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NCAA WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP


December 20, 2014


Megan Courtney

Micha Hancock

Russ Rose

Aiyana Whitney


OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

Penn State テや 3
BYU - 0


COACH ROSE:テつ I'd like to commend BYU on a great run into the NCAA Tournament and recognize our administration for the support that they provide our program, to the Oklahoma City people that came out and supported the event, the volleyball committee that spends a great deal of time, as I remember having to do it, putting the event together.
And then certainly the players that got the job done.テつ A couple of these players have won multiple championships.テつ Some of them it's their first.テつ So I'm thrilled.
I thought we had a great game plan.テつ I thought the players worked really hard at executing it, and we feel great about tonight's result.

Q.テつ Megan, how does it feel to be the MVP?
MEGAN COURTNEY:テつ It feels great.テつ Something I never experienced before, but, I mean, there's 19 other girls on the coaching staff that led me to where I am today.テつ So I give all the credit to them.
I just stuck to the game plan that all my coaching staff put hours and hours and hours of work in and then my teammates just giving me the great balls to set, telling me where to hit.テつ It's all to them.テつ I commend them for their hard work.

Q.テつ Considering the circumstances, it's got to be the best two back‑to‑back matches you've ever had, I would think?
MEGAN COURTNEY:テつ Sure, I don't know.テつ I don't know.テつ It's great.テつ And it happened at a good time.テつ I'm glad that we were able to come out on top against a really hot BYU team.テつ They deserved to be there, too.

Q.テつ Micha, seemed like you ran a lot of the offense through the right side, both slides‑‑ you're nodding yes.テつ Tell us about it.
MICHA HANCOCK:テつ That was our game plan.テつ So I tried to put some good balls up and so we could attack there right back move the ball around a little bit because they've got No. 19, a pretty big girl.テつ We wanted to try to limit the balls over there and execute our game plan and we did a good job of that.
It was a good plan.テつ It worked.

Q.テつ Micha, I hate to ask the proverbial how does this feel, but how does this feel?
MICHA HANCOCK:テつ It's pretty cool.テつ What's hitting me now is I'm not coming back to play with my girls.テつ I've been around it for a long time.テつ They're like a family to me.テつ So it's really weird for me right now.テつ I think I'll wake up tomorrow and be like:テつ I want to go back to State and train and do prowler and see everyone like cry and throw up and stuff.テつ It's great.
But I'm going to miss the Penn State family.テつ It's weird to be an alum, but it's a great way to end my career here.

Q.テつ Megan, what's it been like to play with Micha and have her as your setter?
MEGAN COURTNEY:テつ I've played with her for three years.テつ The girl has heart.テつ She's competitive.テつ She's one of the most steady and confident people I've ever met on the court and being able to play with her is an incredible feeling.
Not just her, but all the seniors.テつ Dom, Lacey and Nia.テつ They've been with me my whole road here.テつ And Aiyana, but she's coming back for another year, so that's exciting.
It's just all of them together, Micha included, it's an amazing feeling to play with such a great group of girls and we're going to be really, really missing them when they leave because they have an incredible amount of poise and leadership in them.

Q.テつ Aiyana, same question about Micha.
AIYANA WHITNEY:テつ It's been awesome to play with Micha.テつ I remember back when we were like 14 years old met her at a U.S.A. camp.テつ When I heard she was coming to Penn State, I was super stoked because I remember playing with her.テつ She's super tough.テつ And her bringing that to our team was really awesome.
She has great leadership, and like Megan said, very steady, calm player.テつ She keeps me calm and it's awesome, and it's pretty sad to see her go.

Q.テつ It seemed like Micha was really mixing things up for you guys, just tempo and those sorts of things.テつ And obviously you want to avoid Hamson, but just the ability to sort of mix that up for you guys as hitters, how did that impact things?
MEGAN COURTNEY:テつ I thought our passing was good, allowed her to run whoever she wanted.テつ And we said that from the beginning whoever wins the serve pass game is going to win.
I think passing was really good at the beginning which allowed her to do whatever she wanted with the ball.テつ She could dump it, she could hold the ball, she could set one‑on‑one.
We had a game plan, and the game plan wasn't necessarily to keep it away from Hamson, but if we have a good swing, go for it.テつ The reason that they're a good blocking team and the number one.
So it was just be smart with when you don't have the perfect swing and just keep the ball in play when we have to, and it was a great game plan that we executed really well.
And it started with Micha.テつ So it was great that we were able to do what we were supposed to do.

Q.テつ Micha, somewhere in the last couple of days I think I heard you're from around here.テつ Seriously, one year ago, this night we talked about it.テつ Hey, the thing's here in Oklahoma City next year.テつ Now with all the questions and all that's happened and you've actually come back here and won, now can you put it in some kind of perspective?
MICHA HANCOCK:テつ You know, a year ago I was kind of skeptical about how are we going to get back there, it's a long season, got a lot of young girls.
But we got in there.テつ We got in there with the young girls, and looking back they play hard.テつ And they're really talented girls.テつ And I think juniors and seniors we really tried to show them the way and it all paid off.テつ So that's what we do it for.

Q.テつ Micha, as you were talking about not wanting to leave these girls, it sort of strikes me that there's been a lot of talk about your local family, but being that far away from home, that family extended to something different.テつ Is that sort of the gut feeling you're feeling right now?
MICHA HANCOCK:テつ Yeah, do you mean like my Penn State family?テつ Yeah, absolutely.テつ It's going to be weird, because it's been my life for four years.テつ I've poured my heart and soul into this team.
I hope I've left my mark there.テつ And it's just going to be hard to finally leave and cut the cord.

Q.テつ So for the first 20‑something years, what were you doing, if you were doing so much in the last decade?
COACH ROSE:テつ Well, you know, it was a different era.テつ You know?テつ We weren't fully funded for a bit of time.テつ But that was then.
Everything was different.テつ There was AIW was running intercollegiate athletics for women.テつ And things changed when the NCAA got into offering championships for women.テつ And things really changed for our program when we joined the Big Ten.
That's when we became fully funded.テつ That's when we received a full staff.テつ All of those things happened.テつ But it's not about 30 or 40 years ago.
It's about the kids tonight.テつ Dom Gonzalez could easily have been the MVP in my opinion for the two matches she played here.テつ Nia Grant was fabulous tonight.テつ And it's a team victory.テつ That's one of the things that we've been really good throughout the year.
It's been a good team.テつ I wouldn't say it's been great fun all the time.テつ But we were good at the things we were good at.テつ We were in a great conference.
I told the players that the best tribute they could do for tonight's match to honor Stanford and Wisconsin and the other teams that we played in the NCAAs and in our conference was to go out there and play our best.テつ So I thought that was a great thing.

Q.テつ But to take that question further, how do you explain the last eight years?テつ It's pretty magnificent.
COACH ROSE:テつ I don't look at the last eight years any different than‑‑ today's over.テつ Tomorrow's Coach Paterno's birthday.テつ So this was great tonight.テつ I think about tomorrow.

Q.テつ Micha mentioned hoping she left a legacy in your program.テつ Obviously there's a long legacy that preceded her.テつ But what do you think she's left as a legacy?
COACH ROSE:テつ Well, I mean, she's a tough kid.テつ I mean, that's the greatest thing.テつ She came in.テつ She didn't play her first match.テつ We lost a match at home.テつ She played the next night.テつ And that was kind of her coming out party against USC.
They were the No. 2 team; we were the No. 1 team.テつ And she just took the game by storm.テつ And she was fresh and she was crushing the ball from the end line.テつ And 36 years that was the one match where our fans rushed the court after the match because it was such a great match.
So Micha's had a lot of great things happen at Penn State.テつ And she's worked hard.テつ And I'm sure I've been hard on a lot of players, but I'm sure I was especially hard on her and her development.テつ So we had a good love/hate relationship.テつ And I think she achieved what she wanted to achieve when she came to Penn State.
And I'm thrilled for her and the opportunities that she has to continue playing and whatever she wants to do with her life.

Q.テつ You had two brand‑new assistant coaches this season.テつ Would you describe each of their influences to the extent they had an effect on this outcome?
COACH ROSE:テつ Well, in addition to that, I had a new president and a new athletic director and a lot of change.テつ So things are changing and they impact lots of people.
If you're in charge, you're trying to keep some things as if they're standard all the time.テつ So Salima was returning to Penn State having been there as a player and was on the staff earlier.
But losing the people that were part of the staff before, as over the last few years, Dennis Hohenshelt helped recruit some of these players that were on the floor tonight in the National Championship, and Kaleena Walters spent a good bit of time training those kids and Hussey and Steve were a big part of the development of the players as well.
So new staff, there's always challenges, but what it ends up being is the head coach has to kind of reestablish what he's going to do, what his responsibilities are, because everybody has different strengths and weaknesses.テつ So I wouldn't say it was the smoothest transition.
But Salima and I have great chemistry.テつ We're loose and laughing all the time, even when ‑‑ now her responsibility to go out there chew on Micha's ass.

Q.テつ (Question off microphone)?
COACH ROSE:テつ Stevie came in with good recommendations from people that I had great opinions of, Dennis.テつ She worked with Dennis at Virginia.テつ And Jim McLaughlin was her coach and he had great things to say about her.
I thought it's maybe tougher for her than it was for Salima, but it's going to be tougher yet because they've got a lot of work to do.

Q.テつ How does this one feel compared to the others?
COACH ROSE:テつ It's such a great thing.テつ I don't think it's‑‑ we're not trying to hoard them.テつ We're like everybody else.テつ We're trying to do the best we can.テつ We represent a great university and a great conference and it was, I talked to a lot of coaches in the last couple of days from our conference that I asked them what they thought we needed to do to be better and what we needed to do to beat Stanford and beat BYU.
And I'm just appreciative of the fact that those people are willing to help and not be so territorial about it and say we don't want you to be successful because it hurts us.
I mean, this is great for this group of kids.テつ This team was different.テつ It was a new staff.テつ Sandy comes in as a new AD, thinks:テつ This is easy.テつ I was at Cal all those years.テつ And now come to Penn State, God, who would have thought?テつ But I'm also really appreciative of Tim Curley and Graham Spanier and the support they gave me when we joined the Big Ten and transitioned into a new conference.
But my wife does scouting reports for me.テつ So I think it's a lot of work.テつ Nothing is easy.テつ It would be naive to think it's easy.テつ But, I don't know, I just don't know how you would compare something like this.テつ I think you embrace it for what it is.テつ Just because I don't jump around and get all excited doesn't mean I'm not thrilled.テつ But every day it's my job to try to make these sort of things happen.
It's not like I'm taking the day off every day, couple of days a week and thinking, gee, what are our chances of winning if I don't work.テつ I have to work because I'm around some people that don't understand the meaning of going hard all the time.テつ So it might wear on some people but there's a lot of other jobs in other schools and kids to go to, and I'm open to all of those things.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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