Women's Volleyball
Head Coach Liz Kritza's Comments Following Saturday's Scrimmage



Aug. 23, 2008

Overall thoughts on Saturday's scrimmage
"I think it was a very productive day, probably our most productive end-of-preseason scrimmage I have seen yet. Our goal for today was for our lineups to be tested against different types of teams and play tough competition to be prepared to start the season next Friday. With our schedule being as tough as it is - with four teams in the preseason Top 25 - a lot of those teams will have sizable players. We need to learn how to play against different types of teams, especially players that outsize us by three of four inches on the block. For that reason, we had coaches playing today. Both Sinisa and Blazen were playing front row and Meg was playing good defense and stabilizing the passing unit, so the offense was much stronger on that side of the court."

On how she set up the scrimmage and how it was intended to work
"We stacked a team against them to see how they would respond, and then we gave them openings. We gave them opportunities to go at smaller players. We played some players out of position on purpose so they learn how to exploit an opponents' weakness. I let them play through some of these situations to see if they recognized the opponent's weaknesses, and sometimes I matched their strengths up with the opponents' strength to teach them how to play point-for-point. In the last couple of games, we put Sinisa out there to swing, gave him the green light to go after it and he was almost an automatic point. Our girls need to learn how to come up with an automatic point on their side to be able to keep up with any team offensively."

On why she thinks this team can be successful in 2008
"One of the reasons this team is going to win is because of the system. We are willing to devise a system and try things to put out best players in the best possible situations to score. This team is able to compete with teams that have bigger, faster and stronger players because of our system. The players understand that the system allows them to be stronger, and offensively, we can compete with anybody in the nation. Because we can hold our own offensively, we are going to be able to play at a very high level and sustain it."



On if being a good offensive club can make the team complacent on defense
"In the offseason, that is something we focused on. We focused on our first contact. Any time you have a team that can score pretty easily, they are going to have that as a crutch. They are going to know that if the other team scores, we can come back and score right away. For this team, they had to understand that every time they make a defensive play, they are taking a point away from their opponent. Then, because they can score, they will actually have a two-point advantage instead of one. Their focus has been on the first-contact passing and defense, and that is the most improved area I have seen from them in the preseason. We've been harping on training our team defense."

On who has really made a big leap from the 2007 season
"Rachel Lindelow. She did a good job of showing up to camp in shape. In the offseason, she worked hard to come back and knew that she had to make some strides in her ability to move the ball around the floor. I think that she was prepared for this preseason. I think that Bridget Wells and Jen Linder have done a good job of changing roles and adding to their roles. They both play a couple of different positions for us now. Having players that understand that when coaches give them extra responsibilities for the betterment of their team and embracing those additional duties, that is a huge plus. They both will play middle, right-side and even on the outside, we can have a more flexible lineup and we can implore different strategies that will help us win, and we haven't been able to do that before."

On the schedule for next week
"We'll give them off tomorrow. It's a well-deserved break and they need it. They've been training pretty hard. They pretty much left whatever energy they had on the court tonight. They will need a good break tomorrow. We will go down to one practice starting on Monday and we will get into our regular routine of practicing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We leave for BYU on Thursday, practice there that night and play on Friday."

Closing comments
"It was exciting today. It was move-in day, all of the freshmen are here and it is kind of a sign that school is starting and we are getting closer and closer to opening day for us. One thing that I noticed is that this team is really doing a good job of reaching out to the school community and encouraging people to come to our Sept. 1 home opener. There were people who came here tonight just to sort of check out our team. I think there is a kind of buzz this year about our team, and I'm excited about getting things started."


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