NCAA Regional Semifinals (13) Iowa State vs. (4) Minnesota
- Minnesota is 4-1 NCAA Regional matches at the Sports Pavilion - The Gophers are 34-17 all-time in the NCAA Tournament - Minnesota is 16-2 in NCAA Tournament matches at the Sports Pavilion. Iowa State is the only team to defeat the Gophers in the Sports Pavilion in NCAA Tournament play doing so this year and in the second round in 2008 - The Gophers are 7-3 in their last nine NCAA Regional matches dating back to 2003. - Minnesota is 22-10 against Iowa State - Minnesota was making its ninth NCAA Regional appearance since 1999 - Minnesota has eight service aces in the first two sets, but did not register one in the final two sets. - Hailey Cowles had her ninth double-figure kills match, and her fifth double-double of the season. - Cowles 15 kills were one off a season-high - Katherine Harms had her second double-double of the season, and 18th double-figure kill match. - Ashley Wittman had her 30th double-figure kill match of the season - Mia Tabberson ties a career-high in service aces with three. - Ariana Filho had three service aces and nine kills in her final career match.- Jessica Granquist had 11 digs in her final career match at Minnesota - Granquist finishes her career third on the Minnesota digs list with 1,737 for the season - Ashley Wittman finished her first two years with 998 career kills. She ranks second all-time in career kills after her first two years.
Opening statement: "I'm really proud of the team this year. The things that I think everyone else thought would adversely affect them--from Mike Hebert leaving to Hugh McCutcheon delaying for a year to come in, and hiring me and having a new staff, and Tabi Love leaving and all that stuff--the team stayed a course and stayed strong, and I'm really proud of them. It didn't go the way we wanted it to at the end of this match, but what I said to them in the locker room was that we went down swinging. It's a lot to be proud of for the season, individually to be proud of. This is a team that will have a banner up in the Pavilion, Sweet 16, and we'll have 2011 NCAA Tournament. We'll have a picture of reaching the NCAA Tournament out in the hallway, and we'll have two Big Ten honoree pictures. They have fulfilled, in a lot of ways, the role of being a Minnesota volleyball player. They should not leave here with their heads low. They should be held high, and be very proud of their accomplishments this season."
On starting strong and then playing closer, as a pattern throughout the season: "We've also lost two sets and come back strong in three, four, and five. I think inconsistency has been part of the season. I think it's been part of a lot of programs this season. ....The game that Iowa State was going to play was a fast transition, and they were able to do that in the third set, and we just didn't respond very well to that. We tried to use some different sub lineups in there, and that didn't quite fit, and then their outside hitters got hot and were able to take advantage of our block. I do think in the fourth set, I saw a lot of good fight."
On her performance as a bridge between Mike Hebert and herself: "I did my best in every way. I don't think I've ever worked harder in my entire life--and can honestly say that--nor asked a staff to commit as much as they committed this year. As far as the bridge--I told my team this--we met the marks that I knew we needed to meet for this to be the bridge. Maybe anything extra would have been the cherry on top of the sundae. ...I think the program is in a good position when Hugh takes it over."
On what changed after the first set: "We came out pretty strong in the first set. We were serving them pretty tough. We got a couple aces on them, and kind of just ran a bit. In the second set, they got a little momentum going, started serving a bit tougher, got us out of system a little bit. Their outsides started to get hot. They have two very good outsides. I think we did a good job of fighting back throughout the last three games, but they played really well, so we have to give them some credit here."
On whether the Gophers' struggles or Iowa State's stepping up played a bigger role: "I think it has to do with both. Obviously if they serve a little tougher, it took us a little bit of time to get adjusted to their tougher serves. They served at a very fast pace, and it took us a little bit longer than we wanted to adjust to it."
On the Gophers' aggressive serving game: "We knew that they ran a quick middle offense. The only way to get them out of that was to serve aggressively. That's kind of one of our mottoes. ....When they were out of system, we could definitely take advantage of them. But they were in the system a few more times than we were."
On whether the aggressive serving approach hurt Minnesota at the end, with errors: "No, I don't. I think that when we got what we wanted, when we got our aces and we got them out of system--and we have to know going into it that we are going to make some service errors--we're going for that one-to-one service ace-error ratio. We're going to keep competing for that knowing that we're going to have some errors in the long stretch. They had errors as well at the end of that fourth set."