Dec. 6, 2013
Head Coach Kelly Sheffield
Opening statement: "I thought we were efficient. I thought we were aggressive while keeping our errors down. I don't care who you are playing against, when you only have four attack errors and nobody has more than one, that is a pretty efficient night.
"I thought offensively our hitters were playing smart. When the shot was open to be physical, they were going up there. When it wasn't, they were hitting good areas of the court. I thought our ball control was really good and our serving pressure was consistent after we got into the match. I thought we got a little bit more comfortable behind the serving line. We got a lot of blocks. It is one of those matches where we obviously stuffed the stat page here. (It was a) good match and we are looking forward to tomorrow night."
On what it meant for the team to open the tournament with such a strong match:
"Well I think one of the things you are worried about is this is a group that hasn't been in a tournament environment before. So you try to build their confidence and let them know that all year long you are prepared for the NCAA tournament. We played really good teams and then you let them know you don't have to play perfect in the tournament.
"Everyone makes this grand thing about being in the NCAA tournament. We just have to do what we do, we can't be somebody that we are not, and we have to know that we are a really good team, that we feel like we can beat anybody and certainly play with anybody and just go out there and play with some confidence and go for it. Still, that is sometimes easier said than done.
"It is easy for a coach to get in front of a team and say that, but it is another thing when players are in a new situation, even though we are at home, it is still new. You don't hide from anything. If you win your season keeps going. If you don't your season is done. It is just reality, so you aren't quite sure how the kids are going to respond, but I thought we were in a good place all week.
"I thought we were certainly in a good place all day today. We were a little hyped earlier today and we had to remind them to save a little bit, but I thought we came out and we were aggressive. We were aggressive all the way through, even at the end. They are still applying pressure and that is one of the things we talked about."
On why UW wasn't intimidated for the moment:
"We just got through a heck of a gauntlet called the Big Ten Conference. You come out the other side and it should strengthen you, it should give you confidence. We played like a team that had been in a lot of big matches."
On how much more menacing the team is now than it was in September:
"I think our team feels like this has been a pretty good year, but they feel like there is more to accomplish. There is still hunger, they aren't satisfied, they are wanting more. We are a lot better, like the players said. You get a new coach and it is going to take some time. We have gotten to a point where players are able to get more comfortable and they have worked really hard. They have worked really hard and made a lot of sacrifices through the year like a lot of teams have. It is night and day how much better we are."
On the preparations for California tomorrow:
"Man, here is what I know. This California team, they are full strength right now and just pounded the 15th-ranked team in the country. It is a really good team, it is a really, really good team. We are happy that we get to play them at home. Hopefully that gives us a little bit of something, but it should be an unbelievable match. You saw how big and physical they are. They just blocked Carolina off the court. They are very, very efficient offensively, so we have our hands full, but our kids are excited about it."
Junior Ellen Chapman
On if Milwaukee played any differently than when UW faced them in September:
"No, I think they are a really good defensive team. They are very scrappy, they usually find a way to get the ball up and that's what I was just trying to go for, trying to be aggressive, trying to put the ball away whenever I got set. Just staying aggressive and knowing that and to not get frustrated if they do dig my hits, just to keep going."
On what the team expects tomorrow from California:
"We haven't done much time scouting them yet, so I don't really know any of their tendencies, but we watched a little of bit of them today before our match and they are a really good team, a really good blocking team. We are going to need to keep bringing out our tough serves and keep going with that."
On how much UW has improved from the beginning of the season:
"Completely different. I was playing middle for a couple matches, all the players on our team were scrambled up. It is just night and day from then to now. We have just gotten so much better and grown as a team."
On if the team was nervous coming in to the game:
"I think we were just taking it one ball at a time and just trying to stay relaxed and play our game."
Senior Annemarie Hickey
On what it means to make and advance in the NCAA tournament as a senior:
"It is really exciting winning the first match and getting to move on to the next game. We've been saying all year that the train stops at one game and after we win or lose that game, the train keeps moving. So tonight we were really just focusing on the train keeping moving for us and we are really excited about that and we have California tomorrow which we are really excited about and we are going to bring it."
On why UW was able to find the holes in Milwaukee's defense tonight:
"I think they had some really good rallies against us and made some great defensive plays. I think just having that really tough mentality. Our hitters were doing a great job, they weren't getting down on themselves. They kept focusing on the next ball and that was something really good that they did."
On tonight's energy level playing at home:
"Our energy level was actually really high. I remember the coaches coming in after our practice this morning and saying that our match isn't at 3 p.m., it is a couple hours away, and you just tell that everyone was really excited and feeding off each other's energy.
"Coming in, back into our home court, was great. Seeing all the fans and how well they supported us was really good. Coming back up after our win and everyone cheering, it was really exciting for us to see. We are going to keep going for them."
Freshman Haleigh Nelson
On why UW's blocking was so effective tonight:
"Yeah, we scouted Milwaukee a lot before the match, so since the serving was so tough, we knew which hitters they wanted to go to, so the blocking was made a lot easier by the tough serving and just all the setting we did before the match."
Milwaukee Head Coach Susie Johnson
Opening Statement: "Today was a tough match for us. We came in off of a really good season. We had an incredible season.
"The hard task for us was to win our conference tournament. We won the regular season, and we won our conference tournament playing very well. We were proud of that.
"Getting a seeded Wisconsin, a high-caliber team, was tough, and we knew that. We knew if we played our best, we'd have a chance but today was a rough day. We had a hard time getting into system. They were playing well in system. It seemed like they were able to do whatever they wanted to at a high level. Hats off to Wisconsin, and it was a tough, tough day for us.
On playing Wisconsin at the UW Field House
"They are pretty hot right now, and if they play like that they will keep winning. They were very difficult to defend. I thought we were serving well, and they were in system.
"They were a lot better than they were Sept. 14 when we played them. I thought we were better too, and today was hard. It is a hard environment to play in the Field House. We have been here so many times. We come in the spring, and we come and play in their tournament. It is a hard place to play.
"I was trying to get my team prepared for that. My sister played here, so I have been to a lot of matches here. I grew up in Racine, and I am very aware of the Badger land. I tried to prepare my team for the environment. They have wonderful fans, and they are so supportive. It is tough and you have to play at your best.
"We are a tough team, but at this level when we get such a hard seed, it is basic perfection. It sounds so cliché, but it is true. I felt like we could have played at our best today, and it didn't happen. It is the way it goes. That's sports. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, and today we are on the losing end.
On how the team took the loss
"It is not a sad locker room. I thought it was sad for Rachel (Neuberger), because she is an incredible leader. I believe she is going to go into coaching because of that, and we are excited about it. If you have to lose, that is a good team to lose to."