Volleyball

Women's volleyball fields Sweet Sixteen media questions

(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

 Head Coach Heather Olmstead

Opening Statement…

“We’re excited to be here. Thanks to Kentucky for being such great hosts. We’re excited to get in the gym today and practice, and we're looking forward to our match against Nebraska tomorrow.”

On working with Alexa in practice…

“We’re always looking at jumps, the number of jumps she is taking as well as some other kids on our team. She does a good job of talking to us about how she feels, I mean, honestly, she’s just like a machine. She is jumping just as high or higher at the end of the match as she is at the beginning. Physically, I think she is just very gifted and is able to take a heavy load. We are definitely not trying to over-work her, but she wants to get all of the reps that she can.”

On Nebraska…

“Nebraska is just a great, well-coached team. They’re fundamentally sound, they have a great setter, they have great pins, great middles, great liberos, and so they’re a great team. They run their system well. John Cook does a good job with kids that get in his program - we’re looking forward to the matchup and how that is going to go tomorrow. We’ll try to play to our strengths and maybe to some of their weaknesses, but maybe just try to play our game.”  

On telling the players what to expect from Nebraska…

“We’re expecting a battle. Just a great volleyball match. We had two great matches in the Smith Fieldhouse and I expect the same tomorrow here. They have motivation for this match for themselves, but we also have our own motivation for what we want to accomplish and we just want to win the next match and it happens to be against Nebraska.”

On this year’s matchup opposed to last year…

“Yeah it’s great to play them again. We’re a little familiar with them because of last year’s match, but we realize they’ve got some different pieces. There are some girls still around in different positions and we’ve got new pieces on our team. We’re not really focusing on last year’s match so much as just this year’s a new team and a new core group of girls that want to do something special. It’s their last time to play together and do something special. So it’s going to be a good match up - serving is probably going to be a battle. They’re probably going to be a good serving team, we feel like we’re a good serving team. Then obviously they have big physical hitters and we can match them with our big physical hitters as well.”

On the decision to make a change at the setter position…

“We feel like we have two great setters that have been with us and we feel like they’re both capable to run the show and so we feel really good. Plus we’ve been playing both of them. They’ve been doing a good job this season doing what is best for the team so we feel pretty good about where we’re at offensively.”

On Alexa this season…

“Alexa just continues to get better every day, every match. She’s made herself into a six-rotation player and really wanted to improve her backcourt passing, her defense and hitting from the back row. She has just patiently waited her turn to play that role and I think she is doing it wonderfully.”  

Alexa Gray, Sr., OH

On having a strong finish towards in the end of the season…

“My teammates have been playing well. It really helps me out when we get good passes. The setters have been setting me great as well. I think just my confidence in my swings and my game has just really helped me.” 

On having 70 swings in back-to-back matches…

“My shoulder doesn’t really get sore that much. It’s more like my legs that feel a little bit fatigued but, yeah, my arm is good.”

Ciara Parker, Sr., L

On coming into this season coming off a Final Four run…

“We got our taste of that and we want it again. Coming into this year, it kind of showed us our capabilities as a program and as a team. We believe in ourselves and each other and we just want to taste that again, so we’re really excited to be here like Heather said. We know Nebraska is a great team, but we’re definitely just excited to compete, so that definitely helps coming into every match.”

On the accomplishments of this senior class…

“Just the accomplishments we made at BYU we all had a goal. We wanted to play for a national championship. We wanted to change the program and inspire young girls to come to BYU. We wanted to be a part of something great and we feel like we have done that, but we hope that isn’t over. Our goal is still beyond us so we’re just excited to play here and we’re grasping onto every chance we get.”

Amy Boswell, Jr., MB

On coming into this season coming off a Final Four run …

 “I would say the same thing [as Ciara Parker], we know that the core group of us has tasted it. It’s really exciting to be there and people may not expect us to get there again, but we believe in ourselves and our confidence and our abilities. We know that we can always be getting better so that has been a theme throughout the season.”