Dec. 1, 2012
Coach Ray Bechard: I’d like to, first of all, congratulate Wichita State and Coach Lamb. They played great tonight and really for the last two days played extremely well. I’d also like to thank this group right here and the University of Kansas for taking us on the most enjoyable ride we’ve had in the history of Kansas volleyball. As we know around here the NCAA tournament comes to an abrupt end when you don’t play well or play as well as you would have liked. And it’s tough in that locker room when you know you’re going to be around this group for the last time. But there’ll be a point in time where we will understand many of the things that we got accomplished this year. That’s probably not going to be for the next few days. The key stat, and you guys are going to ask me, I can tell you right now, they passed the ball to their setter better than we did. And their offense was more in tune than ours, so it’s disappointing that you don’t play at your best when you need to but your opponent has a lot to do with that and we’re still extremely proud of the season that we had and these young ladies up here.
Caroline, can you just take us through the emotions of losing a match like this?
Caroline Jarmoc: You could probably tell by the way I look right now, the emotion. You just put so much work into something and it’s hard when it just ends so quickly because in season you have a loss and it’s okay move on to the next game. But in the tournament there is no next game. So you have to be ready for your season to go forward another week or end abruptly. All of us are so close and we had such a great season that we don’t want it to end. And Brea even said in the locker room that she wanted to practice on Monday. It’s just something hard to accept.
Caroline, can you take us through like the battle you had between Ashley Andrade?
Caroline Jarmoc: She was very offensive and defensive. She was blocking great too and swinging well. They were tracking me throughout the match and times when it was difficult and they did not get disturbed. I had two blockers and didn’t always make the best decisions. She worked angles all match and I tried to take away her power shot but then she went the other direction so she was just very efficient.
Tayler, what was it about Wichita State that allowed them to go on so many runs throughout the match especially later in the sets?
Tayler Tolefree: Like Coach B said it was difficult at times for us to sideout and kind of find that rhythm, that stride, that we’ve so often found this season. So when we’re not feeling that and we kind of have to grind it out and look for some momentum in some way. They were tough on our passers and their hitters make good decisions, aggressive decisions. They were coming after us.
Tayler, being from Lawrence, what did it mean to you to see this city rally around you guys like it did?
Tayler Tolefree: A lot. I hope that everyone who was here can appreciate the work that we put in.
Catherine, Coach Lamb commented that in rally scoring that if you get down by five or six points it’s tough to get back within one or catching up, which you had a couple of good plays and just couldn’t quite get over the hump. Can you comment about what happened to keep coming back from being four or five down?
Catherine Carmichael: It’s hard, obviously, when you get yourself into a little bit of a hole and you have to dig your way out. But it just comes down to everybody passing well, setting well, and hitting well, and I had a few good plays but Erin set me up really well. And it just turned out that way. We just couldn’t pull it out after that.
Catherine, can you talk about the differences between the two teams’ blocks?
Catherine Carmichael: Like Caroline said, they were tracking us really well. They had two blockers almost in front of everybody. Obviously, that makes it a lot tougher for us to hit around four hands that are up there. They were doing a really good job and we just couldn’t respond in sometimes.
That run that they went on in the middle of the second set, set a tone for the rest of the match, and you got it down by 10 or 12 all of a sudden. Did that knock the air out of you guys a little bit in that run?
Caroline Jarmoc: When you can’t seem to sideout of a rotation the anxiety tends to build for each point that you don’t get. And the gap gets bigger and bigger. To make up one point it seems like 10 points. It’s just you’re working so hard and it’s just not working for you. And then you get one point and that’s only a dent in what the hole is. There’s anxiety that builds there and it’s the team’s responsibility and people who are on the court to kind of just take it one point at a time because they can only score one point at a time and you can only score one point at a time. And just the mentality kind of changes when you get in a hole.
On what returns to the team next season and the future of the program:
Coach Ray Bechard: There’s a lot leaving right there in Tayler Tolfree, I can tell you that. And you know you think of one senior but nobody defines our program like that kid does right there. Yeah, we hope to. Right now it’s hard to kind of look into the future but we got a ton of kids back and we redshirted two kids that are really talented. So the future looks bright. We just got to get through the next few days because this group put it a great deal into the last four months. But we are excited about many things we did this year and what the future holds for us.
Coach, you had 4,500 fans in here, the biggest single session in the tournament so far, a couple exciting matches. Maybe you guys won some of the fans despite the disappointing loss, maybe you guys won some fans tonight for your sport too.
Coach Ray Bechard: We think we should be the focal point for volleyball development in this region and that’s where we want to be. So hopefully you’re right that there’s some people who came and saw some females really competing hard with grace and dignity and effort and energy. And I think that’s what makes our sport so special. Our Jayhawk fans are knowledgeable volleyball fans too because they knew we needed them in the fourth set and they responded to that. Just when we made enough plays to get back in it we made enough plays to take ourselves out of it.
Coach, Sara (McClinton) led the way again tonight. After last night’s performance by her were you kind of emphasizing having her being the focal point of the offense?
Coach Ray Bechard: No, we wanted better balance but you see 42 swings from Carmichael and 43 from McClinton and that’s 85, and that’s way out of whack percentage-wise because those are outlet sets when you don’t pass a ball to target. That’s where you have to go. And for Tolefree and Jarmoc, only to get a total of 46 that’s way below our goal. So that goes back to we didn’t do one skill well tonight and that’s the first contact when they were serving and our setter didn’t have enough options. So Sara made the best of that, Cathy (Carmichael) had a couple unforced errors but I thought she got a little bit hot late. But we’ve got to get the ball to Jarmoc and Tolefree more like we did all year. And you know Jarmoc’s having an all-American year and we just didn’t put her in a good situation tonight to have an all-American night.
Did you ever sense a frustration from your team?
Coach Ray Bechard: No, we talked about the second set where they punched us pretty good but we outplayed them on the last 10 points. We were down 22 -10 or 23-10 and we scored six in the last eight and that’s what we talked about in the locker room is that we actually outplayed them in the last 10 points but we didn’t respond as well as we needed to. And when you continually have to be predictable offensively it’s going to wear on you and that’s what it does late in games when you continually have to set the same set over and over. And that’s what we got to beat tonight. It’s a little bit too predictable in the end.
Coach, I believe it was 19-20 there in the fourth set and you have a serving error. How does something like that hurt you guys momentum-wise at that point?
Coach Ray Bechard: The serving error was aggressive, out of bounds deep, which we’ll take in certain situations but after a time out obviously you got to have a ball in and then they come right back and got a service ace. What could have been a 20-20 game turned into 22-19 real quick. And in late-game situations you’ve got to make better plays. And late game meaning when it gets to 20-20 you got to be pretty error free especially in a situation like tonight.
Coach, how would you like this team to be remembered?
Coach Ray Bechard: Well, they’re a fun group to coach. They won 26 matches. They won a lot of good matches on the road, the best percentage record in Big 12 history, did a lot of things for the first time. And you know you set yourself up, you have a successful season, and all of a sudden you’re at home and there’s a certain level of anxiety and pressure that goes with that too. But we’ll take it every time. And I see 26 wins and seven losses against one of the most competitive schedules in the country. And a group even in the locker room after tonight that’s hurting really bad but stayed together, is not pointing a finger at anybody, and just was a joy to coach.
Coach, what did you think of the job that Wichita State did offensively?
Coach Ray Bechard: They hit .300 and sidedout 65 percent, and their setter was able to make choices. So they passed the ball to target better than we did. And that’s what – that’s a fine line it comes down to in a match like this. Their middles got 31 kills and ours got 17. And we feel like the middles are the strength of our team.
Coach, last night you emphasized how Wichita State’s setter is very aggressive. How do you think you played against her tonight?
Coach Ray Bechard: Okay, Chelsea still had nine kills, which is a good number, but it came down to us not stopping 28 and us not stopping number three. And once again, when they pass a ball and that setter’s got all those options it’s like having second-and-one in football. I guess the whole playbook’s open, and she had opportunities to make options where Erin was pretty predictable tonight because she just had a hard time passing the ball like we’re capable of.
Coach Chris Lamb: Okay, I need to think of one first. Alright, well, I’ve been around this place for 13 years, and we’ve had little goals. And we’ve achieved goals along the way, and, you know, have been in the tournament a few times. And someone told me a long time ago in NCAA Women’s Volleyball about 64 seeded teams and all the regional sites that teams drive to, it’s not really how far you get, it’s who you get to. And the Shockers have, I think, five or six times ran into the No. 1 overall seed three or four times, and I think at least the No. 1 seed in our region, at least in the second round. In women’s volleyball, some of these teams that are at the very top are really, really, hard to find your way against. And one time I thought there was a, you know, shot maybe to crack through. We were at Oklahoma and we lost our starting middle blocker, senior Sarah McGee, and it really deflated us. This was these guys’ freshman year, you know, and it’s like, man, you know how do you get these opportunities? Well, Sam’s not 100 percent right now, but this is about as healthy as we’ve been at the end of the year and, man, we were able to play really, really well outside the first two sets yesterday. Actually the second set was pretty good, but we kind of got comfortable and we’ve been playing pretty well ever since.
You know, this team’s been up and down this year. This team has shown me signs of what you guys just saw this weekend. We’ve not always looked as interested, and we’ve had that team that was the banged up team. So I felt like this year we’ve had like three different teams on the floor. But when the good team shows up, I think that these guys are capable of a lot, and it’s a good thing it showed up at the end of the season. It’s fun to play your best at the end, for sure.
Can you talk about the atmosphere? I know this is the first time Kansas has hosted an NCAA tournament weekend, so obviously there’s a lot of excitement on that side. But you guys coming into that atmosphere with a lot of Shockers fans here. How did that affect your mentality, especially today?
Emily Adney: I loved it. I thought it was great here. I mean, obviously we won, so it’s great. But I loved being in that gym, and I’ve never been here before. It was a great place to play, and having all the fans come and travel was unbelievable. It’s so nice to see that we have the people that will travel for, and watch us, and it was just a great atmosphere and a great place to win.
Jackie Church: I guess I can talk a little bit about that. I think I’ve been coming here since I was about four years old. I’m from Kansas City, and to come here and watch a basketball team, I know that magic feeling that Allen (Fieldhouse) has. And to be able to come in here and play, I will never forget that. But for our fans to come in here in such a historic place to really turn the tables and show us what Wichita State has to offer. Our fans were being as loud as everyone else, it was a once in a lifetime experience, and the fans here were awesome, too. They cheered for both sides. I heard at one point, if rallies were going and it was great to see so much volleyball support and all. And when it’s historically a basketball school, so it was awesome to see that. I love the fans.
Coach Chris Lamb: I’ll say that I had only one planned speech if I was sitting here tonight. Well, I guess I would have been either way. I’m glad the KU fans came. I mean, when they get these regionals, it’s important that the fans show up. And Ray’s got a nice program, and I’m glad for Ray that the Jayhawk fans showed up to watch this event. It’s important that they did. They saw a great product on the floor this weekend. And my hope is that this does good things for Jayhawk volleyball.
Coach, and really anybody, can you guys just talk about what adjustments you made from game one to games two, three and four that obviously worked in your favor?
Jackie Church: I think we cut down on the errors. I think that was our biggest problem. We were right in there in the first game, and when we cleaned up ourselves, that’s when we really took off. Getting confidence from the beginning is huge for our team, and getting swinging from the beginning, as well. So, I think — I never really felt shaken in the first game whatsoever. It just didn’t go our way. We made some silly errors, but it was our mistakes, not necessarily them killing us. So, I think that we just cleaned it up and that’s really what was the difference.
Coach Chris Lamb: In game one, we doubled them in errors, and that’s a tough way to play volleyball in this rally-scoring era that we’re in, so what’s she’s saying is correct. Once we settled down and stopped spraying the ball all over the place and getting aced, and serving out of bounds, and started playing volleyball, things started going our way.
Emily, you had three of the last four kills at the end of the match, talk about how great it felt.
Emily Adney: I struggled off and on this year. And so that felt just so great, being my last game in my senior year, being able to pull through. I was a little nervous when I bombed that over pass out of bounds, and it was nice to be able to get back and keep my head in it. They’ve been working with me all year about keep swinging, keep swinging, and I think that was just awesome.
Sort of along the same lines as the other question about how the matches sort of developed. When you have built up on a run that resulted in a 12-point lead in the second set, does that carry through to the other games or is there a reset button that’s set?
Elizabeth Field: I think it does carry through, to some degree, but set by set you have to — you kind of do have to reset yourself because you’re anticipating the other team resetting themselves. So, going into that third set, even though we won by whatever it was in the second, even though we won 25-16, we knew that they were going to come back with a lot of firepower and they weren’t just going to roll over. KU’s a good volleyball club and so in regard to that, there is kind of a reset button. But we do try to carry that emotion into that third set and try to mimic it, but not just anticipating them having those, the exact same issues. So, it’s kind of a mixture, I think.
Coach Chris Lamb: Well, I feel like it’s sort of a dual responsibility. In rally scoring volleyball, it’s a sprint, but you have to carry yourself sort of with the marathon mentality. You just can’t live and die on every point. You get old fast that way, so you’ve got to be able to be patient, let your game come to you, while at the same time understand that performance matters and these points go fast. You’ve got to make plays, you’ve got to keep your head in it. So, it’s a tricky game that way since we converted the scoring system over, and if you fall asleep for a couple of seconds, and you find yourself down by four, it’s hard to recover. Case in point, look at game four. I mean, we got that nice five-point cushion and they finally made their run and they got it within a point, but they had to work pretty hard just to get to down one. And that’s a tribute to us getting that early lead, and I see that happening all the time in this game.
Jackie, Coach said that once you guys settled down you were able to stop, you know, making errors. What do you think contributed to you guys settling down?
Jackie Church: When you come out in a big game like this there’s always a little bit of first jitters, and I think that knowing that a team is not beating us, we’re beating ourselves, is nice. Because you know that it’s what you’re doing, not necessarily they’re over our block or pounding the ball down on us, it’s us. So, I guess that really is something, a positive thing to go off of. Yes, they had some great kills and you just have to put your hand out and say great shot. But that wasn’t necessarily the case tonight. We defended hard, and we did clean up those errors. To know that it was our mistakes is what was keeping, you know, our — us down, it’s nice to be able to make that adjustment.
Coach Chris Lamb: I have to throw in, I mean we hit .308 tonight against a team that, when we watched some tape and I went back and got a whole bunch of their box scores from all of these games – I’m looking at this Texas game and I’m going man, they were defending the Longhorns. These guys were really dinging it up. For me to see 65 kills on 156 swings and the .308 hitting percentage I’m sad that my setter’s not in here, because we had some specific do’s and don’ts tonight with our offense and I need to tell you something, I’ve got a great setter. Everybody knows that she can score. I don’t think people realize the kind of defense that she provides. I don’t think people realize how good she serves. You’ve got the science of setting and then you’ve got the art of setting. And so you work on all your technique to be accurate, but then the art of setting is the quarterbacking skill and now that my middles have really heated up and gotten going, she’s just learned how to keep them busy and put them in the right spots. She was just magical this weekend, and I can’t wait to go give her another hug. She’s great.
Jackie, kind of along the same lines, what you were saying about momentum. The Arkansas win and going to five sets. How much of that carried into tonight, or did you have to block that out and take KU at what they are?
Jackie Church: Arkansas is a great program and they had different aspects to their game, along with KU. They were a great pin team and so us defending them was different than us defending KU. We were so excited after that game, and for our team to show that fight and come back, that carried into today, that our fight was there. But just like every game, you have to enjoy the win and then focus on the next game. I know our coaches went in that night to do scouting report and were up God knows how long, and so they enjoyed it and then they have to prepare, and so do we, take care of our bodies, and get rest. To know that the fight’s there, I think that carried into today, but not necessarily the game plan.