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DI Volleyball Championship Post-Game Press Conference

DI Volleyball Championship Post-Game Press Conference


COACH ELLIOTT: Yeah, I COACH ELLIOTT: Yeah, I first w
ould like to thank the NCAA, they ran would like to thank the
NCAA, they ran an unbelievable event here today would like to thank the
NCAA, they ran an unbelievable event here today. Along with
the events
event staff. The Nebraska fans were fantastic. When we arrived today there was they were three
deep and cheering for us and saying good luck They ran an unbelievable event
here today. Along with the event staff. The Nebraska fans
were fantastic. When we arrived deep and cheering for us and
saying good luck. And it’s great to see where the sport is
going, to have this kind of fan base, ,
along with the event staff. The Nebraska fans
were fantastic. When we arrived deep and cheering for us and
saying good luck. And it’s great to see where the sport is
going, to have this kind of fan base,
and showing the rest of the knack
knack and everybody else about how the sport is growing is
tremendous , they were three
deep and cheering for us and saying good luck. And it’s
great to see where the sport is going,
to have this kind of fan base, and showing the rest of the
knack knack and everybody else about
how the sport is growing is tremendous. My hat goes off to
Nebraska. I thought they sport is going, to have
this kind of fan base, and showing the rest of the knack
knack and everybody else about how the
sport is growing is tremendous. My
hat goes off to Nebraska. I thought they played phenomenal.
John would say this is probably as
good as they played consist at any
time /HRAOE all season long. They never cracked. Their s
ideout percentage was remarkable. All
the way through about halfway until game three a little bit,
but would say this is probably as
good as they played consist at any time
/HRAOE all season long. They never
cracked. Their sideout percentage was remarkable. All
the way through about halfway until game
three a little bit, but they were in the pressure of siding
out and we weren’t able it get any runs going. But more
importantly, I’m just more proud of
this team, my seniors have created a culture that has never
been created before in determines
terms of the chemistry and the trust and
unity. We had it
get any runs going. But more importantly, I’m just more proud of this team, my seniors have
created a culture that has never the chemistry and the trust and
unity. We had some injuries early on and they just stuck
together pressure of siding out and we
weren’t able it get any runs going. But more importantly,
I’m just more proud of this team, my
seniors have created a culture that has never been created
before in terms of the chemistry and
the trust and unity. We had some
injuries early on and they just stuck together and battled and
they got themselves to play in this title match. I tell them
all the time, I won be upset if you
give me everything you have and they gave me everything they had
tonight. And it’s just sad and for me to see the tears in
their eyes and the relationships that we have
coming to an end in terms of the season
and not getting what they ultimately upset
if you give me everything you have and they gave me
everything they had tonight. And it’s just sad and it hurts
for me to see the tears in their
eyes and the relationships that we
have coming to an end in terms of the season and not getting
what they ultimately desired. But
reflecting on the match, immediately
right now, I just felt Nebraska played well, I thought we played well for spurts and and we lost that we have coming to an end
in terms of the season and not getting what they
ultimately desired. But r eflecting on
the match, immediately right now, I just felt Nebraska played well, I thought we played well
for spurts and and we lost lost the
first two games buy two points and we were on the other side of the coin the other night. So, I
just love my /TEPL and will have
my university and these players that are sitting up here.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions, please.
Q. side of the coin the other
night. So, I just love my /TEPL these players that are sitting
up here.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions, please. team
and love my players. Q.
Q. In the third set you dialed your lineup so that you
would, as it turned out among other things, have your freshmen matchup with their freshmen.
What were you thinking, what do you
think the results were, with that decision?
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, what I was thinking was Foecke was
on fire. She was hitting.562, so we were trying to slow her
down of the she ended up hitting.385
on the match. We were able it her a little bit more. But she
was the difference maker in the match. We didn’t have an
answer. So we were just trying slow her down a little bit and
give ourselves an opportunity to get
some more transition points. Because that’s where we were
struggling. Q. the seniors, can you put into
words the emotions of this loss ?
MOLLY MCCAGE: Not in a short sentence, but I can tell
you right now I wish I was not a senior. I wish that I had more time with this team. I think
that not only the volleyball part
like besides that just the relationships I have with these
players is incredible and the bond we
had /H had with our coaches was different
than any other year that I’ve been here. The The amount
I’m going to miss them is insane. The thing
I’m going to miss the most is just fun I had with them and I
wish we could have won a national championship. But I
regret nothing with this group, I
think that they’re incredible and the best team I’ve ever been
a part of. And I agree with
everything that square are the said.
AMY NEAL: Same .
Q. Q. You guys were down 2-0, backs
against the wall, what was your message to your team as you
head to the locker room? COACH ELLIOTT: We said we were
going to put the dial up more. We wanted to get more
middle right side involved with our
offense in transition or our out of system getting Yaazie a
couple more swings over there. Because
we were having a hard time scoring out of system. It’s one
of the areas that we kind of struggled with, some of the
personnel. We didn’t have a lot of
back row options in three of the rotations to get us out of some of those situations. But I felt
like I told them I said, hey, we’re battling this, I think
they’re playing out of their mind and
we just got to stay with the mission and stay focused about
what we’re doing and see if we can
serve a little bit better and do system. But it was a 2-0 games,
we weren’t far behind than being up
2-0. Q. time you’ve played Nebraska,
what was the biggest difference between the first match and this match?
MOLLY MCCAGE: Of this year? They were just in system
constantly, so and they were not high error. I felt like the
last time we played them we were able
to just sneak in and make long runs for ourselves. But this
time we played them, they were their
sideout game was incredible. So , we tried to manage our game,
but they were just, they were on
fire and they were really good. Q. to serve just maybe a little
bit tougher to get them out of system as a good passing team
but also a very physical team and
did you feel like you could have from the service line?
COACH ELLIOTT: We tried everything of the — the only
thing we didn’t do was serve short. Statistically that we
had the way that they pass and stayed in
system with short serves we didn’t feel like that was an
option. We moved over from I don’t
know how many understand this but over to zone five to zone
one, to try to pull them off, got
their percentages down a little bit
many the reality is their sideout percentage was good, we
were getting opportunities to score,
we just couldn’t score out of system. That was the biggest
thing early only. Our lefts had a time with the side block and
they were playing great defense If you would have asked me
before I would say that we were
managing our game a little bit better at
least from our side than we have we did tonight and I would say
Nebraska usually makes a few more hitting errors and gives
you points at times and tonight they
were under 12 percent hitting errors their kill percentage was
great and they played phenomenal.
Sometimes you run into a team that plays that well and feeding
off that crowd for themselves was
great, but we didn’t, it was a discussion we were having as a
staff. I don’t know what else we
could have done .
Q. somebody would have told you
back when you had had the big
injuries, you lost the three time Big-12
Player of the Year if somebody would have said you would get
here. I know you wanted to win it,
would you have said hey, that’s a
great finish for this group? COACH ELLIOTT: Well, yeah, I
mean here’s what I can tell but this group:they have got
some magic between them. About what
they were able to do. And as coaches you start looking on
paper of what you have and saying wow
this is going to be a difficult run, I don’t know if we can put
the pieces together to win the Big-12, because we got to be
consistent for so many matches. And
then have a chance to make a run in the tournament. Obviously,
you wonder, and this team more so than any team that I’ve ever
coached took me for a ride. They instilled confidence in me,
made me believe in them, I really
didn’t have to do too much with this
group in terms of managing them. They did it on their own.
They made me believers. And I felt
like tonight we could win this match. So at the beginning of
the year I would have said, on paper, no, we wouldn’t be in
this position. Not even close. And
the road that we had to get here was not easy. Probably it was
the toughest of all the teams, with playing Purdue and then
UCLA and then Florida and then
Minnesota. This team was good in the
crunch and I was just hoping we would get one of those games to
give ourself an opportunity to have Nebraska question
themselves a little bit, because they were
just so on fire .
Q. matches of the season in
the Final Four. Any explanation for how you just came alive and dominated out there these two
games? YAASMEEN BEDART-GHANI: Well my
team is really helped me build over the season, just like
taking one game at a time. That’s been the biggest thing is
just I know /STEULG confidence in
me. This was the place to do it. I just, I was given the
chance to step up.
Q. Q.
Q. Foecke was the MO P and she’s a
freshman. You had to have had some sort of a plan for
her. What did you plan and what
do you think she did to be able to be so successful?
COACH ELLIOTT: Each team has their /SEUS Tums and
they’re routines or their routes that they run and we have the
tendencies in terms of what we want to be able to stop. Look,
when they’re the finals for a r eason they have got good balance
, they have got a lot of players
that can hurt you, and we, when we
talk about being in system, if you’re in 75 percent of the time with which they were the a
majority of match it’s going to be hard
to stop. So, because of the speed of the set and all that.
And so we have some size issues with
our team. That’s one of the concerns that we had. Amy’s not
real tall, Chloe we is not real become a lot bigger than they
were. Compared to if we were a little
bit longer and lengthier. So the
difference is, can we get a little bit longer and language
key year which we plan on doing here
, but I didn’t think she would be hitting the numbers that she hit
tonight, that’s for sure. But I’m sure people didn’t think
Yaazie was going to put up the numbers she did the last two
nights either. So it’s what the NCAA
tournament is about, what’s making it special, and different players get on fire on different
nights and congratulations to her.
Q. Amy because he said they got
to get bigger and language key year but you’ve had a career
where people look the at at your
height and say no way can she be /A an
elite team, action be an outside and I mean this do you
want to take or tell us what you think a
five nine potential out hit playing college volleyball
should be thinking? AMY NEAL: I’m did he have neat
net /HRAOE not going to be mad at what he said he gave
me the opportunity to hit and he succeed being you know sized.
It’s obvious that I’m under sized,
I’m not going to deny that, because
it’s hard to block these six three mid /TKELS, but just I
think that hitters that are undersized
need to be smart and Jerritt always talks about making the
block as your friend and using your
volleyball IQ to out smart the other team if you see open shots whenever you’re hitting you have
to look at the block you just can’t blast away in the mid
tells or you’re going to get looped.
So the biggest thing I learned is you just have to be confident
, you can’t be scared because your
/UR your undersized, just go out and prove
these big hitters long that’s my if I have right thing that I
liked to do. COACH ELLIOTT: By to no means
was that a diss disk on Amy .
She knows that I would go to war with /HERBGS especially right
now after the four years and we have
got a unique relationship, it’s where we are. But again she’s a special player and where she’s
come from, from the start of her transformation I’ve ever had as
a coach and I know that when I
look her in the eye, that we have a
forever relationship. That we’ll be away from volleyball,
I’m sure we’ll be having dinners and
shield be spending time at her gym and doing that. And that’s
really what the coaching is about
is you got to take the relationships to it and making a
n impact on these young women and I know
that she walks away a much better
person than she was when she came in .
Q. special to you new interest at
that lies she can? []? COACH ELLIOTT: No, I think
Chiaka knew at that lies dollars Chiaka. She questioned
herself and speeds changed and she
got tight and didn’t have a grit much for her /-FPLTD when you
lose that position, where it’s so you’ve been where she’s been
so good all tournament, it’s a c
hallenge .
Q. Molly, now that it, you know,
it’s finished, you still have these most wins in program
history, the four final fours, can you
just put that in perspective and you
do have a national championship that you guys won. Just put in
perspective what these four years have been like.
MOLLY MCCAGE: Yeah for sure, I think that it’s a
testament to all the hard work that we have put in with our
team but also we have had great
teammates and coaches with us this
whole time. Just being able to play with these girls has been
absolutely amazing. There’s so many times where people doubted
us and we just believed and fought
as a team. And I absolutely love
that about this team and I’m so happy that /EU I ended with
this team here .
Q. defensively tonight that really
stifled you guys and kept you guys on your heels?
AMY NEAL: I honestly think just playing defense. I
think that they would get a good dig or a good touch on the
block and they would comeback just
slinging away. And I just think they
weren’t timid at all and just c ame out and weren’t, they
weren’t afraid. Their defense and
touches and passing was incredible and
that’s what made them succeed, I think.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you all.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports…. parent.
MOLLY MCCAGE: This is Mikaela Foecke.
AMY NEAL: This is Kelly Hunter. amber Rolfzen.
COACH ELLIOTT: This is Coach Cook.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and get started with an
opening statement from coach HUNTER: This is Kelly Hunter. AMBER ROLFZEN: Is is amber
Rolfzen. COACH COOK: This is Coach Cook. THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead
and get started with an opening statement from coach.
COACH COOK: Well , it’s hard to put into words
the environment tonight, the setting
, Nebraska versus Texas, and the match, ESPN, the whole,
everything else that went with it. For us
to come out and play a great match
against a great team it was just awesome to see
. It was just awesome to watch. So I can say
I’m really proud, which I am, but
I’m really more proud of this team on the journey they have
they took to get to this point and to be able to
come out and trust it and play best match.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.
Q. Mikaela did to have the
kind of offense success she D like specifically what was she
doing and then I would also like Kelly
to respond to that, too. What were you doing that you think
allowed Mikaela to do so well? COACH COOK: Well, we had a
pretty good matchup in the first two games and Texas
rotated and tried to get 27 and because
I don’t know how to pronounce her name, but so they changed
that matchup in game three. And it w
orked a little bit. Mikaela slowed down. But /SHAOFS on
fire the first two games and her rhythm and I think that and I
see Mikaela do this over and over
this season, so this wasn’t anything
new. But we have seen her do that in some other big matches.
And she’s just a powerful hitter and
she uses the whole court and she
was on fire tonight. KELLY HUNTER: I’ll echo what
coach said. At first Mikaela was up on a smaller
block can he, so obviously that’s a
little bit easier than having a big blocker in her face, but all season Mikaela and I we have
just been talking about what kind of
ball she needs and I think we figured it out and it’s been
clicking at the end of the season and it obviously helped
and worked tonight.
Q. about /TPAEURG well in the
championship points. This was a match where the first two sets
were tied into the 20s. What did you guys do to be able to
execute sort of on those knife edge points?
COACH COOK: My whole message tonight was we do four
drills pretty much every day in practice and I call them
national championship drills. And I told
them, I said, just pretend you’re
in the drill, because it’s going to happen. And every situation where it was close, the
situations those drills that we work on
happened and we executed. I said just trust your training
that you’ve been doing for the last
three months and we executed r eally
well. Q. that you guys are very
physical and but you passed tonight to stay in system and it
seems like all season you guys have
been a very good passing team. Can
you talk about the importance of that in what you do in training and how it translates to this?
COACH COOK: Well, I learned , I probably learned, we
learned a lot last year how important passing was, because
we got the regional finals and we lost
10 matches last year. And our passing broke down. So, we made
a commitment we were going to become a great passing team and
we designed a system that I thought allowed us to have the
best passers on the court and sometimes we only passed with
two, but those two are great passers. Ankle /HRAOE doesn’t
move her feet very well to get to
the ball so I told our team we got to pass her perfect, so.
KELLY HUNTER: /O*U. (Laughter.)
COACH COOK: But if you can pass to get the setter in a
rhythm and we can spread the attack, and those guys did a
great job. They have all year of the
I cannot remember a match where we
— about the last game I can remember is against Kansas we
broke down a little bit in game three.
But we have been really solid all year in that area.
Q. championship this year and
given everything you have coming back next year, when does the
talk for back to back start? COACH COOK: I’m not going to go
there. I’ve been through that. And each team’s a
new team and a new journey and but we’ll start on that in
January. But we’re going to lose four great seniors who,
two of them had very important roles in
practice and off the court in Meghan and Alicia and [] again,
if you could have seen our last
match against Penn State when I put a
/HRAE /SHA in, the crowd went nuts with the big O and it shows
you how much respect she has and
she’s going to start basketball practice tomorrow, ankle see
Fien who for two years didn’t play think against Kansas and the
final point tonight. And just to see
her development was really rewarding as a coach. And CeCe
haul played her two best matches she’s been an up-and-down middle for us and I always would kid her that
you know, it Europeans don’t understand what this is
about and this national championship. But I think CeCe
has been around us long enough and
the fact she’s been around Nebraska, I think she really
understood what this all means and how much
it means and to see her play like
she did tonight was, it was one of the highlights for me this
season. Q. /HRARBGS can you talk
about the confidence you’ve had as a young player and
especially to come into a stage like
this and then john, if you could follow just how confident she
has been as a youngster.
MIKAELA FOECKE: I think I get a lot of confidence from
my teammates ankle /HRAOE sets the ball really well and we have
so many great players that I’m not
afraid to go up and swing because
I know that they have my back. Justine tells me every time, I
got your back. Swing hard. Like
I’m going to cover you. And that’s
just really reassuring as a hitter to know that your team’s
right behind you.
COACH COOK: My shell, one thing we talk about is being
resilient and when things aren’t going well, can you stay in the fight. And Mikaela’s a natural
at it. And I never see her get down, I have never seen her get
down in practice. She’s just very
positive and going on to the next point. And I think that
not only helps her as a player but I
actually think it really helps other players on our team and
problem helps me a lot because the
longer you coach you start seeing all the things you do w
rong and it’s nice to see people that are
believing they’re going to win the next point.
Q. remember about winning a
championship in your hometown? KELLY HUNTER: There was one
point I don’t know when it was but I know Amy Neal was back
to serve I think we had game point and I can’t remember who
said it but they said I thought my
eardrums were going to pop. And just playing in front of the
fans that we get to play in front of
every home match is honestly unreal and a lot of teams don’t
see that. And just knowing that we’re losing or winning, it just means so much to have that fan
support behind us. Q. key to this match would be
attacking the red zone and winning the system battle the.
It looks look
h tle. You controlled those two areas?
COACH COOK: I would like to have had Kadie get a few
more kills in the red son but Texas did a nice job on her, but
I think the key was — and 27 had
11 kills tonight, hit.500. So most of her swings were over
there. So but I think we touched
their mid /TKELS on their slides and they got a couple nice
kills, but we slowed them down and got
some touches and our mid tells I percentage behind Kelly tonight.
A couple times they had two
blockers out that they were trapping it
and amber and CeCe still found a way to get a kill. So, I felt
like we held our own and Texas probably had the advantage on us
in that area, but we held our own
enough tonight and I think we definitely won the out of system
battle. I think we won most of those rallies might have been
worth two points, because it got the
crowd energized and it probably deflated Texas a little bit,
because they were working so hard and
to lose that rally. So that’s what I told the team, I we got
to win that out of system battle
tonight. Q. in Nebraska, you’ve been
surrounded by the whole Nebraska Texas thing and amber you
played in matches the last couple years
where Texas has been really successful against Nebraska, for
both of you, what does it mean to
you? Does it mean anything extra to be able to win this
title against Texas ?
AMBER ROLFZEN: Yeah, obviously I know that that rivalry
is there but never being in the Big-12 I never really knew what
it was like. But we always know
that there’s those teams that the
crowd’s going to get really riled up for and this is one of
them. I think they are one of the why
we did so well. They were behind
us the whole time, they never gave up on us we never gave up
on ourselves and that’s just a
really great feeling to beat arrival.
KELLY HUNTER: I just got like texts and tweets from
everyone like you need to beat Texas. Like amber said we
weren’t a part of that rivalry but I
know coach said it before it’s part
of our DNA as being from Nebraska. So you can just feel
that rivalry out there.
Q. . One, besides Kelly’s foot
work, can you talk about her match tonight and her overall
season as your starting setter?
COACH COOK: Well, I red shirted her last year and I told
the ESPN people when they /EUPBLT viewed me that I thought
it was one of the way she handled it
was one of the greatest examples of
a player trusting a decision, a very tough decision, because I
think Kelly felt leak she could have played last year. But we
that was best for the program and we did it. She never
batted an eye and she worked hard. Tonight, typically we try
to have a game plan and I try to
give her feedback but tonight I said
very little to her, because I just felt like she was seeing it
tan she was in a rhythm and she was magical tonight setting
the ball. And she’s, there were three
All-American setters here this weekend
weekend, Kelly’s not one of them , but she’s a national champion
setter. Q.
Q. I can’t remember being at a Final Four press conference
like this where the most valuable player has not gotten
more . So, please Mikaela, would you help me with one other thing here. You walk in there,
it’s the largest crowd in NCAA history, every reason to be
scared out of your witnesses b ecause
they’re all Nebraska /-PBS of a, that’s not necessarily a great
thing, but were you nervous, and if no, why not, and if yes, how did you get over it?
MIKAELA FOECKE: No, I was not nervous. I think it was
because I know that those 16,000 fans that were out there
tonight were all supporting us and had
our backs. We wanted it just as make it’s a lot more easy to
play .
[] [] [] Q. .
Q. Amber, Texas has these great middle blockers, what’s the
satisfaction that you guys were both able to slow them down and
then yourself get some kills on the slide play tonight?
AMBER ROLFZEN: Well like coach said, there’s the four
drills we do every day, so before our match today coach
said one of the big keys is going to be
middle versus middle. We knew that
they were mid tells were probably their go toss if they
had a perfect pass and in order it to
beat them we had to slow them did
you know and I think me and CeCe and our pin block /TKERS as
well did a great job of slowing them
down and stopping their game. Q. tickets were being /RAOE
sold for or some of them anyway, is /SKAL pink now a reality in
Nebraska women’s volleyball? COACH COOK: It’s actually been
going on for a long time. I can remember when we were in
the coliseum, opinion state, 3 hundred bucks, . Of course
there was a lot less tickets. But I
know, I know there was, we our director of /O*PS /HREUPBD see
was getting bombarded for ticket
requests. Before Thursday’s match
and then the last two days. I t’s a billing big deal
in this state. It’s pretty cool though that women’s
volleyball people are /SKAL pink And I think they got their money
‘s worth tonight. I think it was a
great match and great environment. It’s great support
the sport. KELLY HUNTER: I just think it’s
crazy to hear not only that those tickets are being
/SKAL /-PD but what they were going
for /-PLT of because the demand was just crazy, just because
everyone in this state wanted to be here. That to me was like
the craziest part about it, was how
much they were going for. Q.
Q. (No microphone.) COACH COOK: I heard /# hundred
something /HERD heard 3
hundred something. 450? You heard a thousand. Wow. They
love us, I guess. (Laughter.) Q. point in the last set, they
score a couple points. What was the talk in the huddle after
you took that last timeout ?
COACH COOK: What was it amber? This is the first time
amber listened in a timeout was this one.
AMBER ROLFZEN: Well /TAOU actually I was going to say I
didn’t hear anything he said and I didn’t hear anything coach
Chris said and we looked an each other in the eye and [] we knew we had match point and we knew
we were going to win. So basic ally
it was just go out there, fight, get this next ball, because
we’re going to win.
MIKAELA FOECKE: I think no matter what was said in that
huddle there was no doubt that we were distinguishing to win
this next point and coach talkeds
about those drills we do every day.
One of them is. F B S O. And when we get that serve receive,
we want to put it away right an an
and that’s what we did. [] [] .
Q. To the best of your memory, how does this team rang as
far as a team that has improved from the start of the season to
where they ended the season? COACH COOK: It’s number one.
And I’ve been telling them that and for where we started
and then of course after Texas, I
mean that’s why we play those early season matches we got to
learn about our team and what we got
to do. Once we made that change ,
it wasn’t smooth for awhile, but ever since that Minnesota
Wisconsin weekend, this team has continued to go like this. And I’m not sure at the beginning of
the year I thought we could win a
national championship, but after that weekend and I saw what we
started doing to teams, and the level we were playing at, at
Illinois, at Purdue, Penn State, at Michigan, which was a huge
match. They just kept going like this (Indicating) and they
played a great match against Washington last week, Kansas, we weren’t super sharp. Kansas had
a lot to do with that. And we played our best match of the
year tonight. So I think you got to
say that, in my opinion, it’s the this team has really maxed
themselves out and I told you guys, you guys that cover us
every day, I can’t remember when we
have had a bad practice. And they
haven’t come in and worked and [] [] I got to kick them out of
the of the gym and they love to be
in the weight room and all that stuff. They have really
embraced the jury /TPHE and they have
worked really hard and they have improved.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you all.
COACH COOK: I just want it thank all you guys. This is
my, I don’t know how many Final Four action are but my third one here in Omaha and this is the
biggest, most intense, I feel like
there’s the most interest and ever and I just want to thank
all you guys, because this is, this
is a big time event and it feels to you guys. So thanks for all
your work and coverage of volleyball. It’s great for the
sport

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