Penn State-Stanford Women's Volleyball NCAA Championship Post-Match Quotes

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Dec. 20, 2008

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OMAHA, Neb. -

2008 NCAA Women's Volleyball National Championship Match Quotes - Penn State & Stanford

Penn State Quotes
Head Coach Russ Rose

Opening Statement
"First I want to congratulate Stanford on the great season they had. Thank you to the city of Omaha for supporting the event. I don't think it was the prettiest match to determine the national championship, but it was a match that was played very hard by both teams. I thought we hung in there defensively and gave ourselves opportunities for a chance for Megan to take big swings at the end. I thought it was a group effort in a lot of areas. It certainly wasn't a match that had the same energy from the match a couple of nights ago. That one had the significance to get us here. Tonight's has special significance, especially for the seniors."

Head Coach Russ Rose
About floor defense not getting the credit it deserved
"Certainly in comparing our statistics to other teams, it's always been a challenge. For the year we're hitting close to .400. I think over the course of the season, maybe out of the 38 matches we were outdug once the entire season. I think our defense was good, but certainly our bread and butter has been the offense and the net play and Alisha's ability to get a variety of hitters involved at the net. I think that has always been the strength of this team."

Head Coach Russ Rose
About the expectations on this year's team
"I think for people who coach they know that seasons end at a certain time, and you hope that your season ends on the last dig of the season with someone making a great play. There was certainly pressure placed on this team because of the number of people returning from last year's championship team, and the competitive level of volleyball we play in the Big Ten Conference was challenging. Last weekend playing against a great Cal team in regionals was challenging. Certainly the match Thursday night against Nebraska was an incredible match to participate in. From that standpoint there was relief. In this case there is a lot of happiness and excitement because they could look back. I told them all along all season long keep working hard. There will be a time to look back on it. Hopefully they'll look back and say that they didn't leave anything left in the tank. Certainly on Thursday night, there wasn't much left at the end."

 

 

Blair Brown
About her role in tonight's game
"It's exciting, but I want to do my part for the team. If the team needs me to have a bigger role, I want to step up and do my part."

Nicole Fawcett
About what was going through her head after she hit the ball on the last point
"Going through my head was they better call the touch. At that point it did seem like an eternity, but Megan was already celebrating, so I thought we must have gotten the point. It was good to see everyone rushing to the floor."

Alisha Glass
About special strategies or tactics used tonight
"I think that Stanford has some great players. Foluke (Akinradewo) is an amazing athlete, as well as Cynthia (Barboza) and Alix (Klineman.) They definitely had some players we needed to focus on that we needed to stop or try to slow down. That was some of the team goals. Then playing our own game and trying to win the serve and pass game. There are a lot of things we focused on, but I think we tried to do those things especially."

Megan Hodge
About the third game and whether she was determined not to have a relapse of Thursday's match
"As a team Thursday night and even last year we let off a little in the third game. It turned into a more competitive match going into five. We got it in our heads we had to get out there and play hard."

Stanford Cardinal Quotes

Head Coach John Dunning
Opening Statement
"I'd like to congratulate Penn State. Obviously they are a great team and have made history. They have great talent. They have a great coach. They are really really good, I think we gave them a battle tonight. If you take a look back at a match like this, and there are a few plays that are different, a few plays can make a difference in the match. For us, it's been an interesting journey. We're a very different team than we were last year. We were [in Omaha] for our first match this year, and we were pretty ugly. If we compare where we've come from since that time, I think our team will say that they put the hard work to get here and that they are proud of their effort ... that they love their teammates, that they will remember the experience their whole life and what more can you ask for."

Head Coach John Dunning
On Penn State's place in volleyball history
"I guess time will tell. Right now, I would say they have a record that continues. It's an amazing season that they just finished. I don't like to compare teams, personally, as I don't like to compare players because I don't think it is right or fair"

Foluke Akinradewo
On Penn State's defense and how that took Stanford out of system
"Penn State is a great team. They have a really big block and great defense behind it, so it is hard to get kills on them. But, I think our team did an amazing job on them. We kept fighting and never gave up. It's tough losing, but at the same time I am so proud of my teammates."

Alix Klineman
On the defense of Penn State took Stanford out of system
"I think everyone knows Penn State is really physical, and they put up a huge block against us. That was probably the hardest part of that match, just getting kills past their block. Like Foluke [Akinradewo] said, I am just really proud of our team for hanging in there and fighting no matter what."

Cynthia Barboza
On the play of Megan Hodge and the Penn State attack
"I think that is the nature of their offense. When they are in system, they are really hard to beat. They have five great hitters and a great setter, so when the pass is right on the net, it is hard to commit to Megan Hodge and leaves Christa Harmotto and Blair Brown open. That is why our game plan was serve and pass. You've gotta come in serving tough, you've gotta get them out of system. When they were in system, they were really good and that helped Megan Hodge out a lot."

Head Coach John Dunning
On the frustration of losing the second game, despite out hitting, out blocking and out digging Penn State
"That you're down 2-0 does a lot to it. I think the difference in that game, if I remember after looking at it, was serving. They had some aces, and we had a couple of errors. It's a two point difference, 26-24 ... It's frustrating that you can look back and think of ways to fix it, but you can't do it now."

Head Coach John Dunning
On if watching Nebraska influenced the game plan against Penn State
"I thought they did a lot of committing on their quick attackers, that helped get some key blocks at key times. We knew that we were going to go one-on-one on the outside. If they were in system, we couldn't let the other hitters go crazy. I thought we did a pretty good job on a couple of them tonight.

I thought that the thing that Nebraska does the best, besides that they had a great attitude about themselves and they really competed, is that right from the first match of the year they were the best serving team. So they were able to take Penn State out of what they were doing a little bit more than us. I thought we tried to serve tough, just at times it was hard. They passed a lot of great passes tonight."

Foluke Akinradewo
On appearing in three consecutive National Finals and falling to three great teams.
"I think we have accomplished a lot. I don't know how many people can say they've been in the National Championship match three years in a row. Yeah we've played tough teams and we've come up short, but I'm so proud of my teammates. I'm upset that we lost, but the thing I am most upset about is that I just going to miss them all. We fought a lot. Definitely, this year more than any other year. Definitely like John was saying the team that we were when we first started in Nebraska is completely different than the team we are, the team that came tonight to play. I think we have accomplished a lot and I am very proud."

Cynthia Barboza
On appearing in three consecutive National Finals and falling to three great teams.
"I like this team is incredible and this has been my favorite year at Stanford by far. For me, this moment parallels something that happened earlier this year ... when we found out that the U.S. National Team won the silver medal ... I texted something like, I'm so sorry you guys were so close I feel so bad. I got a text back from Heather Bown that said, this is the happiest I've ever felt. That is kind of how I am walking away from this match, because this season has been unbelievable for me in terms of what I have learned about myself, what it means to be a team and what I've learned about what is means to fight. I can't cry about the outcome of that match, but you can hear me choking up starting to talk about my teammates. It is not about that outcome; it's about the entire process. This year was absolutely incredible for so many reasons."

Head Coach John Dunning
On appearing in three consecutive National Finals and falling to three great teams.
"Our seniors have been asked a lot of questions, last year about what does it feel like to lose twice in a row ... If indeed Nebraska's team three years ago was one of the best ever and Penn State is one of the best teams if not the best team ever, I think that this group should walk away with the feeling that they are also one of the best teams ever. They need to not just be proud of the things they've accomplished this year, but the body of work that they've accomplished in this senior class during their time at Stanford ... I'm just very proud of what they've done."

Alix Klineman
On the legacy left by the departing seniors
"There is no doubt the impact our seniors have had on our team, they are a huge part of our team. But I think our team learned something about ourselves this season, that was just that we all had to be on the same page, we all had to do it together. Without one person, it wasn't going to work ... so I think for next year we've all learned what it takes how to come together through the tough moments."

--NITTANY LIONS--
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