Oct. 29, 2008
On Friday's opponent, the UCF Knights
"It is going to be another tough Conference USA match on the road. UCF is the most improved team in the conference this year. They have not been as successful as of late, but you can see a lot of good things happening in their program and that is a testament to their new coach, Todd Dagenais. He brought in a few new players and put in a stronger system, so we are expecting a really tough match."
On playing a team that has lost its last six contests
"I have said it before but teams that teams on a losing streak are very dangerous because they have nothing to lose. I fully expect them to put together a good game plan and have a strong performance. In light of our recent performances, we have gone back to the drawing board and we have pushed to improve ever so slightly. I believe that this team will be ready and rise to the challenge on Friday in Orlando."
On being able to get a little rest this week with only one match on the schedule
"We are going to be focusing on playing very efficiently. We have been pressing our training a little bit harder. At this stage in the season, you need to make sure that you are preparing yourself both strength and conditioning wise as well as game conditioning wise to make sure that you are strong going into the tail end of the season. This is probably the last opportunity we will have to push really hard with our training. Then it is about resting, avoiding injury and keeping players fresh and at the right place to perform their best."
On playing their first match in The Venue at UCF
"Any time you are on the road, there is a certain level of unfamiliarity. That is why we have practices and pass arounds in those gyms - to get familiar with the new surroundings. Every gym is different when you go on the road and this will be no different than anything else. We will go in and give our players time to get used to the new facility and make sure that they are prepared to put forth their best possible performance that they can."
On the team's overall attitude in practice
"Everybody has the right perspective, from players to coaches. We realize what our strengths are and what our weaknesses are. We are appreciating our wins, but realize that if we want to keep our winning ways going, we need to make sure that they are not just appreciating the wins but more focused on improving out our weaknesses. I think that is the general concept that has permeated from the entire staff on to the players. This is a group that truly enjoys being successful. But success is not only measure in wins and losses. For us, it is measured in being able to play at the highest level of volleyball and perform their best day in and day out."
On the team's ability to win matches in different ways
"This is a multifaceted team. We do not have just one dimension or one particular look for the team. I think it is going to be helpful for us going through and playing the last portion of our conference matches and into the conference tournament. Everybody has good players. Everybody has strong systems. It is the ability to adjust within a match that often separates teams. It is what else do you have after your first look or your first lineup does not work so well. The other team has either scouted you or they have something to counteract your strengths, so you had better have something else in the reserve. You have your strong suit and you have your comfort zone. Well, when that gets taken away - which is part of the game - you have to have something else that they can go to so you can keep scoring. I think that is the difference for us this year because we have developed that. A lot of that goes hand in hand with having a balanced offense, focusing more on defense and having different systems developing throughout the system. We are continuing to do that. I think we are in a good place. Do I think that this team can improve more and is there more to them? Absolutely."