Women's Volleyball
NCAA Regionals Preview: Illinois vs. Purdue

Dec. 12, 2013

Illinois Head Coach Kevin Hambly’s Opening Statement:

“I’m excited to be in Champaign, playing in the Regional. I think State Farm Center is a great venue for volleyball and I’m excited to host and excited about the teams that are here with the Big Ten being represented by three of the teams. It just shows the strength of the conference. Florida State looks good and all the Big Ten teams look good and it’s going to be an interesting region.” 

Coach Hambly on how preparation is different with already having faced all the teams in the Champaign regional:

“I think the one thing we have is we have more information on them, especially Purdue and Wisconsin because we have all of their matches. We played Florida State at the beginning of the year and we don’t know much about them now, but right now we’re only focused on Purdue. We have twenty-four matches on them and they have twenty-four matches on us, so we know each other very well which means it just comes down to execution, how our players perform, how their players perform, and how well we execute the game plan.”

#14 Liz McMahon on the ongoing rivalry between Purdue and Illinois:

“We’ve got on back and forth a lot times with them and we have battling student sections, but they’re just a great team. They’re a defensive team similar to us and well coached so it’s always a battle.” 

#3 Jennifer Beltran on what she learned from the NCAA Tournament experience two years ago:

“When I first played in the NCAA tournament, as a freshmen, I was told it was going to be tough and every team is good and every single night you have to come ready so that’s the mentality I’ve had ever since I’ve been in the tournament and the start of this one. It’s something I made sure to pass along to our team. It’s exciting and every team you play is going to be good and you never know what’s going to happen because anything can happen on any given night and that’s what makes it exciting.” 

Beltran on what they learned from playing at State Farm Center earlier this season:

“Of course State Farm Center is a lot bigger than playing in Huff [Hall]. Playing in Huff is a lot more intimate and the fans are a lot closer which makes it really unique. It’s going to be different obviously, but we’re excited for it. It’s going to be nice to see people come out and see all the support we get.”

Coach Hambly on playing at State Farm Center:

“One of the concerns I’ve had is that when you go to a regional you want it to feel a little bit special, and it is the tournament. It’s an accomplishment to make the sweet sixteen, and to play in the regional semifinal, and hopefully the regional final. At first I was disappointed we weren’t playing at Huff, but I think actually being at State Farm Center and with the [NCAA] courts down, it actually feels like a regional site instead of a home match which is good; we get to be comfortable, and take care of finals and sleep in our own beds, but we get a different feel here which I think it is cool for the girls because it should be special.”

McMahon on what sets this team apart from the team two years ago:

“This is totally different. It’s different being home because it’s a lot nicer to be able to take care of school, but I’m excited to see the turnout.”

Purdue Head Coach Dave Shondell Opening Statement:

“Our team is excited to be here for what I think is going to be a great regional tournament. I believe that there are four teams that are very balanced. I think they will all represent this region very well in the Final Four.  Well coached, great athletes and we’re ready to get started and let the fur fly.

Coach Shoneell on prepping for conference opponent Illinois: 

“It’s not a whole lot [different].  They’re very physical and they’re playing at a very high level. I think they’re playing as well as they have all season and with great confidence. We feel like there are some things we’ll have to do to stay in the match and if we can do those things I like our chances.

#11 Carly Cramer on this regional differing from those past:

“I think this one is different because we are close to home. I know we played at home last year for regionals but this just feels different because we’ve bussed out here. We haven’t had the commercial flights and all of the jazz that goes with the name of the NCAA Tournament. I think that’s kept us grounded so we can play our normal, relaxed volleyball.

#2 Val Nichol on the legacy of Purdue volleyball:

“We have made it to the Sweet Sixteen four years in a row but coming into this season with the experience and balance this team has we have a goal to exceed those expectations of going to the Sweet Sixteen and going farther in the tournament.”

#12 Kiki Jones on the other Big Ten teams:

“I think that it gives us a great advantage because we’ve seen everyone and we’ve scouted them really hard. I think that we’re really well prepared. I think that we already have a great rivalry with Illinois in the Big Ten this year. I think that it’ll bring out a lot of people to support us and give Illinois’ [student section] Spike Squad a run for their money.”

Jones on preparing for Big Ten teams:

“I think with Big Ten teams it’s more about what happens on your side of the net compared to scouting other teams. When you play a team from another conference and they haven’t seen you before it’s an advantage in the aspect that they haven’t seen your style of play before. With the Big Ten teams, you see that style all season long.”

Coach Shondell on preparing for Big Ten Teams:

“Last weekend we played a two teams that we were not very familiar with and so much of that was establishing a game plan and scheming. Against Illinois it’s about 10% scheming and game planning and 90% execution.”