May 7, 2010
Stanford Head Coach John Kosty
I want to thank Jenny Claypool. She's put on a tremendous tournament and worked really hard to make this a first-class event. The student-athletes from all four universities appreciate her efforts and all the efforts of the Athletic Department to be able to host this event. We're excited to be here. We're going to play a very strong Penn State team. They have what I consider three All-Americans. Max Lipsitz, the middle blocker, first team All-American two years in a row. Will Price, who's played on many junior international teams and has a lot of international experience and is a talented player at the opposite position. Joe Sunder, their outside hitter, not an All-American but plays like an All-American. He's big, jumps well, and has a great arm. We're really looking forward to a big battle tomorrow.
On the challenges playing Penn State
It's going to be a battle, pin-to-pin. Max is going to throw in some kills there in the middle, so I think there's going to be a lot of offense tomorrow. Their second team All-American [Dennis] Del Valle, their libero, dug 17 balls in their game last night, so he was a big factor in their win. They're a talented group... Our two teams differ in one, the passing. I think we have three true passers. Penn State has two good passers, and then a really big outside hitter who also passes the ball. How effective are we serving, and how effective are they serving, to get each team in trouble passing wise? The goal is to take out the middle, and I believe whoever is better at that has a chance at winning. Secondly, I think it's competition. We played 22 matches in the MPSF. We've had to battle for each and every win. Their league may not be as strong, and their strength of schedule may not be as strong. We're battle tested, but as we saw last night, they can play at a really high level as well.
Senior Setter Kawika Shoji
On experience factoring into the match
Some of their players have been in the final game, so they have a one-up on us in that respect. I think we're confident going in, we're battle tested. We're ready for any situation that gets thrown at us, especially playing out of the MPSF. I think playing at home is a one-up for us because we're a little more comfortable in this environment.
Senior Opposite Evan Romero
On the home court advantage and Stanford's environment
I love it. It's just a fun group. That's what college sports is all about. Not only the players playing the game, but the school enjoying it. I think we had the biggest crowd we've ever had these past four years here last night. They're looking forward to it tomorrow. We're really lucky to have all our friends there supporting us. Whenever we're struggling on a play or two, you see the guy in the cat outfit waving us on, we get all that energy back in, we refocus and I'd say it's a big home court advantage... Some games I think we even saw little kids coming in with their Halloween costume, ready to trick-or-treat, which was fun, and [I hope] it keeps growing and we get a lot of fans with kids in costumes enjoying the game.
Penn State Quotes
Head Coach Mark Pavlik:
"It's nice to be preparing on this day instead of sight-seeing. You look at what Stanford has done all year and what they've overcome. I considered Al Rodriguez a great, dear friend. I'm sure he would be proud of this Stanford team, I know how much he cared as a part of Stanford volleyball. For them to go through the year that they did and achieve the things that the Cardinal has achieved this year, my hat's are off to Kenny and John and Chris and his crew."
"Having said that, we're just looking forward to playing. I think this is going to be probably one of the most exciting environments that a national championship has been played in since we hosted in 2006 and had the Bruins. Anytime student-athletes can be part of that experience is something they can remember for as long as they live. Win or lose you're gonna take things away from this and always have it be part of your life. That's a great tribute to the kids that we have and that Stanford has, and the job they've done to get here."
On the development of the libero position...
"It's kind of been old news, now that we've had it over the last decade. I think what has happened is you've got some outstanding liberos that have been out there in the last six to 10 years that have been great models for the younger players coming up. You got Denny and Erik as two of the top ones in the game right now and I think it's given the normal-sized guys the opportunity to say 'I can really effect the outcome of a match and if I get real good at it I'm gonna be invaluable to my team.' Not only have the younger guys gotten real good at it, they are redefining the position, as we see it with Denny and Erik."
On redefining the setter position...
"I'm not so sure you see huge guys. I don't think much has changed that, two years ago we won it with a normal-sized setter. Edgardo, yeah, he thinks he has some size, but I don't know if anything has really been redefined."
RS Sophomore Setter Edgardo Goas:
On the animated attitudes of each team and the effects on each team...
"[Dennis] energizes the entire team. I'm used to it, having him run around for the past six years. I'm kind of used to it but I'm sure for the other guys on the team he gets them to cheer up for a little and he gets our momentum going."
On difference between the Stanford crowd and the Penn State crowd...
"Penn State crowd is a little more passive. Like I say, we have been playing all season with crowds like this. When we go to George Mason they get loud and crazy. We're used to a loud crowd."
On what Penn State can do to win Saturday's game...
"It's two great teams going at it. We both have good players. The key is going to be serving and passing. If we do that well and continue doing the things that we've been doing over the past week, I think we have a good shot at winning."
Senior Middle Hitter Max Lipsitz:
On difference between the Stanford crowd and the Penn State crowd...
"We've played at the Loyola gym, and that's a pretty rowdy crowd there. [Stanford's] crowd is fun, personally it doesn't bother me. It's energizing, it's great, they're gonna play well, their fans are going to get into it, and it's kind of a motivator to us trying to quiet them down."
We're aware of [our own fans], I have a bunch of family in and their definitely cheering loud for me and our team. Tomorrow night their going to be vastly outnumbered so their going to have to step their game up. I think they'll be ready.
On playing with Stanford's Kawika Shoji and Spencer MacLachlan in international camps...
"I think he came onto the team with the idea that he was going to be a setter, but I think the other kid stepped up. But everyone liked having Kawika on the court so they kind of threw him in the libero position so he could be on the court with us, and he found a way to make it work."
"From what I remember, [Spencer] was a pretty goofy kid. Out there he has fun. He's just a good guy."
On how the coaches have prepared Penn State for the tournament...
"Last night, we've all said it, it was the most prepared that we felt in a long time going into a match. We had a pretty good amount of time to look at numbers and to look at film, and the coaches and whole staff put together an accurate report. I think Will mentioned it before practice today that from all that stuff, we as a team were pretty confident that going in, we were going to win that match. That really is what pushed us to our victory. So think its just kind of a boost, knowing this is what they're going to do when this happens, or if we hit this shot, this is how they're going to rotate and play defense. It's a mental preparation that really kicks in during the match."