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Craig Skinner NCAA Media Opportunity

UK Coach Craig Skinner has directed the Wildcats to an eighth-consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

UK Coach Craig Skinner has directed the Wildcats to an eighth-consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

Nov. 28, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Opening statement …

“We’re looking forward to playing in another NCAA Tournament this weekend. I’m proud and happy we’re being able to host. (I’m) Proud we’re the No. 16 seed in the tournament. I think our players are feeling pretty confident right now. (I) Feel good about what we’ve done the last few weeks, but we can throw all that out the window. When the tournament comes around it’s time to see who executes, and like Coach Cal (Calipari) said, who has the most fun and who competes the hardest to be able to win each and every match out. There are six total matches you can play, and we have to focus on East Tennessee on Friday night. Hopefully (we will be) successful, and if we are and get a chance to play the winner of Notre Dame and Ohio State. Also (I’m) pretty proud of our team and the conference awards we won. Having our libero (Stephanie Klefot) be Defensive Player of the Year in the league for the third-straight year is unprecedented in probably about any sport. Another First Team All-League player in Whitney Billings and Klefot second team also. Sara Schwarzwalder was All-Freshman Team. I think with the addition of teams in the league there were a lot of players who were left out across the league. We tried to get more recognition for some of the players in this conference, but it’s just the way it is. Again, proud about the weekend, looking forward to it, and can’t wait to see if we can get a huge crowd on Friday night.”

On the team’s preparation through the regular season schedule …

“We’re definitely battle tested. We’ve seen about everything, we’ve seen top-five teams, we’ve seen SEC-caliber teams, we’ve won in five, we’ve lost in five, we’ve won in three and lost in three. There’s not an event or situation we haven’t been in, so I’d like to think that any situation we get into Friday night, we’ve been there before and understand how to handle it. I think so, but each rally is pretty significant and pretty important. I’m looking forward to seeing how our team responds to it.”


 

 

On how the team is playing right now …

“We were awfully good our last three matches, especially being on the road around Thanksgiving, (with) a lot of distractions with the holiday, and family and stuff around. We came off a couple losses and strung together a few wins. I feel good about us. I feel good about our offense. Really like the way our team responded. I think they feel confident about what they’re doing right now, and that’s a good sign going into the tournament. It’s different pressure in the NCAA tournament. You see the logos, you see the brackets and you see all kinds of teams getting jacked up to play in the NCAA tournament. We will see, but I like this team and want to be with them heading into it.”

On the strength of the team going into the tournament …

“Offensively our efficiency is pretty good. We aren’t making a whole lot of errors. Our floor defense has gotten better. We struggled with that in the middle of the year playing against some good teams with good outside hitters. I think we’ve done a good job of that the last few weeks, and that is very important because that is typically where matches are won and lost in the tournament, with big outside hitters. I think we’re serving pretty well. That’s another major factor in the NCAA tournament, can you serve and get teams outside their system so they can’t set all their options?”

On the expected crowd …

“Eight thousand? No, I don’t know. I think we got a good response already. Last year in the Regional there were over 4,000. Somewhere between that and our average attendance is 15th in the country between 1,500 and 2,000 a match. I think we’ll get a good crowd. The volleyball community here is really stepping up.”

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