BYU head coach Jason Watson addresses the media following BYU's sweep of Middle Tennessee State in the NCAA Regional Semifinals. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The following are postgame quotes following BYU's sweep of Middle Tennessee State Friday night in the NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals.
2007 NCAA Women's Volleyball Regionals
University Park, Pa.
Middle Tennessee Post-Match Press Conference
Friday, December 7, 2007
BYU Head Coach Jason Watson
That was a tough match. Middle Tennessee has a wonderful volleyball program. They've done a lot of great things this year. They've been incredibly successful. I thought the pressure they put on us was relentless, especially in game three as well as the other two games. I'm proud of my team and the result that they've shown. We could quite easily still be playing. I think that comes down to our senior leadership, they did a nice job tonight.
Yesterday, you said whoever could take care of the first ball well and exploit the speed would win the match. How would you evaluate your game?
With the exception of a couple of lapses there, most of them occurring in game three, I thought we did a nice job of that. I thought we were able to do some things once we settled down. I felt like we did a good job on that first ball contact.
One of your goals was to disrupt the hitting percentage of Middle Tennessee. What did you do specifically tailored for them to prepare?
Well, we had seven service errors in game one and we won the game. That's not such a good statistic. I mean, it's good that we won the game but it's not so good that we had seven service errors. We had six service errors in the next two games. That was what was key. I thought once we settled down, we were getting into some seams, driving our passes deep into their seams. Most of our service errors came in that way as we trying to dial in to get deep into those seams. I though that was key. Driving those passes back and forcing them into one option, which was offense, and then putting some pressure on their outside people.
#1 Chelsea Goodman, Sr., OH
What was the difference in getting things turned around in game three despite the deficit?
I think that the main thing was definitely passing. We were able to get our middle involved. It's hard on you as an outside hitter if you know they're always trying to block you because they know you're going to get set. We really got Rachel Dyer and Ashton Hansen involved in there when we'd get them the ball.
#15 Amy Schlauder, Jr., S
How were you feeling in the third game being down with the possibility of a fourth game?
I was back there and served for a while in that game. I think what we did a really good job of during that time period was blocking. Erica Lott and Ashton Hansen were up there that time and did a really good job taking care of the ball at the net and doing a really good job blocking. I think that helped us out in that rotation.
#44 Rachel Dyer, Jr., MH
What helped with the blocks today? You guys had a good blocking night and were touching a lot of other balls.
I think that's key. We did touch a lot of balls and that helps our defense a lot. We'd like to touch it quick and block and stuff them outside if we can. I think we started getting on their tendencies and touching a lot of balls, slowing them down, and letting our back row go to work. That was real key for us.
Middle Tennessee State Head Coach Matt Peck
I personally am very disappointed in my team. I don't think we played hard enough, person for person. I saw that we had a lot of balls that hit the floor that we should have gotten up. We also had a game plan that went out the window for some reason in the first part of the match. We are not sure what happened. We started to stick to it in game three, but by that time it was too late. The other thing is that we had opportunity to win game one, but we missed a serve and had a double hit. That would have been the game right there. We had many opportunities to win game three. I am not sure what happened. I am disappointed, but we have had a great season this year. I don't think BYU is a better team than us, I just think we didn't have enough of our players show up to play a good match tonight. I think had we played a match like we played against Hawaii last weekend, either we would still be playing now or pretty close to it. A little disappointment on my part even though I knew this is the biggest match we have ever played. I don't see a reason for the team to have been nervous or anything. We still have a young team, but they haven't shown that to me all year, so I am a little surprised right now. It is good we got this under our belt and hopefully we will be back here in the future, playing regionals and hopefully with a different outcome.
Yesterday, BYU talked about how one of their goals was to disrupt your team's hitting percentage. Can you talk about how they did that?
I think we disrupted our normal high hitting percentage. We had a lot of balls passed off target. We had our setter bump-setting a lot of balls, which I am not sure why that happened tonight. It might have been nerves. We got out of system, and it wasn't because they were serving us balls that we haven't seen all year. It might have been a little bit of nerves, I am not sure. I don't think they disrupted us as much as we disrupted ourselves and it has happened before in the season, but usually we recover from it. I mean we did recover from it more as this match went on, but at that time it was too late in the match. I am not taking anything away from BYU, but I think we passed tentatively, our shoulders were back and our setter was off the net, and we couldn't really use our middles as much as we needed to.
Do you have any idea why you guys were out of system so much?
I think one of the things is that we had a goal as a team to get farther then we did last year. That wasn't exactly my idea to bring that up, but one of the other staff people who will go unnamed. We met that goal last week, so my goal for next year will be 'let's compete for the national championship.' When we had advanced past Hawaii, we had achieved our goal and we were still playing. I think in the back of our minds people were thinking that this is cool, just icing on the cake rather than saying that we are here, let's go for it and go as far as we can. I think that might have been a mistake on our staff's part a little bit, setting a goal that was too low for us, especially during the season. We probably should have readjusted that and said that we can get to Regionals we can get beyond Regionals, see what our team can do. I think that because we accomplished our goal last week, we were not as focused as much as we probably needed to be.
#9 Izabela Kozan, Fr., OH
Do you have any idea why you guys were out of system so much?
I think I have an idea of why we lost today. I think they wanted to win more. I think that because we were so happy we were in the Regional Semifinals, and no one expected us to beat Hawaii, so we were so happy that we didn't focus on wanting this one as much and to go further. We won against Hawaii because every player wanted so much to win that game, and today I didn't see it.
#7 Ashley Adams, Jr., Opp.
Can you talk about what happened in the third game after you guys had such a big lead?
Well we came out in the third game after the first two games knowing that we didn't play well, and that we weren't playing well as a team, and were not playing as well as we have played. We really wanted to start out strong. We started following the game plan in game three, and obviously we started playing a lot better. We had that big lead, a few points that were a little bit shaky, and we had a time out where we looked and saw that we were still ahead. I think we relaxed, we thought we had it in the bag. We have been a team that if we get behind we usually can come back and pull some points out. We just didn't do it tonight. We had that big lead and we blew it. We tried to come back at the end and push, but it was just too late.