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    NCAA Regionals Preview: Florida State vs. Wisconsin

    Dec. 12, 2013

    Wisconsin Head Coach Kelly Sheffield opening statement:

    “We’re really excited about being here in Champaign and playing in the Regionals. When you have a place where you have three Big Ten teams it’s really kind of cool and special and we’re excited about it. It’s a great field four; four teams that are playing their best volleyball at the end of the season that are coming in with a lot of confidence. The other three teams have a lot of experience, we’re kind of the newbies, but we like what we’ve seen out of our team, we’re confident bunch, and we’re excited to get started tomorrow night.”

    Coach Sheffield on using his NCAA Tournament experience to help his inexperienced team:

    “I’ve never made it to this round, but they’re coaching philosophies, and our philosophy is that we prepare a certain way all the way throughout the season and we carry that over into the postseason. To me, you don’t go in and reinvent the wheel. What we’ve done has been really good. It’s been good enough to have a good season in the Big Ten and that conference prepares you for this. If you are able to beat the top teams in that league, that’s the best teams in the country and we feel we’ve been very competitive in that league preparing a certain way and we’re going to continue to prepare a certain way. And maybe you’re a little more diligent with things. We do what we do and none of us have to be anything different than what we’ve already been and that’s been the message we’ve been talking about and that’s what I’ve been seeing from these guys. They’re loose and they’re confident, but they’re ready to get to work.”

    Coach Sheffield on what he’s seen from Florida State:

    “These guys are monsters at the net. They’re offensively really good, blocking-wise really good, and when I see them I see a Big Ten team and that’s not to say our conference is the be-all-end-all but when you’re looking at most of the Big Ten teams you’re looking at very physical teams and that’s who we’ve been playing against. Sometimes when you go outside of conference you’re seeing a different style of volleyball, maybe it’s a smaller team or defensive oriented or a lot quicker. [Florida State] is big, they’re physical, and they’re similar to the majority of teams we see in conference. They run a six-two, which we’ve got a lot of teams in our league that, are running that as well. They’re very balance; they have no problem going to anyone on their roster. A lot of teams you’ll see have one or two all-stars and that’s whose leading them. This group (Florida State) can really go to a lot of different areas and so they’re a good ball club, as everyone is in this round.”

    #4 Annemarie Hickey on making it to her first NCAA Tournament as a senior:

    “It’s really exciting and I think it’s even more enjoyable for me to spend it with my teammates who have made it as well and just going out there and playing our hardest with no regrets. I think our team has done a great job with battling in the Big Ten and now the postseason and we’re just ready to go out there and prove people wrong and prove to people that we are a really great team. It’s really exciting for us to get in the gym and just keep playing volleyball. We’re one of the sixteen teams that are still able to play and I think it’s really exciting for us.”

    #1 Lauren Carlini on the team playing their best volleyball right now:

    “I think everyone is just really confident right now, making really good decisions, making strides, and really improving. Our passes have been top-notch these past few games and haven’t made me move much so distributing the ball has been really easy. I think our team just has a little swagger upon us and we know we’re good. Even though we don’t have the experience as much as some of the teams we’re remaining confident and just going for it.”

    Carlini on how she’s improved throughout her freshmen year:

    “I think connection-wise, I’ve improved a lot because it’s hard adjusting to your hitters during the first few weeks, especially in preseason and after a while you start to learn tendencies, how your hitters like the ball, and things like that, so that’s definitely improved throughout the season. Also, leadership and connection skills with people; I learned what makes certain people tick and what can be said to them to get their full potential out of them. So, I think leadership and connections have been really big.”

    #20 Ellen Chapman on her improvement with her hitting percentage and blocking:

    “Kind of going off of what Lauren [Carlini] was saying, she hasn’t had to move much on setting the ball because our defense has been so consistent and that’s made my job easier to with hitting. I think we do a really good job scouting and seeing where their defense is defending me or whether they’re switching it up as the match goes on and I try to use that to my advantage and go along with what they’re throwing at me to try to put the ball away.”

    Florida State Head Coach Chris Poole opening statement:

    “It is, hopefully, going to be some great volleyball and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to be here and represent the ACC. We know that certainly the Big Ten is a great conference they have done a great job all year. We expect all the teams we meet to be very good.

    Coach Chris Poole on scheduling Big Ten games in the preseason:

    “We do try to schedule some tough matches, some top 20 teams, because we want to get a taste of what it will be like. We were very fortunate that we had three in our schedule this season. They were all good matches. We know they are very good teams and we know that we’re going to have to play very well if we want to come out with a victory. Everyone here is eyeing the final four knowing that if you get hot for a couple days, anything can happen and that’s what we’re tying to do here.

    Coach Poole on the team’s mentality going into this weekend’s matches:

    “I think when we first got into this kind of situation in 2009, it was eye opening for the girls. They weren’t prepared like they should have been mentally. In the past few years they have gotten more accustomed to realizing that we have a team capable of going farther in the tournament, so certainly they have done a better job preparing. We’ve prepared them with the schedule we have had, giving them a taste of what it’s like to play against the best in the country and give them an opportunity to succeed or fail and try to work through those weaknesses. They certainly are excited to be here and know that it’s going to be a great weekend.”

    #23 Elise Walch, on playing in the Sweet 16:

    “I think the experience has helped us and two years ago we were looking around thinking ‘oh this is so neat,’ and now we’re experienced and have more knowledge of what we need to do to be prepared and come in to win.”

    #14 Ashley Neff on playing in the Sweet 16:

    “I think we’re definetly more prepared at this time. It was a new experience two years ago and now we expect to get there, and that’s the goal. It’s not just if we can get to the Sweet 16 and farther, it’s an expectation and something that we want to do.”

    Coach Poole on FSU and Wisconsin’s experience levels:

    I think we will know within the first ten points of the match. Wisconsin has got a lot of great players and a very good coach who has been going to the NCAA tournament during his time at Dayton so I think he has brought a sense of experience to that program and their staff’s expectations have been very high since he got there.  It’s a very similar situation to when I came to Florida State having gone to the tournament prior. If you bring in the right mentality, you just need to get the girls to follow you, which Kelly [Sheffield] has certainly done. He’s done a great job of turning around that program. Again, the talent was there, one of the best setters in the country who is a leader and a big time player, has been able to help lead that team and make them believe along with the coaching staff.

    Coach Poole on the Big Ten Conference:

    “It’s very good. Obviously they have challenged each other all year. Right now it is the top conference in the country, they’re showing that this year. From year to year that may change but certainly recently they have been the best. I think this year with seven teams you’ve got to take your hat off to them. They’ve done a great job and those teams deserve to be here.”

    Neff on playing non-conference games:

    “I think it shows you the different competition throughout the country that we don’t play. It does help a lot because you’re playing different styles of volleyball than the ACC.”

    Walch on playing non-conference games:

    “Playing at that level, playing against those teams helps prepare us for the post-season.”

    Walch on her former team, Wisconsin:

    “I’m really excited to see some former teammates. They have a great program and are doing awesome this year so I’m just really excited to see them all. For game time though, I’ll treat them as any other team. We’re going to play our game. The main goal is to get to the Final Four. I have a lot of respect for all their players and I’m still really good friends with a lot of them.”

    Coach Poole on playing Wisconsin:

    “We teach the girls that when its game time you look across the net and just see jerseys. You don’t see faces or worry about names, you’re just trying to play at the highest level you can. Certainly I think that our players are playing with a lot of confidence right now. There’s no way of knowing how everyone is going to respond. We have pretty good balance offensively. I think some things we’re talked about are consistency, trying to cut down on errors, trying not to let things overwhelm us. Knowing how well Wisconsin has done this year you can’t just say ‘well, we’ve got an advantage in this part of the game.’ They have great middles, a great setter, they have great defense, outsides that are very good, great passing, so there’s not a true weakness to them. It’s going to be which team is going to be more consistent starting off. It’s going to be real important to keep our heads, not panic, and recover.”

    Neff on winning on the road at Florida:

    “Right after the match we were celebrating but we knew that match was over. It was a great win for us and our program but we have to focus on Wisconsin. It’s great to get a win like that against a rival but we’ve got to move on to the next match and think about what we can do to win this one.”

    Coach Poole on Florida:

    “It was a rival and Florida is a great team but as soon as that was over they were just another team we beat in the second round and we moved on. That may be something we celebrate a month from now but it is not our focus right now.”

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