Dec. 6, 2008
HEAD COACH Liz Kritza
"Obviously, the situation is not one that any team wants but all but one team finishes the season the same way. It is hard anyone in the program - the players and the coaches - to see all of the positives right now, but there are plenty and I am extremely proud of the way they have played all season. I think the fight they showed throughout the match, especially in the fifth set, is truly indicative of this program and the run that we made this year. Tulane volleyball is changed forever, regardless of the outcome today. It is changed forever because of this group and I am pleased with the way they played. We will have a very, very bright future ahead of us because of this season, the players, the coaches and the efforts that they gave."
On if Western Michigan's blocking success early on affected the team's play down the stretch
"That is something that we had talked about all season long. We are a very offensive-minded team. The offense that we run sets up teams that can block and teams that play good floor defense could fare very well against us. So when we play teams that can adjust well on the block block, we need to make sure that we are creating some more motion in our offense. We did not do that. We got too predictable. In the fifth set, which you know is a short set, you have to start out scoring first. The team that comes out and scores at a high enough pace in the beginning of the fifth set is more likely to win. Today, that was not us unfortunately. That offense that is usually so powerful for us, at the beginning of the fifth set when we needed it the most, we faltered a little bit. We were able to get it back, but there was not enough time. We had the momentum going into the tail end of the fifth set, but we just started that run way too late in the game."
On what happened after winning the third set convincingly
"It was kind of the same thing. This team is very successful, as are most teams, when you are siding-out at close to a 70 percent. When we were not terminating the ball earlier in the rally, then we rely on our defense. Our match-ups against some of their hitters clearly gave them the advantage and we were not able to keep pace with them defensively. There were short spells where it happened, but it was enough to get us in a position where we had to play catch-up. Instead of playing point-for-point, matching them and using our offense to side-out and keep pace, we were trying to keep pace with them with our transition offense. And everybody knows that it is harder to score at a high pace when you are using your transition offense to score points instead of when you side-out."
SENIOR MIDDLE BLOCKER Jen Linder
On how far the team has come in her four years at Tulane
"We have gone through so much together - starting out our freshman year, not being at home and only having three wins. It was a rough start and the thought at the time was, `Did I decide to come to this school and only have three wins?' But then to come back the next year, pick up our play, continually get better each and every year and to know that this is the reason why I came to this school. I knew we would be good. I knew we had a shot at being in the Top 25. We played hard. It had to end at some point and we are all disappointed that it ended this way. But we were one of only 32 teams that played this far into the season."
JUNIOR LIBERO Jenn Miller
On what she was seeing to get 17 digs against the Broncos
"All of us knew that they have a very fast offense. We knew that sometimes our block wasn't going to be there. We just had to dig deep and find a way to get the ball up. I'm glad that, for a majority of those balls, that they did come up. I'm proud of the team, especially the outsides, for the defense that they played today."
On what getting to the second round of the NCAA Tournament means to the Tulane program
"We took a really big step this season. It obviously was our goal last season too, but coming through, winning the conference tournament to ensure that we are going to be here, and getting a great seed was also a great thing. Like I said yesterday, one of the things that we learned this year is how to stick together and come back to get a win. Obviously, that didn't happen today. I think that this will carry over into next season. We're going to have to look at each other in the eye, look to play together and play as hard as we can and as long as we can until we win."
WESTERN MICHIGAN QUOTES
HEAD COACH COLLEEN MUNSON
"Amazing is all I can say. We've got such a great group of young women that we are so tremendously proud of. Western Michigan is so proud and so is the volleyball community, but what we just accomplished out there was truly great. That was a great Tulane team and a veteran team that knows how to play volleyball. We kept our composure. We weren't stellar in a couple of the games but we brought it together when we needed to. It was a team effort all the way around. We could not have asked for any more energy, enthusiasm or passion from this group of girls."
On team's attitude in the huddle going into game four
"It was something we challenged the girls. We said this is not how we want to be represented. We allowed a very good team to dictate our pace and tempo and determine the outcome of the game. We knew we had more to give and we knew we were better than that. A young team and immature team would have folded. We challenged them to enjoy this moment, but enjoy it with no regrets. We saw passion and competitive spirit; the drive that this team has had all year. It was a wonderful place to be: the calmness, the composure and the poise in game four and five."
On the importance of getting ahead in game five
"We had the momentum in four and came up with a fairly strong lead. They started fighting back and as we all know anything can happen in game five. We kept our composure. It was something we talked about prior to and during every timeout that Tulane called. We put Tulane in a possession to start thinking, overanalyzing and that doubt that this shouldn't be happening. Every team has been there. It's not a good feeling to be in that situation."
JUNIOR LIBERO CAITLIN STRIMEL
On Tulane's serves
"We were a little shaky at the start. Once we got into the second game we started to settle down. We were jabbing at the balls that were coming at us high so we made an adjustment to move our serve receive back on certain people and up on other people and that helped us out a lot."
On game five
"Right off the bat you could see it in everyone's eyes that we wanted it and we were going to do everything in our will to fight for the win and we did. Every single person on our team has that competitive spirit to take it to the next level. It was amazing. I can't even explain my feelings right now.
"Most importantly we were just trying to stay composed. We know when we're composed and steady that is when we play our best. As far as their jump serves, that is my favorite serve to pass. They can serve those at me all day."
On taking on No. 1 Penn State
"It's going to be a really good environment to play in because we have probably never played in an environment like they're going to have. We're really excited to have the opportunity. We want to play the best team in the NCAA tournament."
JUNIOR SETTER JILLIAN MITCHELL
On feeling in control of the match
"After our serve receive calmed down in game one it felt like we were in more control. I think that yesterday was different than today. I think, today, was seriously, just going for it. I can't even remember what happened. I just tried to get the ball off as many times as I could and put the ball down on the other side as many times as we could."
On the team's strategy in the fifth set
"We just wanted to get the ball up. I don't even think I thought one thought that whole game except we're winning this match. You could see it on everyone's face. When we looked at the other team; they knew they were losing and we knew we were winning. We were just pushing forward the whole time and that's what our strategy was; play our game and play volleyball like we know how to play."
SOPHOMORE OUTSIDE HITTER KATE CORBETT
On her blocking adjustments made throughout the match
"We were just talking to each other more. It was just a matter of getting there. We knew they hit high. Caitlin (Strimel) was talking to the blockers and that helped us out a lot. We picked it up."