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December 8, 2016

Mara Green

Milica Kubura

Chris Poole

Madison, Wisconsin

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with Florida State. We're joined by Coach Chris Poole, senior Mara Green, and junior Milica Kubura. We'll start with some opening comments from Coach and then open it up for questions.

Coach, your thoughts?

COACH POOLE: Certainly, we're excited to be here. We know that Wisconsin is a first class program and university. So we know this will be run in a very strong fashion, and appreciate the hospitality we've had so far.

We are, obviously, honored to be representing the ACC. We're here to try to be competitive. We know that every team is strong, every team had a great season, and once you get to this point in the Sweet 16, then you know that every point is going to make a difference, and you've got to be able to step up and play. So we're going to lay it on the line and see what we have to offer.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up to questions for the student-athletes.

Q. For either player or both. Against Florida, you guys were on the ropes. They won the first two sets pretty convincingly. Third one was going down to the wire. And you're here, and they're not. What does that speak to, and what happened at that point?
MARA GREEN: I think that, after the first two sets, we realized that we really had nothing to lose. No one expected us to win the match, except for us. So to come out with a kind of passion and almost more relaxed than we did the first two sets definitely helped us pull it out in the third, fourth, and fifth sets.

MILICA KUBURA: It was a great team that gave us a great match. It was a great way to come to Sweet 16. Very exciting for everyone to watch, and I'm glad we're here.

Q. Stanford is a huge team. They've got to be the biggest team in the country. What sort of challenges does that present to you besides just their ability?
COACH POOLE: We're checking to see if they'll let us bring a stepladder out and use it (laughter). We know that they're a very big team. This is actually one of the smaller teams I've had since I've been at Florida State. So we are unusually small. But still, you know, we've been able to do a lot of good things with the players that we've got.

I think it's -- you know, if you're playing a bigger team like that, obviously, passing is going to be important for you. And you can say serving and passing is always important, but I think for a team that's smaller, it even is magnified. So we have to be able to keep ourselves in system, and we have to be able to give ourselves a chance to get some splits in the block to be able to pull the ball around them. But if we're able to do that, then that certainly can give us a chance to be successful.

Florida was a big team also. Not quite as big as Stanford is, but they were also a big team. I think, as the match progressed first two sets -- and anybody that watched it, you could see we were doing about everything wrong that you could do wrong in that match. But the fortunate thing about volleyball and it being the sport that it is, it doesn't matter how bad you're playing. It doesn't matter if your game plan is working or not working. It doesn't matter if the other team's zeroed in on you. It's a chess match, and you've got to be able to figure out what can I do next and still have a chance to be able to come back.

The clock's not going to run out. It's going to be you that's going to run out of points. So you've just got to figure out a way to take advantage of the opponent and start trying to hit back. They were knocking us down a lot, but we were able to come out in the third set. I knew, once we came out in the third set and it was close, I knew we were starting to find our rhythm. I didn't know if we could get to the end of that third set or not, but I knew we had found our rhythm, and we were starting to hit them blow for blow. At that point, I knew we had a chance at least.

Q. For either one of you ladies, when you look back at the start of the season compared to now, what's the biggest change in your group that you've seen?
MILICA KUBURA: I think we are much more confident now, and then we proved to ourselves that we can overcome some of the difficult situations. That's the biggest change. We play like a team. We rely a lot on each other, and we trust each other a lot more than the beginning of the season. I think it's working much better now.

MARA GREEN: Kind of going off of that, I think we've become more strong mentally. I think, if we had faced Florida the way we did at the end of the season at the beginning of the season, it would have turned out a lot differently. I think, as the season progressed, we've definitely found a way to come together as a team.

Q. Coach, your setters made some key plays in that match against Florida, specifically across the front row a couple of times. Talk about the rhythm of the match and the decision process and what you're thinking when you decide to leave them in.
COACH POOLE: Well, both of our setters were hitters also growing up in high school and club both. So if we have to end up doing that for whatever reason -- it can be that one of our hitters is off. It can be that we're running low in subs that we need to do it. It's more of a surprise to the opponent than it is us because we have confidence in being able to do that.

Both are experienced players that played for very, very good club programs at OBA and TAV out of Dallas, OBA out of Orlando. So when we put them in that situation, they just -- they go into autopilot. They know what they need to do, and Hailey stayed in the front row against Cincinnati and got some big kills for us, and Bri stayed in both of the matches and got some kills for us.

It can be a different look for the opponent whenever we do that also, and it can throw in -- I told the girls before the match we were going to try to throw everything we could at them. Whatever -- you know, if something wasn't working, I was trying to find a way to find something else that we could do that match to be successful because ultimately you want to win.

You've got to try to figure out what that's going to be, and you don't always know what that matchup is going to be like until you get into it. Once you get into it, then you have to be ready to make some adjustments.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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