Dec. 6, 2002
NCAA VOLLEYBALL PRE-MATCH QUOTES
Notre Dame, Ind. — December 6, 2002
George Mason Head Coach Pat Kendrick
On being in the NCAA tournament . . .
“We are very excited to be here. This is our first NCAA appearance since 1996. For the third season in a row, we were the No. 1 seed (in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament), and we were glad to finally win it this year. We were tired of being seeded No. 1 and not winning.”
On playing Michigan State in the first round . . .
“We are looking forward to playing Michigan State. We know they have a very strong team, and they play in a great conference year-round. It will be fun for our group to play a team of that caliber.”
“They are a much taller team than we are. We have a lot of quickness on our side so we hope to take advantage of that. I think it will be an interesting match. If we pass well and play good defense, it will be a good match.”
On junior outside hitter Aline Pereira . . .
“Aline Pereira is a junior on our team. She is a two-time conference player of the year, and she has led the Division I stats most of the year in kills per game.”
Michigan State Head Coach Chuck Erbe
On qualifying for the NCAA tournament . . .
“Obviously we are pleased to be in the NCAA tournament. Two-thirds of the way through the Big Ten schedule it was still very much in doubt (whether we would qualify for the NCAAs). In the Big Ten there was a logjam of about six teams in the middle, and we were a part of that. It came down to the last two weekends.”
On his team dealing with adversity this season . . .
“We’ve dealt with our fair share of adversity through the season with some fairly significant injuries to players. Our team found a way to overcome that adversity. When they were in a position to decide to either go forward or go South, they decided to go forward and play some very strong matches near the end.”
On the Big Ten schedule . . .
“The Big Ten schedule is a battle every single weekend. The No. 11 team can knock off the No. 1 team. The one thing it teaches your players is that they have to come to play every single night. That also translates to demanding that you practice with intensity.”
On senior middle Angela Morley . . .
“Angela is a fifth-year senior middle. She is one of the leaders in the Big Ten in hitting and blocking and has been there all season long. She has played both middle positions during career. This is her final hurrah. She has been a mainstay for our program. She is a four-year starter, and she has been solid every year. You have to have those kinds of players.”
College of Charleston Head Coach Jewel McRoberts
On playing in the NCAA tournament…
“This is the first NCAA appearance for the College of Charleston, not just for volleyball but for any women’s sport at the College of Charleston. We are really excited to be representing our school and the Southern Conference.”
On her team…
“We have six seniors on our squad. We have five all-conference players, including two seniors that were first-team selections. Our setter is the career assist record holder for the Southern Conference and for the College of Charleston. Her name is Mary Sabatino. Stephanie Ballard, our senior outside hitter, was also a first-team all-conference pick.”
On playing Notre Dame…
“We are definitely excited about playing a very good Notre Dame squad. I think we are a little bit smaller than Notre Dame, as far as roster size. That’s going to be a challenge for us. If we pass well and play solid defense, I think we will compete very well with them.”
Notre Dame Head Coach Debbie Brown
On playing host to NCAA tournament action …
“Obviously we are very excited to be hosting. We have played well at home. I think that this time of the year is a tough time academically for all the student-athletes. It’s good for us that the academic pressure was relieved a little bit because we don’t have to miss classes. It always helps when you get on the court with a little bit less to worry about. It’s a great opportunity for the program to host.”
On not playing over Thanksgiving weekend…
“There are no worries about that. Typically in the past we have played over the Thanksgiving weekend. This year we didn’t have it on our schedule. I think it will help us, in terms of rest. We were able to give the team a couple of days off, which was really important. It helped us to just be refreshed and focused and ready to go for the weekend.”
On the advantages of hosting…
“(It is advantageous because) you don’t have to travel. George Mason is a good example (of a team having travel problems). They tried to get out twice yesterday. They couldn’t get out. They were sitting in airports. You don’t have to deal with any of that (when you are at home). You sleep in your own bed and eat the food you are used to eating. Your playing in a facility that you’re very familiar with. I think that’s a nice psychological advantage to have.”
On the College of Charleston…
“We’ve spent some time looking at the video tape. They are a very solid team. They have good ball control, good defense, and excellent outside hitting. We play two different styles of volleyball. It does create a very interesting matchup.”
On the NCAA tournament…
“We are excited to be here. Once you get to the NCAA tournament every match (is tough) and every team is good. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t good. I think it’s a challenge for us. One of the things that conference tournaments do is they prepare you well for the NCAA tournament. It’s a single elimination tournament so you go out there and know you have to play well and come out strong from the beginning.”
Notre Dame junior outside hitter Jessica Kinder
On playing at home …
“We are very excited about hosting [the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament]. It will be great to play here. It’s an awesome to place to play. It’s a great advantage psychologically. Notre Dame is a great place to play.”
On the NCAA tournament…
“I think the fact that you have a lot riding on every single match [makes it different from the regular season]. If you lose, you are out. It adds pressure to the games, but it’s awesome. Our team is one to step up when the pressure is on.”
On the College of Charleston…
“We do play very different styles of volleyball, which is exciting because it provides an interesting matchup. We are very proud of our blocking, especially this year. We’re one of the top teams in the nation in that regard. We are hoping to put that into effect and see where it takes us.”