Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin vs. California


Recap |  Box Score

Dec. 7, 2013

Recap |  Box Score

Wisconsin vs. California
Dec. 7, 2013
UW Fieldhouse – Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin Head Coach Kelly Sheffield

Opening Statement:
“First of all, Cal is a great team, very well coached. I’ve got a lot of respect for the coaching staff over there. I think they do a really good job. That’s a quality team that’s got some experience and is a very well-coached group there. It’s a great win for our program.”

“Our kids, I thought, when you hit .404, that’s a pretty big number. Our lowest hitting percentage was .333 and offensively we’re getting stronger. Today was a good offensive night. We talked about going into the match and throughout the match, our defense has to lead to our offense. And I thought defensively we were really good. Annemarie with 18 digs, she had half the digs, probably, for the team tonight. Just was really, really tough.”

“And the other thing, I thought Lauren did a great job of running the offense. Obviously, when you’re coming out of the first two tournament games and you’re hitting over .400 in each of them, you’re getting some really good distribution. We’re really proud of this kid here (Ellen Chapman), the game’s on the line and she’s out there being aggressive and hitting the right shots. I don’t know if there’s any kid in America that’s come along more than she has this season. And it’s only fitting for her to take those big swings there at the end.”

On the Badgers coming back in the third set from a 15-9 deficit:
“This is the NCAA Tournament, man. These are some good teams. They came out of the break and they were putting in some wicked, wicked serves. Balls that were dropping off of the table. Our kids were having a really tough time, you saw it. It was them, it was Cal, it wasn’t us. We just kept telling our kids, I didn’t want them to get frustrated, keep battling, keep battling. They picked up their game and that’s what great teams do. Now it’s your turn to respond. And that can be one of the really tough things, when you’re up pretty much the whole time the first two games, and then the other team comes out of the locker room and they really turn it on and kind of get you back on your heels, that can be really tough. But I thought we stayed with it, we stayed together. We were getting a little uptight, but I thought we kind of worked our way through it. We just kept chipping away and chipping away and that can be a hard thing. Sometimes one of the hardest things you can do is when you’re up 2-0 and the other team, they take a deep breath and come out and just swinging for the fences. And they got us back on our heels but I thought we just did a really good job, really, really proud that we just stayed the course in game number three.”

On what he knew about the Badgers when he took the job last December:
“I knew we had talent. I knew that I was fortunate to walk in here with talent. The only thing we talk about is dream big. Let’s not put a number of how far we want to go in the tournament, let’s not put a placing in the Big Ten. Because none of us knew. Dream big, let’s go after dream big, let’s really put our attention into doing things the right way, playing the game the right way, supporting each other, making the sacrifices that need to be done. And I knew probably somewhere in the season that we had a team that was capable of beating any team on any given night. The trick was if we could stay healthy enough, can we continue to improve. It’s been a teeter-totter on the health thing. We weren’t even sure if we were going to get Dom this weekend, and here the kid hits .562. She was out all week. You know, our training staff and our doctors are probably the MVP of this entire crew. I don’t know if I answered your question, but that’s the best I got for you.”

On the fan support at the UW Field House:
“Yeah, there’s a lot going on campus right now. There’s a lot of sporting events going on. Shout out to the basketball team today, and I’m not sure what’s going on with hockey, just really appreciative, but not only the numbers, but how active they were. When we were needing a lift, they were really getting it to us in some critical, critical times. You need that in the NCAA Tournament. That just made playing here even better.”

On making adjustments during the match:
“The entire match we’re making adjustments. Like I said, Cal is really well coached and they’re making adjustments through the match. Sometimes you play a match and the two teams just play. There’s not a lot of coaching going on. Other times there’s a lot of things going on, it’s a game of chess. We were making adjustments the entire time, but the thing is, our team were in a good place where we were allowing those adjustments to be made. Sometimes if they’re freaking out, you can’t give them anything, just pound them on the back and say ‘get out there, Tiger.’ But they were in a good place, they were being coachable, they were able to make those adjustments. But they were all night long that we were making adjustments. The shots that they were executing was different. Our serving strategy changed as the match went on, those were probably the two biggest things, I would say. Offensively, we didn’t get a lot of information because we seemed to be in a pretty good place for our attackers.”

On Wisconsin’s strategy for Cal:
“It depended. It really depended on where the set was, there were certain areas where we thought we could go off-speed, their block is really, I mean, we saw it last night, it’s just wicked. We didn’t want to challenge that when we were out of system. When the block was waiting for us, we didn’t want to go and challenge it because we thought it would come right back in our face. So it really depended on the rotations of the matchups where we were trying to go. We did say going into the match that I thought the three keys were we were going to have to serve them really tough so they didn’t get the middles going and the right sides the entire night. I thought we would lose if that happened. Number two, our defense had to start our offense, we had to dig some balls. Number three, I thought we had to cover because this team is capable of blocking really well. Usually, we have some really sweet covers. Annemarie talked about Taylor Morey, she had some great covers that don’t show up on the stat sheet, but I mean, those were big covers that we ended up winning those rallies a lot of the time.”

On advancing to the Sweet 16:
“It’s cool. I don’t know if there’s a better way of saying it. I’m happy for our team, I’m happy Annemarie gets to play some more volleyball. We’re going to go there, we’re going to give it our best shot. You know, Florida State is a really good team, they’re really well coached. That team was in the Final Four a couple years ago, so they’ve got some experienced players. We get to come back and practice, and when you’re with a team that you really enjoy being around, you want the season to go for a while because you get to go back in the gym. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the gym on Monday. We’ll break things down tomorrow and away we go.”

On the growth of the Badgers:
“I said early on, it’s going to take the coaching staff some time to figure out what we’re capable of doing. We’ve got a freshman setter, that takes some time as well and we’ve got people that are playing different positions. But on top of that, I think emotionally and mentally we’re in a really good place and we’re continuing to find ways to get better. We’re still not there. That’s what the exciting thing is, the past 12 matches, we continue to get better and better and better during that time. It certainly makes you more excited to get out there that next night and see what else. I know we’re playing good volleyball right now. I’m not sure how many people are giving us a shot this next match coming up, but the kids believe in themselves and we’re going to get out there and we’re going to lay it out there and see what happens.” 

Senior Annemarie Hickey

On what went well for the Badgers:
“Just being really aggressive and giving a lot of effort for each ball that’s coming your way. We executed a really good game plan for both our blockers and our defensive players. And I thought we did a great job following that. I had to give a lot of props for our blockers, they set up great blocks for us to dig around. And I think Taylor Moore did a great job for us tonight. We just battled our hearts out there and we just really wanted to prove to ourselves and to everyone else that we can do this.”

On the adjustments the Badgers made during the match:
“I think before we came in to the game we were talking more about how they don’t hit the ball down a lot. They hit it more deep and have some great hitters that were hitting high off the block. We made those adjustments between the games. I kind of noticed one of the outside hitters was trying to go high hands over the block so I kind of adjusted my defense a little farther back. Again, just being really aggressive and being a scrappy team and I think we did a great job and our defense was key tonight.”

On moving on in the tournament:
“I think that we’re playing really hard and we have a lot of belief that our team can go far and people say that going into the tournament that they’re more nervous and less confident, but that’s not our game plan at all. I can tell when I look into my teammates eyes, that we’re all really confident and we believe that we’re going to win this game. That just helps a lot and we want to prove to ourselves and to other people that we are a really good team and are respected and that we battle each game by playing hard and executing the game plan. And that’s what we’ve done and we want to keep improving.”

Freshman Lauren Carlini

On Wisconsin’s hitters this weekend:
“Everyone’s been taking really aggressive swings this whole weekend and they’ve just been hitting the ball really well. There haven’t been very many hitting errors and if the ball’s too tight or if it’s off the net, they make it work, they don’t make unforced errors. I think we’re just getting really good looks, too and being smart with the ball. They know if they have a double block in front of them that they’re going to tip over it. I think, overall, our hitters have just done a great job and they’ve been really smart these past two days.”

On Cal’s defense:
“Going into it we didn’t really know what kind of defense they were going to have with the setter front row. We didn’t have a lot of matches on them. So I was just kind of testing it out and I was setting my hitters first. Then I kind of realized they were setting a seam there. On ball side, I thought I had a good opportunity, I went over on the second.”

On moving onto the Sweet 16:
It’s pretty awesome. I think a lot of people were not expecting us to get this far and do as well as we have so far. So we’re just going to continue to keep proving people wrong and we know that it’s do-or-die. Kind of going off of what Ellen said, we’re battling for every point and we’re being so aggressive and we’re so confident in each other and it’s just a complete team effort that is going to make us win in the end.

Junior Ellen Chapman

On Wisconsin’s game plan:
Our game plan was just to stay aggressive and keep the serves on them and with doing that we always keep them out of system. Our backcourt did a great job of getting those balls up and to Lauren. So that made it really easy for all of our hitters to put the ball away. I think we’re just really focusing on the game plan. This past match we really stuck to it and did a good job with that. I don’t know, I think we’re just being aggressive on every ball. Every one of us out there is just trying to play our best.

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California Head Coach Rich Feller

Opening Statement:
“First of all, I want to thank the University of Wisconsin. They were great hosts. They did a great job with the tournament, hospitality, facilities. Everything was top notch, so thank you. Second thing is, I have a lot of pride in this team right here. They have worked hard through a lot of tough times with some injuries and just coming back from some tough, tough matches—some tough five-game losses, a few five-game wins. And they’ve always worked hard. They’ve always put their hearts out there and I give them a lot of credit. We got one step further than we got last year. We were picked to finish seventh in our conference and we finished in a tie for fifth. So we really exceeding some expectations, at least by the experts that picked us there. Not happy with the loss tonight, but certainly happen with how the season went with my players here. In particular I want to thank Adrienne Gehan, our senior. (She’s) gone through a lot in her four years from a Final Four finals appearance to a broken ankle to coming back form abdominal pull and hanging tough with us for the past couple matches of the season. And of course Michelle (Neumayr) whose come back and, eligibility-wise she may be a freshman still even though she’s been with the program for three years. Two ACL injuries on the same knee, back-to-back years, one year apart. Two solid years of rehab for her and now she’s been a full-time starter for us and in her first NCAA tournament. So these two are symbolic of the kind of team we have: hard work, gutty and just always pushing through adversity to succeed.”

On what part of Wisconsin’s game gave Cal the most trouble tonight:
“I think their defense. They picked up a lot of balls. They got a lot of balls up that we were hitting pretty high-percentage and pretty hard. And obviously their offense when they got those balls up they were in system a lot. Offensively their hitters hit smart, hit under our block quite a bit. We were blocking them too high and they did a good job of adjusting to that and making hit high off of our hands or hitting it under our block. We didn’t make the adjustments I though we could have made a little quicker and perhaps had more success. But they did a great job keeping us on the defensive a lot.”

On confidence coming in and using possible size advantage:
“Did we have a size match? I don’t know about that. Overconfident? No. Confident. It’s a lot about matchups, but really it’s about how your team executes on their side of the net. They would be the first to say—they already did—that we didn’t execute as well as we felt we should or could. Some of that has to do with Wisconsin’s pressure. Some of that has to do with whatever. We have a lot of players that haven’t been in this game. In fact we have one player that’s gone beyond the first round. So we have a lot of new faces out there, a lot of people that we were playing in this kind of pressure situation for the first time. We’ll be better next year.”

Final thoughts on the NCAA tournament:
“Good luck to Wisconsin in the tournament. I hope they win it all. Makes us look good.”

ON WISCONSIN
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