Kentucky-Michigan Postgame Quotes

Dec. 4, 2008

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Kentucky Head Coach Craig Skinner

Opening comment ...
"My least favorite moment of the year is talking after a loss in the NCAA Tournament. I think the most important thing is to give credit to Michigan for how hard they played towards the end of that match.

"The next thing I would like to say is how thankful we are towards our fans to come out they way they did the last few matches of the season were unbelievable. For them to chant and get after it towards the fourth and fifth game is very motivating for us. We need them to get to the next level and we will look forward to their support as we go forward.

"We could have folded after game two when they put us on our heels and we battled back and got after it. We had some great play defensively. Michigan 's offense was awfully good at times tonight and they terminated the ball better than we did. We continue to be proud of the effort that our team gives every time we step out on the court."

On the steps forward the program took this year ...
"We talked last week about change and we have to change the approach we take when we compete. We made a change when we were 3-2 with teamwork effort, blocking defense and we continued to adjust during matches and responded all the time. That is what got us to the next level. The accomplishments that we made are impressive. Being in four straight NCAA Tournaments as a program is a record and some of the wins we had are off the charts. I will give credit to the players for having bought into the system and the sacrifices that they made all the way back in January. I am just very proud of them."

On the comeback UK had in the first set and Michigan 's comeback in set four ...
"When we have the mentality and determination to get after it, play tough and play great defense then we can score points on anyone in the country. We showed that in game one. In game four, Michigan did the same thing. We crushed some balls that they made plays on and when you hit the ball hard like that it comes back up and is hard to respond to and they terminated them into kills. It was a mentality and momentum shift, and volleyball is a game it."

On the two seniors for Kentucky , Queen Nzenwa and Alisa Pierce ...
"When we got here the program was 3-13 in the SEC and now we have been to four straight NCAA Tournaments so you can't thank them enough. The commitment, teamwork and sacrifice they made to get this team to where it is now being in a top-20 program is great. I wish you could see this team practice everyday because their competitiveness is unbelievable. There is no doubt in my mind that we won't forget how this feels and it will motivate us through the off-season. We are not stopping now."

On his thoughts of how even the game was ...
"When it is 15-13 in the fifth set you know it is an even game. They are a very offensive minded team and we knew we had to stop their outside hitters. We neutralized them for a while, but then they got hot again at the end. It was a great match and give credit to Michigan for getting the win."

On looking ahead to next season ...
"I think you saw the beginnings of the great things that can happen with this program in the future. The competitiveness and maturity and willingness to put in time and effort, is great. Work is what gets you to the next level. We have to talent to get there and I will promise our fans that we will come back and get to the next level. The SEC Championship is our goal every year, can we do that? Yes, it is a matter of getting out and taking care of business and all of us making each other better. The coaching staff will continue to get better and players will continue to get better, but it is never given to you. You have to continue to get after it. When you fall short you can either get better or get worse and I know how this staff and players operate and I guarantee you we will get better."

Kentucky Players

#7 Sarah Rumely

On the crowd ...
"Going into the NCAA tournament, we always call it our third season. It has been a different mindset and mentality all week in practice. Stepping out onto the court today with the whole state of Kentucky backing us was a feeling that I cannot even express. With the fans that we have here and having Kentucky written across your chest is a tremendous feeling. The fans helped us come back in game one and they helped us throughout the entire match. I can't say enough about the fans and the support they give us, allowing us to get into Michigan 's head a little. They certainly help us out on the court."

On the season ...
"It has been a great season; I can't believe it is over. I am ready to come into practice tomorrow and start it up again. This is by far the greatest team I have been on; everyone on our team can say the same thing. This year we have had some great wins and some heart-breaking loses. Our competitive nature comes out every time you step onto the court. We all love playing the game and I think that is what the season was all about. As a team we got after it every day in practice. I have never been on a team like this. There have been a lot of ups and downs. It is still so fresh; this group of players is a group I don't want to finish playing with."

On getting ready for next season ...
"We were so close. There is some regret in thinking about what I could have done differently to get another point here or there. I think that we will step into next season with a chip on our shoulder, and that will happen to some extent. Getting close is not good enough and I think that this program will be feeling every step of the way when we start training again."

#6 Lauren Rapp

On the crowd ...
"It has been amazing to have the fans come out and cheer us on. They have given us a big boost when we were in some hard situations while we having a hard time pulling ourselves out. The fans are loud when we get a point and when we are struggling. It is just a momentum booster having the crowd and really helps push you along."

On the team ...
"This team is just amazing. I don't know what I will do will all my free time. I will have more opportunity focus more on school. Not seeing everyone everyday will be tough. Just coming into the gym and competing has been an amazing thing to get to do at such a high level every day. I think that everyone on our team is thankful, including me, for everything that the coaches, administration and fans do for us. I am very grateful."

Michigan Head Coach Mark Rosen

Opening Comment ...
"I'm really proud of our team. We went out there and competed. I think that we certainly played our best match. And I think a lot of that goes to Kentucky . They are a very good team and I thought that they did a lot of things well to get us out of our comfort zone and we had to battle through a lot of that. We are a very young team and I thought we grew up a lot tonight in those critical situations. I'm just really proud of our team and how we played."

On Kentucky and Michigan being an equal match-up ...
"Yeah, I thought it was a pretty good match-up. They are good. They are a good blocking team. Our whole mentality is that we try to be aggressive in serving. We are not the best blocking team, but we try to be aggressive serving and defending. They served the ball well and they did a good job at getting us off balance. That's something that's really hard to see on video tape. And I don't think we really thought they were going to be that aggressive on tape. They put us on our heals, I thought they did really well through that. I thought Kentucky really evened it because of their tough serving and defense."

On the crowd...
"It was a great environment. The University of Kentucky 's a great host and they have been doing a great job and they had a great crowd that came out tonight. It was a fun environment."

Michigan Players

#18 Juliana Paz

On her thoughts on the match ...
"Yeah, I knew it was going to be a really hard match. That first game was right there in our grasp. We knew that if we wanted to come back we would have to play really hard. I think that's what we did. We never stopped pushing; we never stopped fighting - even when things didn't go our way. We just kept fighting."

#3 Sloane Donhoff

On playing against her old coach in the upcoming St. Louis game ...
"Yeah, I have played for a couple of Kordes' ( St. Louis head coach Anne Kordes) in my day. I'm excited about playing them, but it's just another team that we are playing against. I'm not taking into account that I am playing against someone I know. When a team is on the other side it's just another team and I am going to play as hard as I can."