Post-match Quotes: Kansas vs. Cleveland State NCAA First Round
Nov. 30, 2012
Coach Ray Bechard: Glad we got through the first set and then moved onto the second one. You never know how a team’s going to react in a situation like that and honestly, it wasn’t our best opening-set performance. But I think what’s important is how we responded after that. We settled down a little bit. We just got sped up and when we slowed down a little bit, we got things back under control. We hit .400, .282, and .438 the last three sets. And just a little indication, we had 10 hitting errors in the first set alone and five in the last three combined. So everybody just got a little better. We passed a little better, center selection was a little better, attackers were doing a better job with their shot selection. But you should credit Cleveland State, too, for coming in and really creating some anxiety, creating some energy on their side of the net. They’ve had a great year. That’s a team that won 13 straight.
So we’re pleased to be moving on. We know we’ve got a very worthy opponent tomorrow night but we’ll get ready for that later. So we’re excited about the opportunity to play in the second round.
Sara, why was it you that took over offensively tonight?
Sara McClinton: Well, I came out a bit nervous the first game but then I was able to lift `Jar’ [Caroline Jarmoc] and some of the older girls. I knew that my role on the team is to get kills and that’s how I can contribute the most to my team. So I just kept swinging away because I knew that’s what my team needed.
Caroline, what was behind the opening set for you guys?
Caroline Jarmoc: Like Sara said, I think it was nerves. You know, a different atmosphere; all the way through playing and practicing in Allen (Fieldhouse) for this past week, the crowd, being in the tournament. None of the girls on the team right now have ever played in a tournament. So I think it was just trying to get those kinks out, getting together as a team. You have to communicate differently because it’s so loud within the gym so you have to really just be a presence.
Are there any other elements to when you guys have a drop off like in the first set, as a team leader on the floor, are there any other outlets that you feel like you need to do to point in the right direction?
Caroline Jarmoc: It’s always a tough call whether you go at it kind of to pick up the intensity in more of an aggressive way or if you just try and make [people relax]. I think everyone was nervous so I didn’t need to be very direct and be like `oh go do this, go do that’. It was just more relaxing everybody and just kind of getting people to smile on the court. Because when we’re smiling and we’re relaxed, we play our best. So my job was just to calm everybody down.
Could you talk about Sara’s night?
Caroline Jarmoc: Sara was great tonight. Like she said, she was shaky in the beginning of the first set. Like anybody, everyone was a bit iffy. So she definitely gathered herself and made the adjustments. She was just swinging away high and hard like she can, so she was very effective tonight.
Caroline, how do you make the girls smile like you were talking about?
Caroline Jarmoc: We actually were laughing in the locker room before the match. I was telling a story and then everyone was laughing really hard in the locker room. So before we would get together before the set started, I’d kind of bring up the inside joke and that definitely relaxes our team because we have a lot of inside jokes so they just make us laugh.
Although you said they were nervous in the first set, once you guys got going the second set onward, how much of a role did the crowd play?
Caroline Jarmoc: You know, we’re a team that just is good at keeping the focus on us and trying to get rid of the outside influences. But when the crowd’s cheering, it does help you with the energy and just happiness overall. You just get more relaxed when you know you have a bunch of supporters.
Sara, talk a little bit about your guys’ block up front tonight. I know especially in the second set, you guys had blocked them six to nothing. Did you know if that kind of helped during the time of the match?
Sara McClinton: Yes, we know that our defense gets a lot of help when we have a block set up and so that’s a way for your front row hitters to help out the defense because we’re obviously not back there digging and contributing in that way.
You guys also saw a lot of pins tonight, especially your first game. How did you guys change your team’s game plan after that?
Caroline Jarmoc: The coaches just said take their dominant shot and then the pins need to – especially in the middle when they were tipping, I guess things that we were referencing. And it was just everybody contributing throughout the rally. It’s being in the moment and being very aware of what’s coming next; that was something we did, and just adjusting your feet to the play.
Sara, the team went from 10 errors in the first set to zero in the second. How do you think you guys were able to…?
Coach Ray Bechard: I told them to stop
Sara McClinton: Yes. I think it was kind of working the kinks out and we just knew that we had to trust each other. I had some of the defensive players come up to me and say, “I got your back. I’ll be there covering you so swing away.”
Caroline, could you put some perspective on what is happening right now.
Caroline Jarmoc: It is definitely a huge accomplishment and I think as a team we all know we are all doing well but our goal this year and like our motto is inch-by-inch. The next match is the next important match and it is the most important match of the year. So, we are really good at not looking too far ahead and being like overlooking a team because that is how you can lose right away. This is one and done. So we are just focusing on what’s next and not looking too far ahead.
Caroline, with that looking ahead to your next opponent, Wichita State, what do you see out of that team heading into tomorrow’s match.
Caroline Jarmoc: Well, we, as a team, got to watch them a bit in the first set and we played them in the spring. I remember that they have a very good setter who is pretty active in the front row as well as some really good middles that hit good angles. So we just have to be very disciplined with our feet if it is blocking or if it is releasing on defense; just being very vigilant on everything.
Coach, this obviously was not the first time that you guys ended up with a loss in the first set. Most of the time you have been able to come back and put it behind you. What is it about your team that allowed them to stay so calm after a bad set and come back?
Coach Ray Bechard: Well we just referenced, we are our own worst enemy, 10 attack errors. We missed a couple of serves and we were just sped up. You know, we have got to slow down and do what you do best. This team is pretty veteran in that way. We had a situation in Manhattan this year where we did not respond well in the first set and came back. So I think they can reference times where they have been able to do that. We don’t want to get into that habit obviously but this isn’t a three-set, four-set match, it’s a marathon. It takes time and you’ve got to grind it out and we played well after that first set for the most part. Started siding out better and just played a little bit more relaxed.
Talk a little bit more about that sideout. What are the exact numbers in front of you? I think the final three sets you were in the 60s and they were in the 40s?
Coach Ray Bechard: We were 41 percent sideout in the first set and our goal was 60 percent and in the last three sets we were 100 percent, 68 percent and 73 percent so, for the match it was 65 percent and they were below 50. So anytime you sideout at 60 percent you have a good chance to win.
Although this was the first tournament game for everyone on the team, were you surprised that it was the sophomore, Sara, who kind of stepped up and took over the team lead for kills?
Coach Ray Bechard: Well, it is a lot about match-ups and Sara had a good match-up tonight. Their block on that side wasn’t as physical. So once we got her settled down and got her going she did a great job. You look at our middles, I mean they both hit, I mean Jarmoc eight kills and one error and Tolefree nine kills and one error. They were very efficient but it seemed like Sara, especially after the first set, really carried us with some good swings.
Could you get a sense that your team was a bit nervous there early in that first set?
Coach Ray Bechard: We were doing crazy stuff and you just don’t know how they are going to react to the situation. I referenced a match that I researched a little bit last night. Louisville was a number 10 seed and loss to Bellmont (in the first set), kind of about the same score we did and I just went over the bench and I said, hey Louisville was in the same situation last night as a seeded team and they settled down and played well and won the next three. So, obviously there would have been some alarm if that would have continued into set two but we jumped out I think in all of the next sets to some early leads which really helped.
Do you think that the fact that you guys are here at home, on campus, for five days and receiving all this attention kind of contributed to the nerves and that slow start?
Coach Ray Bechard: I think it was Cleveland State playing well, doing what they do best. You have got to understand or you have got to remember that, that is a team that has won 13-straight matches against some pretty good teams so we were not playing somebody that wasn’t capable. In volleyball, it’s a fine line as you can see, just a few good plays one way, you’re down eight in the first set and we make a few plays our way and it’s 25-10 in the second set. So we practiced well the last couple of days; very well. The team was energized. You just have to go through it once and then you know.
Coach, how pleased were you with the crowd and having that home support?
Coach Ray Bechard: It was great. It was great and I don’t know what the number was but it was really exciting to see them into it and they did not bail on us after the first set. They really were enthused and encouraged and our team could sense that and feel that. I thought it was a really great night for the field house to have a high level volleyball, both matches in there. So I would think that tomorrow night maybe we’ll add a few people.
What did you think of the job that your back row did in terms of digs?
Coach Ray Bechard: We had 60 digs, that’s 15 per set. That was okay. Twelve blocks, that’s 3 per set, that’s pretty good. So a little bit short of the dig goal but a little ahead of where we were blocking-wise, the goal that we had for tonight.
Coach, you saw a lot of runs to start the game and actually had a 6-0 run to end the third game. What do you say to your team to keep the runs going like that?
Coach Ray Bechard: Well, you’ve got to keep pressure on them and we can pressure with our block. We can pressure with the way we serve the ball. We can pressure with the side attack and we were doing all those things. So we are a physical team but you got to make other teams feel that by the way we get in front of them defensively and the way we attack offensively.
Coach, what do you know about Wichita State?
Coach Ray Bechard: They have been good for a lot of years. A solid, solid program. They play fast. They play a little bit more fast-break than what we do in the Big 12 so that will be an adjustment but it should be a great opportunity for us, a great challenge for us. We are looking forward to it.
Cleveland State Quotes
The opening statement:
Coach Chuck Voss: I was happy with how we played. I don’t think we were overwhelmed from the environment. I think a lot of teams would have been. I don’t know what the crowd was tonight, but it was obviously pro-KU, very loud, very into the match. They seemed to know volleyball relatively well, which was impressive. And – you know it came down for us, being a smaller team, serving and passing. When we passed and when we served the ball the way we wanted to, we were right there with them. So I was happy with how we played overall.
Kara, the first set you got off with a quick start and then the second set the table was totally turned, what was the difference in the two sets from your vantage point?
Kara Koch: I think a couple of our players started playing a little tentative. We were tentative on the service line and hitting. I think that is just where it started and it spread.
Kara, did you feel in the third set that you had to get a little bit more involved in the attack – how did you feel about – on the front line there?
Kara Koch: I was one of those kids who were swinging tentative, I just had to get myself out of that, and it’s a slow process.
Marie, were you aware of what happened in the match that preceded you and considering that it was a mid-major knocking off a BCS institution-type. Did you guys take notice of that – was there any talk among the team about that?
Marie Frease: Yeah we noticed it and we knew we could beat them and we knew we could go out in a Cinderella story. And that is how we came out and we played in the first game.
You obviously saw what Northern Iowa did to Kansas State yesterday.
Marie Frease: Yes.
So the team was aware of those things too. How would assess the evening from your vantage point?
Marie Frease: I thought we came out strong and then like Kara said, we ended up getting tentative and that’s when you make mistakes.
I know it’s kind of difficult for both of you guys, but how would you put this whole season in perspective – can you each respond to that?
Marie Frease: I thought we had a great season. We had a great ride. We ended up doing great in our league. We won both (regular-season and tournament titles) – just sad it’s over.
Kara Koch: I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with any other girls, I can say that.
Marie and Kara, how would you say the environment playing in a basketball stadium-like Allen Fieldhouse affected your play ultimately?
Kara Koch: I think our team feeds on the energy the other fans bring, which I think it was a good thing for our team. We obviously didn’t start off nervous, which is a good thing. I know Chuck was a little worried about that.
Marie Frease: Yeah, if anything I would say that it actually helped us. We feed off the energy of the crowd no matter who they are cheering for. And I thought we came out great.
Chuck can you expand on her expense when she said you were a little bit worried about…
Coach Voss: I wasn’t. We’ve played well on the road all year. You look at our best wins and we went undefeated on the road in our conference. A couple of our worst losses of the year came at home. When you are at home, you have distractions and I think part of KU’s problem in the first game was distraction. You have classes, you have boyfriends, you have parents, you have people trying to get this and that and tugging at you. Quite honestly, I love playing on the road, we do feed off the crowd, and we played extremely well all year on the road.
Can you put the season in perspective?
Coach Voss: We have just a great group of seniors that have worked hard – when they were freshmen, we won a championship and I had a kid go down with an injury and was able to get back to the NCAA Tournament – but these guys worked really hard over the last couple of years. It’s a process of – that takes time. I think it all levels. Teams win with juniors and seniors out there on the court and if you look at our league every year, the teams that are winning, they have juniors and seniors that are leading the way. So it was a special group – one that I will remember.
Can you share your thoughts on (Sara McClinton) for KU?
Coach Voss: She’s a great player. You know I thought – I mean look at the serving stat… we served extremely well and we did have them out of system, but they would just throw it up out there to her and you know – unfortunately, we don’t have anybody who can simulate her in practice…. or anything else. She’s a great player.
When you look at the stats, what stands out about them?
Coach Voss: Well for us the serving, I mean we only had two service errors and I think we did an excellent job. And also, you know Kansas is a really good serving team that put a lot of pressure on our passers. And for us to only have four receiving errors; I think that was really strong. Defensively, what stands out to me is that we had 56 digs compared to their 60, but we had 15 more swings than them. So I thought defensively we went toe-to-toe, if not – maybe a few more game-changing-type plays out there. I thought our defenders did a really good job and some long rallies. So I was really happy with that.
First set, you only had three errors and I think in the second you had 14…is that part of that tentativeness?
Coach Voss: It is… I mean when it rains it snows. And part of that is obviously KU, I mean they are big, physical, strong, and as soon as an error or two happens you know, people just start thinking a little bit too much and you go away from what has worked for you. With the length of KU shots at work 90 percent of the time in our league, they are not going to work against those guys. But I was happy with how we came back in games three and four, at least offensively – we played a lot more aggressive and looked like ourselves.