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NCAA WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP


December 18, 2014


Khat Bell

Haley Eckerman

Jerritt Elliott


OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

BYU テや 3
TEXAS - 1


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by the Longhorns of the University of Texas.テつ Coach, your thoughts on tonight's game.
COACH ELLIOTT:テつ I thought BYU played exceptionally well.テつ Their block caused a lot of problems for us.テつ They got a lot of good touches and a lot of blocks and that took us out of our offense a bit.
But I felt as the match went on we were gaining more and more control.テつ We won Game 3 and I thought we were in a good position to win Game 4.テつ And I think I can't comment on refereeing, but I can comment where I think the sport needs to go and I think we need to look at some instant replays and some abilities to make some calls, because it's difficult when you get a two‑point switch and your kids tried as hard as they did.
A lot of that was a tribute to what BYU did and hats off to what they accomplished tonight.テつ I thought our kids came in prepared.テつ I thought they fought really hard.
They gave us a chance to get back, and I'm just really proud of what this team has accomplished this year and what Khat Bell and Haley have done for this program and it's always hard when you're not ending the season with a W.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ You know all week long that BYU is the best blocking team in the country, but when you're actually facing that block, how different or how difficult is it compared to what you were expecting or maybe thinking it would be, Haley?
HALEY ECKERMAN:テつ I mean, we knew they were big, that they were obviously the top blocking team.テつ And we had practice with that.テつ Every day in our gym we have practice.
We have girls like Chi who touches 11foot.テつ We have a big block.テつ They came in, they did amazing.テつ They knew how to control the game.テつ And we fought back and you can tell everyone was trying to change things up and we were trying to manage and work hard with that and they ended up still getting out with it.

Q.テつ Khat, seemed like they were able to take you out of system a lot in Games 1 and 2, and then you guys got back into it a little bit in Game 3, ran the middle more, strutting it a little bit.テつ Did you feel like the serve/receive was a big part of the difference in the match tonight, up and down?
KHAT BELL:テつ I think all aspects of our game going from either from serve receive to blocking and picking good spots.テつ It affected us negatively and positively, I think.
I think it's a change in playing with the middles a lot more, getting them involved in the game is what made a difference for sure.テつ They were able to spread the offense a lot more and get the BYU's middles to bite a little bit.テつ So it helped.

Q.テつ Haley and Khat, it's fairly common in the Final Four, teams who aren't used to playing from behind find themselves in positions playing behind.テつ How did you guys feel that you reacted getting behind and having to battle back?
HALEY ECKERMAN:テつ Especially Khat and I, we've been through that.テつ This season, our past career games, we've been through that.テつ And we knew we had to look each other in the eyes.テつ And it showed.テつ It showed we weren't going to give up and we had that fight and we came out of the locker room and knew it wasn't over yet.テつ We weren't going to go down without a fight.
And it's hard as a loss but we know that we fought and that that game could have gone either way.テつ And if we would have gone into a fifth set, I think that our fight, we knew that we could take over a game.
KHAT BELL:テつ Same thing.テつ The blocking (off microphone) keep going after it.テつ And like Haley said, that's what led us on.

Q.テつ For any of the girls, because you can't get fined by the NCAA, he can:テつ What were your thoughts about the tipped call?
HALEY ECKERMAN:テつ Jerritt talked about how much of a momentum change it had.テつ I think going into that if we could have taken that point, I think we knew we weren't going to give up.テつ And just like in our game last weekend, we found that fight and we had that fight and we could see it in each other's eyes in that timeout right before that we weren't going to give up.テつ So it's kind of hard when you gotta go out like that.

Q.テつ Ball touched?
HALEY ECKERMAN:テつ No, promise you that.

Q.テつ Coach, BYU played basically a perfect match the first two sets.テつ And did you think your kids kind of pressed a little bit after that?
COACH ELLIOTT:テつ No, I thought we responded really well, Game 3.テつ Game 2 could have gone any way‑‑ or Game 1 could have gone either way.
It was very, very tight.テつ 25‑deuce game.テつ It's a challenge.テつ Game 2, I thought we just kind of fell apart, their block did a great job.テつ And they were on fire.
We just couldn't sustain the mentality of the pressure that they put on from that.テつ But in Game 3 we came out, played at a very high level, thought our blocking caught fire.テつ We put ourselves in a position with serve/receive, to get our middles a lot more involved, which we wanted to do.
And ultimately, I think the last game it was a deuce game.テつ But it could have gone the other way, with other circumstances that occurred.テつ And I thought our team fought hard.
But when we were getting more momentum, I thought‑‑ I told our team:テつ We get this game, they're in trouble because I thought Hamson was getting tired, just from the pure amount of swings that she was taking.テつ And her numbers were dropping significantly as that match was going on.
We were starting to get more touches and we were doing a better job defending her.テつ And here physicality wasn't going over the block as much.テつ I felt that was going to be a big key.テつ And I felt really good‑‑ I saw that ball go out and saw our chance to serve the match.

Q.テつ You've had two great seasons but two disappointing finishes at the Final Four.テつ What do you tell the players who are coming back to keep the fire stoked?テつ You worked so hard all season and then just come up a point or two short.
COACH ELLIOTT:テつ This is a cruel profession.テつ One team walks away the champion.テつ And whether we lost tonight or whether we were to have lost on Saturday, still you've got to be able to kind of reflect‑‑ what we do is every year we go back, we give them a break.
Then I give them a list of questions about every little part of our program, how I coach, what our practices are like, how our travel is, things that helped us get to the point, things that maybe we didn't do well to get over the hump to win so that I can kind of create my little bible of how to get them back on pace and get them organized and get them motivated again.
This is a competitive group.テつ I was blown away last weekend.テつ I didn't realize we've been to nine straight Elite Eights and six out of last seven Final Fours.テつ We've been in this situation five out of the six times we've been to the Final Four.
We've got to get back, look at some things.テつ Now we've got some different personnel.テつ And we'll get them motivated.テつ But right now it's time to rest and reflect.テつ And it's a long, long season.

Q.テつ On that same note, looking back at your season as a whole, did this team meet, possibly fall short, or even surpass your expectations?
COACH ELLIOTT:テつ I think the goals at Texas now are the standards we've created.テつ If we don't get to a Final Four it's a disappointing season, which is sad in the sports, in coaching, but I think we reached two of our goals, was to get back to the Final Four and win the Big 12, which we did.
We're devastated that we didn't win.テつ We thought we had a chance.テつ We thought we had a chance tonight.テつ I felt like Stanford and Penn State were the two best teams but I thought we had a good fighting chance to give a shot at that.
And I will take‑‑ I'll make my staff take a rest and we'll get back, watch film, learn what we need to do and get back at it again.テつ That's what you do.テつ You pick up the pieces and build a new puzzle and try to figure it out again.テつ That's the fun part.

Q.テつ Have you had a chance to see the replay of that point, 25‑25?テつ If not, is that something that you'll head back to the hotel and look at right away?
COACH ELLIOTT:テつ I've not seen it.テつ But I've received numerous texts.テつ But, again, I'm not going to get into that.
My disappointment is probably just where the angle it was called from.テつ It's human error.テつ That's why I'm saying the NCAA needs to look at it.テつ This game is going so fast.テつ And it's a two‑point switch.
If it was basketball, a player missed a basketball shot, the other team got two points, it's a big difference.テつ So you just want to give the athletes the best chance for them to settle on the floor.
And that's all we want as coaches.テつ That's all we want as players.テつ That's all I would imagine the NCAA would want as well.テつ When you've got a 6'7" girl touching as high as she does, how minute those touches are and how close they are, it's challenging.
We saw some calls class week that I think Nebraska and Washington were very tight.テつ And I think with instant replay you get to do it right.テつ That's all we're asking is just to be fair.テつ We can't just blame one person on this.

Q.テつ As a team, you were held to a season low hitting percentage, Haley Eckerman held to a season low hitting percentage.テつ Just what about the BYU defense made it so tough for you tonight?
COACH ELLIOTT:テつ If you don't block‑‑ if you can pass you're going to deal with their blocks.テつ We were passing under 1.9.テつ I think we steadied that a lot more.テつ I think Molly only had two sets in the first two games.
And we were able to kind of get their middle going.テつ You'll have to run the middle on the right side a lot.テつ With the 6'2" situation and our ball control situation we don't have a back court attack.
It would have been nice to have been able to counter some of that with our back row attack when we're off the net.テつ But you gotta live and die that.
When you have Hamson out there and Young that are doing such a nice job out there‑‑ the least correlated stat to winning championships is blocking.テつ But they're proving that stat wrong when they put up 17 stuffed blocks in a game.

Q.テつ Last year everybody said you overlooked Wisconsin.テつ Is that the case today as well with BYU, or were they just that good?
COACH ELLIOTT:テつ No, I was very comfortable with the way that our team prepared today.テつ I mean, I told our staff:テつ Look, if we don't win this match it wasn't because we didn't prepare the right way, it wasn't because of the talk we had.
I think they learned their lesson last year.テつ I think it was a valuable lesson.テつ But they gave a tremendous amount of respect to BYU.テつ When you're blocking like they are and you're getting first ball kills like they are, it can be overwhelming.テつ You don't have an answer.テつ And you just keep getting slugged.
Until we got on a path‑‑ we were able to get our middles going and change the transition game a little bit.テつ I thought they were starting to slow down physically.テつ And that's what we were hoping to do is get into that fifth set and give us a little more of a charge.テつ I thought our passing was picking up and we did some nice things.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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