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Dec. 15, 2007
Opening Statement: Russ Rose (Head Coach)
"Well I thought it had a couple of different matches in there. I thought the first couple of games had a pretty even level of play. I don't think it was the best level that either team could play but we gritted it out and played hard enough to get those two games. In the next couple of games as you would expect from a great team like Stanford, they kept fighting and we ran into a few passing problems and had some challenges along the way, and I thought we lost our composure a little bit in the fourth game. But we hit .368 and lost and they hit .535 and had no hitting errors in the fourth game so it doesn't really make a difference who's on the other side of the net when somebody hits .535. In the fifth game I felt we didn't have the momentum, but there was no reason to think we didn't have a chance, and that's what I said. I thought we took control, we had a few touches and it's all about converting at that time and I thought we did a good job converting. Alisha had two or three kills, one catch and release, and we played hard at the time we needed to play hard. Certainly the people that are up here tonight did a great job at some of the skills that we count on them to do. That's why they work hard. That was the goal. The goal was to be the national champion and that's what we talked about and that's what we tried to do in putting this team together was to compete at the highest level. We won the match, we won the national championship and talk to the players, they're the ones that did it."
Alisha Glass (Sophomore Setter) On the efficiency of the passers
throughout the tournament
"If you look at our team, when we do pass well we're hard to stop. And the times when we were strong was when we were passing. When the team is passing well it's fun to watch and it's fun to run the offense and mix things up a little bit. I think we had some streaks where we did struggle with passing a little bit but all in all I think we did pass well and that gives you the ability to do whatever you want as a setter."
Alisha Glass (Sophomore Setter) On what the mood of the team was like
before Game 5
"We didn't really want to look at the momentum. We just wanted to start from the beginning of game 5. I think we came into this match wanting to win a national championship and in between those games we just said Oelook, we're here, we got here, this is our goal and who says we're not going to come out and be strong.' We did and we won so I think it was a collective effort from everyone; our bench, our fans, everyone understood that we wanted to get it done and it was nice that we could."
Megan Hodge (Sophomore Outside Hitter) On the feeling of winning a
National Championship and being named MVP
"As far as the award, that doesn't matter. We got here as a team so all of the awards are nice but that's not what it's about. At this moment, I guess it hasn't really sunk in yet that we won. It's just kind of a surreal feeling- it's great, I'm on a high I guess. It's great."
Russ Rose (Head Coach) On the difference in the team now from when they
lost to Stanford earlier in the season
"I thought earlier in the year it was Ari (Wilson's) first match that she started. We were up 2-1 and had opportunities in the fourth game to win the match. This evening we scored two points more than the other team in total points so it was really a situation where, with rally scoring, there's ebbs and flows and you have to try to keep your head about you when things are going bad. We didn't relax when we were up 2-0. You don't get here by having that as one of your traits. And Stanford being down 0-2, they wouldn't get here having a trait like that where they would give up. So when things were going bad we knew we still had a fifth game. We train hard and we believe that we have an opportunity against everyone we play. We play in a great conference where we play back-to-back nights against great teams and good crowds, so I don't think the crowd was a factor. The opportunity was out there and we seized it."
Christa Harmotto (Junior Middle Hitter) On the difference from Game 4 to
"You can never really predict what lineup you're going to be against. We knew on a good pass they were going to try to run middle, especially since Foluke was in the front row. So I think we did a good job as far as talking to our blockers front row, and I think our defense really picked up as far as making some great defensive plays and we were able to get some strength from that."
Russ Rose (Head Coach) On the rotation matchup in Game 5
"Christa in the left front is good for us. I thought even in the fourth game where we were struggling to hit .380, they couldn't stop her. So I wanted to go with that. One of our plans was to recognize the fact that Foluke is a great offensive player and we didn't have any interest in saying Oelet's think about stopping her.' She could hit a kill every time but the goal is to win a national championship. That's not to say we ignored her. We put two people on her on good passes in some situations but in a short game I think you want to feel comfortable with what you're doing. I thought we had all the opportunities to sub the people we wanted and I think we just got good touches. We had some conversion opportunities and we got those. We could have picked a certain lineup that might not have worked and tonight it worked. When we played Stanford last time we hit negative in the fifth game and tonight they hit negative in the fifth game. So that might be just the difference that comes right out at me."
Russ Rose (Head Coach) On the match being a virtual home game for Stanford
and on Penn State representing the rest of the country
"I don't want to comment about the Pac-10 because I'm not an expert about the Pac-10 and I don't feel I'm an expert on the Big 10. There's a lot of great teams and a lot of great players and great coaches around the country. There's a lot of people that maybe don't feel that way, but I feel that way. I coach Penn State and I care about Penn State and if Penn State's not in it I care about other Big 10 teams because I'm a loyal guy."
Russ Rose (Head Coach) On how much time is left in his coaching career
"I don't really know. At a time like this I'm excited for the players and for all the fans and having won a championship before, I just know how excited all the Penn Staters are from around the country because I hear from so many of them. I had a 100 and something text messages before I got to the locker room, and I don't have a text messaging plan. So that's a problem. I'm not looking to say Oethat's what I wanted to do.' I wanted my kids to play hard. If we had to start practice tomorrow I'd go in there and chew on some ass and get after them again because that's what I do."
Megan Hodge (Sophomore Outside Hitter) On the strong hitting and serving
which both set tournament records
"I think that's something we definitely stress in practice every day. Serving- we go through plenty of reps serving and coach always talks to us about how our hitting percentage needs to be high because that's how you win. So I think that's just what we've focused on and that's what's gotten us to this point."
Russ Rose (Head Coach) On the decision not to redshirt Arielle Wilson
"It sure makes me look like I was an idiot considering it right? I mean she hit what, .500, .600, .900 in one of the matches in the playoffs. But those things happen because other people allow it to happen. The staff works hard, the passing is good, Alisha continues to develop. And Arielle as she said last weekend when she was MVP, OeI just hit over them.' That sums it up. She gets up, likes to hit and that's the beauty of what she does. She needs to learn a lot of other things about the game. But the rally score game is still a strange animal to me. We had conversations as a staff about it. We had the same questions last year because I redshirted Blair Brown when she was my best blocker and we needed blocking at that position. And I think that'll prove to be a good decision. But Arielle plays great. She's fresh. I'm not surprised about any of the things she's doing and I hope she continues to get better. It proves to be a very good decision. When we were discussing it, I was going home and my 12-year old son told me Oeyou can't redshirt her,' so he broke the tie I guess."