Sept. 26, 2008
HEAD COACH Liz Kritza
Overall thoughts on the match
"I'm happy that we got our first conference win and a convincing one at that. This team knows that there were times when we could have performed better and we all realize that. After winning set one pretty handily, Houston made a good adjustment and we actually strayed from our game plan. When we do that, it takes the advantage that we had in set one and turned it into a lot of points for them that we had to come back."
On bouncing back to win the second set, 25-23
"Coming back from a seven-point deficit at point 15 is a tremendous accomplishment. The reason we were able to do it today is because we did it when we were on the road a couple of weeks ago. This is just proof positive that the schedule we played preconference prepared us for situations just like that. I think if we had been down by seven points and not played the kind of competition that we had, we may not have been able to pull out that victory in game two. Houston is always going to be a competitive team and will always fare well in Conference USA. So we are pleased with the win. But at the same time we need to stay balanced and realize that there is a really, really good Rice team coming to the gym on Sunday that will be looking to beat us."
On which individual players stood out tonight
"Jen Linder had a good night offensively, hitting .500 on 10 swings. She came up with 11 points and six of them were on blocks. These are numbers that one of the best middle blockers in Conference USA should be posting and I am proud of her effort tonight. Sara led us offensively once again tonight with 12 kills and finished with 13 points. It was good to see her step up when we needed that big point in critical times throughout the match and we will continue to look to her to do that."
On the job Tulane setters did throughout the match
"I am pleased with the distribution. I think that our setters did a good job of balancing the rotations. Their assist numbers were pretty similar which means that we were scoring at about the same rate in all six rotations. Our sets are pretty evenly distributed among our players with decent hitting percentages.
"All in all, it was a balanced match. I think that we gave up some easy points on some unforced errors that were uncharacteristic for us. They were very uncharacteristic of the level that we expect to play at every day. We got used to playing at a certain level from being out on the road. We learned our lessons from playing that tough non-conference schedule and we made it our own goal and our own challenge to continue to play at that level throughout our conference season."
JUNIOR LIBERO Jenn Miller
Overall thoughts on the match
"We had a few ups and downs, but what we need to work on in conference is staying consistent and playing our type of game."
On falling behind in the second set before winning, 25-23
"It was a little tense at the beginning of the second set. But coming off a six-match winning streak, that really taught us how to win. We worked well together at the end and we are better under pressure than we were last year. It was just good to come out of here with a win."
On starting conference play with a convincing win
"It's a good starting place, obviously. We have a long way to go, a lot to still work on and a lot to improve on. But we are playing well together. If we can stay consistent and keep all the intensity that we are playing with right now, we should be fine."
JUNIOR RIGHT-SIDE HITTER Ksenija Vlaskovic
On starting Conference USA play with a 3-0 win
"We were worked really hard in the preseason and in the (pre-conference) tournaments, so we came out really excited and we wanted to win. We expected a good team tonight across the net and they were. We just played better than they did. We worked really hard to this point and it paid off today. We also made a lot of mistakes, but we will keep working hard in order to improve and be ready for our matches in the future."
On becoming the 12th player in Tulane history to post 1,000 career kills
"I was really surprised, but it feels really good. Like I said, we have all worked really hard, but it's a great feeling to get something that stands as a symbol of what we try to do here."
HEAD COACH BILL WALTON
Overall thoughts on the match
"The first game was pretty much a no-show. Then in the second game, we were up 19-14 and then 21-18. I'm thinking when you're up 19-14, you probably shouldn't lose when you're playing to 25. That has happened to us a couple of times during the year against good teams where we are in a position to win and we kind of get ahead of ourselves. We don't stay in things, we lose a few points, we get tight and then we kind of break down. I didn't think we came out with the right emotion (in the third set). We lost the game and lost momentum, and you have to alter your thinking and your mental approach to the next game. You have to go out there like we won the last game and we have to get the momentum back. Instead, we go out and we're down , 6-0. We played pretty good after that, but we weren't able to overcome that initial six points."
On the moves he made to help the Cougars get the big lead in set No. 2
"I rotated three and I got a different matchup for my setter so that she didn't have Radosevic, she had No. 8 (Visnja Djurdjevic). We got a different matchup and I think that gave us a better situation in terms of rotations on people."
On Tulane's comeback in the second set
"Actually, what happened was we missed two serves and then we had two sets that were just a little bit off the net. We should have just tried to get them in play and she hits them out of bounds. That was four errors. After 19, we got aced twice and we go from being up five to down one and the other team hadn't touched the ball. It wasn't really anything that Tulane did. They just gave us the ball like they had been doing up to that point. But instead of us executing, we just kind of fell apart there for a while and couldn't stay into it. The situation is you want the other team to earn those. You want them to block you and dig you and then have to spike to score up on those five points. Instead, what happened was they caught up on our errors and didn't really have to do anything. Once they caught back up, all they had to do was stuff one ball to win the match and that's what they did."
On how the team bounces back from this loss
"Because we play so many matches and because volleyball is five sets to a match, you can get back on track in just one game. One of the things that affected us a little bit tonight was that for the last two weeks, we had a pretty set rotation with our players. Then, on Tuesday night, our 6-4 kid (Ingrida Zauera) hurt her foot. She said it was hurting her for the last few days, but it was hurting her worse. She is actually our top outside hitter right now and we really only had one day to prepare for to make any changes with her out. I would have like to have a whole week to prepare. The other girl has played some, but she hasn't played at all in the last four or five matches and I would have liked to gotten her some more reps before we played tonight. In conference, the coaches do a good job with the scouting report. Some of the things that had worked for us early in the year, some of our players didn't do a very good job of adjusting to it. We've got to do a better job of not being so predictable when it comes to playing conference opponents."