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Kentucky-Duquesne Postgame Quotes




Dec. 8, 2013

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Kentucky

Head Coach Craig Skinner

Opening statement…
“It was a good 3-0 win. I was actually really happy how aggressive we came out in set one. You never know how you’re going to come out so I thought we did a nice job being aggressive. We made a couple of errors but that’s fine. We want to be aggressive and you have to play like that in the tournament, I thought. Congratulations to Duquesne on a great year. They came out with purpose to win the match and they did a nice job of forcing us to be a little bit more intelligent with some of the things we did. Our defense picked up. [Whitney Billings and Alexandra Morgan] did a really nice job of following the game plan and hitting smart shots. And our serving was very good tonight so definitely going to compliment that and being able to limit some of the options that Duquesne had offensively. Overall, very pleased with being able to get out of round one with a victory.”

On what happened when Duquesne gained a couple of points at set point in the first game …
“That’s the tournament. That’s the way things go. You’re playing good teams and teams that have earned the right to be in the NCAA Tournament. We were very composed, even though they scored a couple of points at the end, and that’s what you need from your team and [Whitney Billings and Alexandra Morgan] were a big part of that. Duquesne did a nice job and we responded.”

On whether he saw as aggressive of a start as he wanted …
“No question. I was really pleased with how we came out. There’s a lot of adrenaline, a lot of things going through your mind when you start the NCAA Tournament and I’m very pleased with how we got after it. You can’t really prepare for what the other team is going to do and how they’re going to respond to the situation and it was neck and neck all the way through, like you said, through point 15 and I felt like our demeanor was the exact same in the first set as it was at the very end of the last set. That’s important, and obviously very important against a very good Michigan State team tomorrow night.”

On the matchup with Michigan State tomorrow …
“Two very physical teams. Two teams that kill the ball at a high percentage. Two teams with experience playing against very good competition so it’s going to be a great matchup and it’s going to be important for us to come out aggressively like we did tonight. I don’t think Michigan State is a team that’s going to give you a whole lot. You’re going to have to earn your points, whether you’re siding out or with your blocking defense after you serve. So, high-level match right here in the Coliseum and I know our kids can’t wait to play again. It seems like we’ve been preparing for the first round for about six days but hopefully weather will let us play tomorrow.”

On Whitney Billings stepping up …
“Whitney has been fantastic the last two weeks. Her demeanor and her competitive fire has been impressive to see as a coach and whether she’s playing fantastic, okay, or not okay, she’s the same and that’s what you want out of a senior leader. Someone that is driven and so she’s done an impressive job and you really have to focus a lot on her to stop her. We’ll expect that. Physically, she’s always had the ability. Mentally, she is on a different level right now.”

On Anni Thomasson in her first NCAA Tournament game…
“I thought she was great. She made a couple of hitting errors but very aggressive hitting errors. She’s a great competitor and fears nothing. She’s one that expects herself to be perfect, and that’s okay. She’s driven because she wants to be great, very competitive, and I thought she did a nice job.”

On whether he said anything specific to Anni going into the NCAA Tournament…
“No, sometimes as a freshman you get towards the end of the season and you’ve already been done playing in high school for about a month. I think the biggest thing for her is just once she makes her decision, to commit to it, and sometimes she hesitated a little bit to swing. But, she’s very smart and once she makes her decision she has to commit to it and go for it. She’s a very composed, competitive player and she finds a way to work herself out of things.”

#1, Whitney Billings, OH

On her thoughts on the match ...
“I think we came out really aggressive. We made a couple of mistakes in the first game but I like how we just kept going for it and that’s what got us through the match. And, Duquesne is a good team and they had some big-time swings the first game but we recognized that and came out better in the second game and stopped them.”

On what changed after the score reached 15-15 in the first game …
“We just realized that we had to get it going. At some point in the game we have to just push on the gas and just go. So, we just kept going for it, like I said. We gained momentum, I think, at the end.”

#2, Alexandra Morgan, MB

On her thoughts on the match …
“I agree with Whitney [Billings]. We knew that they had really strong hitters in each position which can be pretty hard to defend and I think we did a good job of realizing that in the first game and then coming back with stronger swings in the second and third game. I think we did really well on defense and our serves were really aggressive so that kept them out of system and we were able to be in system more than they were.”

Duquesne

Head Coach Steve Opperman

Opening statement
“Just a great match today by our team and obviously by Kentucky. Our first time to the NCAA tournament we couldn’t be more proud of our University and the great ladies here that are representing us. We had a great time pushing Kentucky especially in the first set. But like I said we are just really pleased to be here and leave it all out on the floor.”

On what Marah Farage and Allison Foschia have done as seniors …
“We only had Marah for two years. She decided to go to another school and then got wise and came to us. Just a great job with Allison. She has been a catalyst in our program. She is basically a coach on the floor. It’s nice that as a coach you don’t have to holler or scream at our kids because she’s the one on the floor cracking the whip keeping everybody in line. The reason our program has gotten better is because of Allison. The kind of kid that she, the level of commitment and desire that she has and that she shows every day in practice has trickled down to the kids that we have in our program now. We were fortunate to get Marah to come to us last year as a junior, and having that firepower from Marah that we already had from Allison just added to what we were doing. Had we had Marah for four years, with Allison for four years, our program would even be better. Hats off to both of them to taking our program to another level, to the NCAA tournament where we’ve never been before.”

On when he knew he had an NCAA caliber team…
“In the beginning of the year. Allison and I did an interview with one of the local papers and it was nice because volleyball in our area does not get a lot of attention and it was nice that we did get that attention. I told them that we have a pretty special team as long as I don’t mess it up. I guess I didn’t mess it up.”

On what it means to get to the NCAA tournament …  
“It is nice to see that every year we are getting a better kind of athlete to our program. It’s taken a long time. I’ve been at Duquesne for 16 years and it’s not for the lack of trying but we haven’t gotten those athletes. As our program is getting better, better players are seeing Duquesne as an option for them to further their athletic career but also their education. I think that’s one of the reasons why Allison chose Duquesne because of the great academic reputation and we kind of used her as a snowball effect and from there it’s been pretty good.”

On only suffering two loses over the last 15 matches …
“It was a great run. In the beginning of the season we were pretty banged up we were just trying to put things together. We came out of preseason 6-7 and opened up conference play with our go to middle, Arielle, injured in the second match of conference play. We had kids that came in and stepped up and did a nice job for us, but the nice thing that our team did was no matter who was on the floor we didn’t miss a beat. The effort from every single player that was on the floor you know the desire from every single player that was out on the floor as well and we used that to our advantage. The nice thing about our program, I can’t speak for other programs, is that our kids are great with each other off the court. I’ve heard of teams that go their separate ways outside of the gym and I think that’s what made our team stronger this year is that they do a lot of things together on and off the court. They enjoy being around each other so they’ve got each other’s backs, they are working as hard as they can for each other to make that special play or sacrifice their body to get a ball up. When you work that hard and you play that hard good things happen and that’s what happened with our team.”

#6, Marah Farage, OH

Opening statement …
“Like he said it was a great year for our program. We were excited to get the chance to be here. The first set was a bit of a heartbreaker, but we are proud of our team for holding some fight.”

On if the loss has sunk in yet …
“A little bit. It will sink in more and more I guess but it was nice that for one of the last points we were up there together again and we both just looked at each other and I think in that moment we kind of knew. We have spent our whole lives together, our whole careers together so it meant a lot to end it together.”

#16, Allison Foschia, OH

Opening statement …
“This year has been truly amazing. I honestly would not have wanted to do it with any other group. We have worked so hard and it is awesome to even be in the NCAA tournament and I thought we fought really hard today. It was a good season.”

On leading Duquesne to its first NCAA Tournament …  
“Honestly we made history at Duquesne. No women’s team to my knowledge has ever been to the NCAA tournament. I think that made it so much more special to go out on top for us. Putting that banner up when we go back will be so special and being here was an awesome journey and awesome experience.”


 

 

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