Senior co-captains Annie Pinegar (pictured) and Chelsea Goodman along with Cougar head coach Jason Watson addressed the media Thursday at the NCAA Tournament Regionals. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
2007 NCAA Volleyball Championship
Brigham Young Press Conference
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Head Coach: Jason Watson
Opening Statement: I guess first and foremost, we are excited to be here, at Penn State University. It is a wonderful accomplishment for our team today. We know that Middle Tennessee is an incredibly successful team coming into this weekend. In terms of system and things that we need to do, they are a very balanced offensive team. They are also very quick in the game. Those are challenges that we need to be prepared for. I think we can match up very well with them, but we will see what we get tomorrow night.
You have said that Middle Tennessee's offense is very fast. How do you plan to adjust to their fast offensive pace?
You know they do have an incredibly fast offense, but so do we. I think speed is one of the things that we do fairly well, so we are comfortable in that system. What it is going to come down to, if we both have equal speed, is who is going to take care of that first ball well, who is going to be able to exploit that speed. I think that is going to be the key component of the match.
Middle Tennessee is 35- 2, one of the best records in the country. What does that tell you about their team?
It tells us first, that they have played a lot more volleyball than most people. They have won more matches then we have played. They have not lost since October 15th, so I think that builds an enormous amount of confidence. Certainly, they built upon that last week against the University of Hawaii. I don't think they are going to be rattled by anything that they haven't seen before, based upon the success of their season. It is a very intimidating record.
Middle Tennessee is not as well known as some other teams you have been up against. Was it hard to game plan for a team you haven't been able to see a lot of?
It is. They haven't had the TV exposure that some other schools have that we have played, so we haven't been able to get a lot of film of them. It was one of things that we could use against Washington; we had a large amount of film on them. That has been a challenge. It has been an abbreviated scouting report for us. So, it is a little disconcerting that we don't have as much film as we would have liked. Yesterday was a long travel day for us. It isn't easy getting here from Utah. The weather in Chicago is never nice; we never have good luck going through there. We think we have a good plan altogether, it is still coming together, so that concerns us a little bit.
Can you talk about the versatility that Middle Tennessee has even if Adams doesn't play well?
I don't think Adams has played bad. Her numbers are incredible. That is the thing; you can't just expect to get after one individual, because there are other individuals. We need to be prepared for lots of different things. We think that if we can get on as an early threat that may enable us to have some success. We have to be disciplined, we have to be patient and we have to stay on Middle Tennessee for a long period of time. This isn't going to be a short match; it is going to be who is good over a long period of time.
You have won nine of your last 10 matches. What have you been doing lately to get your team on this solid winning streak?
I want to say nothing. It is an interesting response, but we really haven't been doing anything. We feel that at this point in time, the biggest challenge is managing rest. So we have taken a lot of time off. We practiced once before we went to round one and two. We have practiced once in between there and here. There is little that we can teach our athletes at this point in time that we haven't been doing all season long. We want them to be rested, and we feel like we have done a good job at balancing the rest to work ratio in the months of November and December.
There is a chance that you could be playing Penn State. How have you prepared to match up against them if you do see them?
You know, we have not even watched film of Penn State. We have done little to no prep at all. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but we have, this season, played in environments that are as hostile as they come. They don't like us very much in Utah, and actually they don't like us lots of places that we play. So we have had all kinds of things yelled at us, some being amusing. We understand that each match is different, but I think that we are taking one at a time. Middle Tennessee is a wonderful volleyball program. The only thing I know about Penn State is that they have finished BYU's tournament runs a lot. We have a number of alumni that have reminded me of that prior to coming out here.
Chelsea Goodman, OH, Sr.
Is it a little disconcerting going up against a team that you have not been able to watch a lot of?
I wouldn't say disconcerting. Our coach has put together a good scouting report. We haven't been able to watch them in the past, except for this one film that we have of them against Hawaii. So, I think that it goes for them as well. It will just be fun to match up with them. They kind of have the same offense as us, and whoever deals with the adjustments of the round of 16 will come out on top.
After coming off the win in Washington, you guys had a lot of travel time. How did you guys adjust and stay focused through the travel periods?
Well Jason said that we could celebrate Washington until midnight, Sunday night. We got into the workout room on Monday and knew that Middle Tennessee was next. It is an exciting accomplishment to be this far, but it has led us to where we are at right now. We have to keep that in mind right here.
What was the celebration like on Sunday night?
Screaming! No, we needed to transfer that focus and that excitement to what is ahead of us as opposed to what is behind us.
Annie Pinegar, L/DS, Sr.
You went to Washington, which is a pretty hostile atmosphere. What kind of atmosphere are you expecting here?
Since Middle Tennessee is from Tennessee we are expecting them to have a good-sized crowd. We'll probably have some fans too, the same ones we had in Washington. I think we are pretty good with a big crowd because that is what we have at home.
What were some of the team's goals coming into the tournament? How have they changed over the season?
I don't think they have changed. Our goal has been to become National Champions. We have just stayed in the present and looked forward to what could be, if we play well.
MTSU is a top hitting team. Can you talk about how you are going to try and disrupt their hitting percentage?
Stay in our systems. Hopefully our block will do their job and our back line will dig a lot. Hopefully we can keep their hitting percentage to a minimum, but we will just take it one play at a time. If a player gets away from us, our coaches will let us know that we need to do something differently. We just keep seeing things as they come.