Kentucky-Michigan State Postgame Quotes

Dec. 4, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach Craig Skinner

Opening statement ...

"It is a great win. NCAA Tournament wins are always good. I like the way that we finished off sets tonight. We were very good at that most of the season and I think that we did a good job of that tonight. That is a sign of a veteran team and a team that believes in themselves. It is a great way to start the NCAA Tournament."

On if he worried about his team heading into the tournament because of the two loses to end the season ...

"There is disappointment obviously because you want to win those matches and reach your goals. But this is such a competitive team. Our veteran leadership did a great job of getting us refocused and in our practices this week we really showed that. I am very proud of how we responded and we just beat a very good Michigan State team 3-0."

On how important it was for Kentucky to get off to a quick lead ...

"It is important but I didn't think that if we lost the first set that we were in danger of losing the match. We have done that before and battled back in a lot of difficult situations. It was a good start and it built our confidence and helped make us believe that we can play well. It gives us confidence to finish sets and we did that tonight."

On finishing off sets and how important that is ...

"When you three- or four-point leads and a team ties it you do wonder how you will respond. I don't think that our team focused on what just happen. They are very driven to make each point successful. When you are single minded and focus like that in what happens then you will have a good result."

On Kentucky's defense ...

"When you make big blocks and people crush the ball but you are able to get it up in the air and transition it for a point, those are big momentum changers in the game. We have always been good offensively this season and statistics speak for that, but I didn't think that we were a good defensive team. We have gotten so many kills in games this year that our defense really didn't need to step up. When it comes tournament time it does and I am glad that it did tonight."

Kentucky Players

#7, Sarah Rumely

On what she saw form her teammates this week as far as wanting to bounce back ...

"I knew when we walked into the gym to start practice after two disappointing losses to end the season that we had to refocus. This was our third season. We have three seasons: preseason, conference and post season. It is a different mentality. You have to go in and work hard. It is a new season. SEC play is over with. We refocused and coming into the game today we had that focus when we stepped onto the court."

On how excited they were to get back out onto the court ...

"For me, I was very happy. I9t was great to step back out onto the court. I love to compete and we have a great team and our team environment is so great to play in everyday. Yeah, you are itching to get back on the court but this week in practice we were just preparing for the game."

#3, Sarah Mendoza

On having to refocus and how difficult that can be ...

"Of course no one was happy about the losses. But when it comes to wins and losses you have to forget about them in volleyball because they don't really matter for the nest match. We just had to get ready and work on the things that we were weak in at this point in the season."

#12, Blaire Hiler

On if the team had any doubts this week heading into the game ...

"No, never. We always believe in each other and all so focused, especially right now. There was never any doubt in any of us."

Michigan State Head Coach Cathy George

Opening statement ...

"Thank you all for being here. We came up a little short today. I thought Kentucky did a really nice job. They played very hard, executed well, and they were tenacious in their defense, and we think they're a very solid team. We saw them two years ago, and at the time they were all freshmen and sophomores. We recognized a lot of the Kentucky players across the net; the difference is there are only a few players here that recognize them. We graduated quite a bit. It's almost like at that time we had four seniors, and a lot of Kentucky's team was all sophomores and freshmen, but now it is flipped. We have five upper classmen, and ten underclassmen, so it is almost the exact opposite. I felt Kentucky played with that composure, and I thought their ball control really helped them in the end. They were able to run their offense very well. We didn't handle some of the smaller moments; we didn't execute our ball control at key times to execute our offense. I feel that we have a lot of talent on our team, but the execution fell a little short, and I thought Kentucky handled those moments a little better."

On what you think Kentucky did to take control...

"First of all, they passed really well. I think we served a little tentative, I think we took a little off the ball, and they were able to run their offense. They spread our blockers, and had a lot of one on one opportunities, where I felt we are a little bit bare; they were swinging hard, they were using their middle attack quite well in game one, and turned it around to their right side attackers. Even though in game two we had five blocks, I felt we were starting to close in on their offense a little bit. I thought they executed well as far as ball control."

On maybe catching Kentucky on a down slide after losing their two previous games...

"I watched those two matches, and I think the pressure was on Kentucky for us to come in here after the first round two years ago, that has to be hard. I know they are looking for that second round opportunity, so I thought that if we could come in and impose our will on them and use our physicality because I know we are pretty tough, and so I knew we had to come in hard. Kentucky played really well, and they passed the ball. I think whenever you are passing and can start getting into a rhythm, and we allowed them to do that, I think part of it is because of little less than aggressive serving."

Michigan State Players

#17, Vanessa King

On tonight's game...

"I think this last game was a summary of our season with its ups and downs. We would get ahead, let them come back, get up again but then let them finish with the win. We didn't finish it off like we needed to tonight. This was the last game of my career but I will be around to help the younger players on our team."

#1, Allyson Karaba

On tonight's game ...

"I agree with Coach George that there were moments in the game where our ball control is what hurt us. We were unable to run our physical offense which is what we have. That hurt our game. When we can get a one-on-one hit we are unstoppable, but we couldn't do that tonight. That was unfortunate at the end of our game. Making it to the NCAA Tournament is a success for us because we didn't think we would be here. It's disappointing that we didn't make it farther, but we will be hungry for more next year."