IPFW National Collegiate Championship Pre-Semifinal Quotes
Head Coach Arnie Ball
How is this team different from the other ones you have brought here?
This team is quite a bit younger and Serdar [Sikca] is the only starting senior for the group. Ití»s a team that has really come together in the last two months of the year. Every year we have gone to this thing, we have had some type of major injury. We had to re-think lineups. We are as healthy as can be after three months of playing. This is probably the closest knit group we have had in the tournament. If I knew the secret to that, I wouldní»t be here, I would be writing a book for every coach in the world because this is kind of a dream team in that regard. Last week, one of the players said we have to beat Loyola on Saturday because we really doní»t want to not be around one another. This is a pretty special trait to this team.
Talk about turning the season aroundíş
I think our season began to turn around when we beat Ohio State, considering what we were down. We had some kids come in off the bench and that really picked us up. The way we came back in that match gave us a lot of confidence to establish more depth on our team. This is another match in our pursuit to win an actual championship. Ií»ve been doing this for 26 years, and the goal has always been to be in the position to win a national championship and once you get here thatí»s exactly what you are intending to do.
How do you match up with UCLA?
Size-wise, we are similar. Serdar matches up against their middle hitter and our center is just as big if not bigger than theirs. I think both teams depend a lot on their service game and it is going to depend on who serves well. It is no secret we have to establish our middle. I think we mirror one another a great deal. We played a really good schedule, and the match-ups were very good.
What do you think of this site as the venue?
It is a lot better than having to play at UCLA. They are on our time zone instead of us being on their time zone, and we have played in this arena a lot. We are excited about having the opportunity to play here instead of having to travel out west.
Sr., MH, Serdar Sikca
What do you think about the teamí»s relationships with one another?
I think coach is right on. I have been here four years, and I saw a lot of teams that were not as close knit. We never get sick of each other, and we hang out on and off the court. That transfers into the court when you are playing other teams.
How important is blocking going to be?
It is no secret that blocking is one of our strongest areas, and we need to establish our blocking. Ií»m sure they are going to try and run a quick offense, and we need to establish our serving in order to set up a good block. I think we only got out-blocked once or twice this season considering the teams we played.
So., OH, C.J. Macias
Was there one particular point this year that really sparked the teamí»s togetherness?
Even in fall training, everyone got along real well. We all developed friendships on and off the court. When we lost to Long Beach in five games, I think that was the turning point in our season and if we played together and played loose we could win. Are you intimidated at all by facing a program like UCLA? They have a long history in the Final Four, but they have a new team. Everyone is exploring new territory, and we have coaches who have been here before. If we treat it like another match, we should be OK.