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NCAA WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP


December 18, 2014


Morgan Boukather

John Dunning

Merete Lutz


OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

Penn State テや 3
Stanford - 1


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by Stanford, Coach John Dunning and Merete Lutz and Morgan Boukather.テつ Coach, your thoughts.
COACH DUNNING:テつ I think representing the three of us and the rest of our program, I would like to congratulate Penn State.テつ And I would like to say I've said that too many times.
I'm actually tired of it.テつ But no one should feel sorry for us. テつI would like to also congratulate our team.テつ I thought we played with heart.テつ Amazing setting to be in.テつ I want to congratulate them, these two sitting here with me, for the amazing things that we accomplished this year.
I'd like to congratulate Merete for an amazing start to her career and for Morgan, a fantastic senior season and thank her for all the things that she's done for our program since she's been here.
Again, congratulations to Penn State.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Morgan, it seemed like they had a good plan against you guys tonight.テつ They were able to shut down with a big block, took Jordan out and a big block in front of you, too.テつ Did you feel like they came in with something that was maybe not exactly what you were looking for?
MORGAN BOUKATHER:テつ I think we came in knowing it was going to be a fight.テつ And I think they did a great job.テつ I think we could have done better.テつ I know we made a lot of errors ourselves.テつ But otherwise I think it's what we expected and we just didn't respond I think the way we wanted to.

Q.テつ For you guys how frustrating was it to face a team that you're keeping‑‑ keep attacking and kind of go along with that kind of trying to go along with the same game you've gone through all season, using your depth, but just being unable to do so because Penn State is a different team than you saw in September and a lot different from any of the other teams that you've seen throughout the season?
MERETE LUTZ:テつ I think we're a very different team from September, whenever we played them as well.テつ We expected them to have a game plan against us.テつ It's not surprising.
We had a game plan against them.テつ They did a good job having a good block and knowing what to do against each of our hitters.テつ But, I mean, we practiced against that kind of stuff every day.テつ And we know where to find holes, where to go.
I guess we just didn't do it as well as we had hoped.
MORGAN BOUKATHER:テつ I think she pretty much said it all.テつ I think we're disappointed more in ourselves than anything else.

Q.テつ Morgan, disappointing finish, but you stepped up as a senior this year and played a huge role in getting the team and getting the team here and it was a need, talk a little bit about your progression in terms of coming in this year and playing such a big role in Stanford's success?
MORGAN BOUKATHER:テつ It's been the most amazing time of my life so far.テつ I wouldn't trade it for the world.テつ These girls are amazing.テつ Our staff is amazing.テつ And I saw an opportunity and I grabbed it, and I'm so happy I did, because again this has been the most amazing time.テつ I'm really thankful for it.

Q.テつ Along the same lines, Merete, in your first season playing with the team, how nice is it to break through right from the start and kind of grow throughout the season and also with the team, with the program not having been to a Final Four since '08, and now you guys making this run this year?テつ How confident are you that you guys can kind of build on this in the next couple of years?
MERETE LUTZ:テつ I feel confident we can build on it next year.テつ We'll have an awesome class of seniors.テつ They're amazing.テつ They want to win so bad and just being on the court with them makes you want to win as much.テつ Coming on as a redshirt freshman or whatever, it's been the best.テつ They've been totally accepting.
Our team's awesome.テつ Just the best group of girls ever.テつ And they just make it so easy to play together and everyone wants to be there, everyone wants to work hard.テつ It's the greatest team atmosphere I've ever been in.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for Coach.

Q.テつ John, you passed okay tonight, not bad, but seemed like you needed to pass maybe a little bit better so you could run the middle more and do some of the things you like to do more.テつ Is that fair to say?
COACH DUNNING:テつ Yeah.テつ I mean, you build the system and it becomes dependent upon things.テつ And that's clearly the case.テつ I think we let things get away from us in Game 1 and it kind of changed some things, way the rest of the match went.
And that's too bad for us.テつ You have to put pressure on people and if you don't, then they're going to just go for it.テつ And Penn State's pretty good at that.

Q.テつ Not that you're surprised that Megan Courtney is good and had a big game against you, but of all the weapons they have wasn't that the least predictable probably?
COACH DUNNING:テつ She actually had a good game against us in the playoffs as well.テつ I think she must like to play us.テつ I think she just played really well.テつ I think Micha set her very well, had a lot of good swings.
And sometimes it just happens right for you.テつ It's the right matchup for the moment, and it appears that that's the way it was.テつ She just attacked our block, and it worked.

Q.テつ Since now you're done with her, would you talk about Micha Hancock, you played her many times, and how good she is?
COACH DUNNING:テつ Too many.テつ It's easy to appreciate her.テつ But it's the other side, too.テつ You know, I think the thing that I probably would bring up first is her competitiveness.テつ She clearly, in the moment, takes herself to the next play.テつ Her serve got out of the game for a while, the effect of it, and it kind of hurt them.
But she came back and kept playing and found another way to win.テつ So I think she's a great competitor.テつ I think she probably is a great leader on their team.
She just knows how to find a way to win.テつ Lots of different strengths.テつ So, yeah, she's a great player.テつ She'll go to the next level.テつ The college game will miss her.
But we've seen her enough.

Q.テつ Talk from your perspective a little bit about Morgan and the job she did this year.テつ I mean, had to replace Rachel, a senior who played well for you last year, were you expecting that type of a season out of Morgan in August?
COACH DUNNING:テつ You know, her season was so good you probably don't expect it out of anyone.テつ So to have it be her first full season where she was on the court, no one would expect it.テつ But then when you know her, she has a heart of gold.
The team loves her.テつ They want her to be successful.テつ She works really hard.テつ She's a very kind of snappy or whatever you would call it, very whippy athlete.テつ You look at her and think, gosh, that girl really gets up; she's really strong, but she's strong in a different way.
She has a little bit of uniqueness to her in the way she plays, but more than anything else she's a great athlete, but it comes from her heart and from her commitment to the team.テつ She's very special.
Really a wonderful leader.テつ And to have that explode onto a team in a season where you're ‑‑ Rachel Williams was a great player, and she replaced her in the system and had an amazing season.
The longer we went, the more her leadership role grew because the team trusted her because she was doing it on the court as well, which is really cool.
I'm happy for her and sad for her that today is the last day.

Q.テつ You've been through a lot of these.テつ Just looking back at this season, having one of the best records in program history, going on that long undefeated run, and then falling again to Penn State, the same team you guys have seen over the course of the last few years, could you assess what you guys have accomplished this season building from the preseason and from losing a little early in the tournament last year and then also maybe looking at the future, the corps of juniors now moving up to seniors.テつ They've been here a lot as well.
COACH DUNNING:テつ Man, that's a long question.テつ I think just talking about this season, they're a very talented group of people.テつ They have great volleyball sense, the junior class, around which the last three seasons have been built to some degree.
They've matured each year.テつ They went through something that they didn't want to experience at the end of the last two seasons.テつ The expectation in our program is to go to the Final Four, and there's pressure to do that in every program, but I think this group was being held accountable for that and they reacted to the loss last year.
And having a lot of people back, a lot of people who played had to replace some very key people that it's a really, really neat group.
I mean, one of the things I think a coach could say that would be the best thing about a team is I like to go to the gym every day.テつ I mean, that's a lot of hours.テつ It's a lot of hard work.テつ It's a lot of sacrifice.テつ But I like going every day.
I mean, I just told them I get mad at you sometimes but I don't really care, I just like doing it because you work hard, you're a team, you inspire each other.
And I have no doubt that we'll have a chance to be better next year because of that group that's the core of our team.テつ And when they're gone another group will have to come up, like with what happened to Penn State this year.
And this group has accomplished a lot, to go through our season to win as many matches in a row like we did and it seemed like almost every one of them was against a ranked team, was really remarkable.テつ They didn't make any mistakes.
And when you're playing here, I mean, you're trying to be the best team in the country in this moment, which is really, really hard to do, and we came close.テつ And they will learn from it, because that's the kind of group it is, and we will have a chance to be better next year because of it.
And I think they'll walk away holding their head high and be proud of their effort.テつ That was a long question, it was a long answer, sorry.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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