On the importance of containing Ariel Turner:
"Obviously, she has the potential to go off and just do unbelievable, because she's a very good player. She has a lot of great attributes. I think for us, it's not so much, `Can we contain her?' as much as just try to slow her down a little bit and try to contain the rest of their team, because you're really not going to be able to shut her down. But if you can try to line up your defense and do a good job of moving and getting your hands on the ball and getting it up, maybe she has to take a lot of swings. And that's one thing that we're going to try to do, is if we can keep bringing the ball up and keep rallying with them--she's having to take a lot of swings out there. Hopefully that's going to in time be able to wear her down a little bit. And for any great hitter, you have great days, you sometimes have off days. So it's a matter of us trying to do our job on our side."
On this being her first time at the Regional:
"Hearing the girls talk about the 2009 season and how good of an experience it was for them, I think it's just a good opportunity for us new girls to be able to come in and really see what it's all about, and hopefully we can repeat the Elite Eight and then hopefully even more."
On the confidence Florida State can gain from passing well:
"I think our passing game is going to be really important for getting a victory against Purdue, because they are such a strong team. I think defensively with digging, as long as we can dig and then rely on our offense--which has been great all season--I think as long as we can get the pass up and play defense well like we have been all season, I think we should be okay."
On returning to the Sports Pavilion:
"I remember walking in here a couple years ago and just everything being a shock. But being back here now and knowing the level of play--I know what to expect, and I know what to expect of ourselves. I'm really excited, and going to the Elite Eight in 2009, you always want to push that a little bit more. So I'm looking forward to playing here and hopefully pushing through to the Final Four."
On the challenges Purdue presents:
"We've never played Purdue before, but watching film on them and looking at their results, I think they are a really talented team. They're a big team. They probably have a lot of confidence. So I think coming out and having confidence in ourselves is going to be the biggest thing for us. So the challenges will be their experience."
Purdue Pre-Tournament Press Conference Quotes
Head Coach Dave Shondell
"We're happy to be in Minneapolis. We're familiar enough with the University of Minnesota to know that they're going to do a great job. So far, in the first 12 hours that we've been here, it's been a great visit so far. We know that the field of four teams is high quality, and I think it's a wide open field. I think when you look across the country this year, there was no real Goliath in the country. So now you've got 16 teams, all of which I think that can win. We certainly think that we're one of those 16 teams that have a chance to continue to play, but we'll have to be ready to play against Florida State. They're a very good team. They're very well coached. They bring a lot of different things to the table, and our team will have to be very, very well prepared, play sharp, play hard, for us to be able to advance beyond tomorrow night."
On the importance of having a veteran team that went to the Sweet 16 last year:
"I think it makes a big difference. I think that, on our team, we've got three seniors. We have a group of, I think, eight players that have been here for three years. Three of those are redshirt sophomores, but they've been around for a while. So in that group we've got 10 or 11 players who have been with this program now for three years at least. I think if you look at the teams that advanced, with the excepttion maybe of Penn State last year that was fairly young, I think those teams usually have great experience, have great leadership. We had great leadership down the stretch last year. We've had terrific leadership this year, as well. So I think that's going to help us, but Florida State's in the same boat. They have the same kind of team we have. They're very experienced. So I think it'll be a great matchup."
On his team this year:
"This is a team that has played really well together, probably more than any team I have had. They play the game well together, and they understand each other. Also, I just think they are really driven, and we have had great leadership from our three seniors."
On Florida State's team:
"I definitely think they are a great team. They have great servers, and they run a lot of different plays. So we really have to stay ready, and out blockers have to be aware on where to go. I think a lot of it will come down to serving and passing, and I think if we stay ready then it should be a very good game."
On setting against a tough blocking team like Florida State:
"I have complete confidence in my hitters, and I know whatever ball I give them, they are going to take great swings and hit smart shots. They are very physical blockers, but if we take aggressive swings, I think our hitters will find ways to score."
Minnesota Pre-Tournament Press Conference Quotes
Head Coach Laura Bush
"We are really excited to be here for the regional. The players and coaches had goals at the start of the season, one was to be seeded so we could have the first and second round at home and move past for the regional. It is nice after having 15 of our first 21 games on the road to end this part of our season at home."
On what it means to play at home:
"You are in front of our home crowd, the students get to go to class no matter if they like it or not. They get to keep a routine instead of packing up a suitcase and jumping on a plane or bus. It is really the first time we have been able to stay here and have some consistent practices."
On practice this week:
"It has been really good. I think it has been some of our best practices that has happened this past week and we haven't been able to have this type of consistency since the start of the school year. It is nice to see the competition on the court and see the focus and enthusiasm out there."
On similarities to 2009 team that went onto the Final Four:
"One, we get to be home for the regional, two there is a lot of enthusiasm at this time of the year. They are a very engaging bunch and they are learning more rapidly than we have all season and that is a tribute to (the team)."
On leadership of the seniors:
"Going into half-time against Washington the coaches had not come out yet and (the seniors) were talking about the importance of every single touch and playing for your life basically because if we do lose this match we will be done. It inspired a lot of the players to get to the next point and make sure that every touch matters."
On leadership compared to last year:
"I would say that there is a little more just because we do have the three seniors compared to the one that was on last year's team. I think all of our seniors are motivating us to step up. It is just different having three versus one.
On having regional experience going into Friday's match:
"Coming in with experience is always better than coming in with no experience. With that it allows me to be comfort, I know I have to settle the nerves to get through the next game. We can't look to far in advance because if we do that then we might get upset. I want to win and get to the next step with our team. Every single touch matters."
Iowa State Pre-Tournament Press Conference Quotes
Head Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch
"We are pretty excited to be here this weekend, I think I can speak for all of us. After last year's loss in the first round I think we learned not to take anything for granted. We had advanced to the Sweet 16 three years in a row and I think we had gotten use to it a little bit and thought that would happen every year. I think we learned from it a little bit. We have to continue to work hard and be ready for every single match in the NCAA tournament. We are excited to be here and we are excited for the challenge."
On how Minnesota looks on film:
"(They look like a) very big athletic team. Ashley Wittman is a great outside go-to man for them. Harms seems to be playing pretty well lately. They have some nice offensive options, Tori Dixon in the middle obviously. There libero is good and they are a solid all-around team that is athletic."
On what Iowa State has an advantage over Minnesota:
"I think we have been known for blocking and defense. We hope that we can do that well tomorrow night."
On a team Minnesota mirrors to an opponent they faced this year:
"I just told the team that they are a lot like Florida, a really nice athletic team that is going to bounce the ball on occasion and we talked about maintaining our composer all night."
On teammates that have impressed you this year:
"Losing two All-Americans last year, I think everyone was questioning how we would be this year. Kristen Hahn has rally filled-in to Ashley Mass' shoes and Kelsey Petersen, she has really stepped-up."
On teammates that have impressed you this year:
"I agree with (coach), I think everyone has work, so hard this year and everyone has been so supportive. I feel that across the team everyone has made great improvements. (Victoria Hurtt) has really impressed me, I did not know a lot about her, but she works really hard and everyone has been supportive of her.
Wilhite, Seliger-Swenson Garner Weekly Awards
Wilhite was named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week, while Seliger-Swenson was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Gophers earn No. 2 seed in NCAA Tournament
Minnesota will host the first and second rounds at the Sports Pavilion, hosting Jackson State, UNI and Marquette.
Gopher Volleyball Wins Big Ten Title
Minnesota wins its first Big Ten Conference championship title since 2002 and went 18-2 in league action.