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December 9, 2016

Geoff Carlston

Abby Fesl

Valeria Leon

Kylie Randall

Taylor Sandbothe

Madison, Wisconsin

Wisconsin 3, Ohio State 2

THE MODERATOR: We are joined now by Ohio State head coach Geoff Carlston and seniors Kylie Randall, Valeria Leon, Taylor Sandbothe, and Abby Fesl. We'll start with opening comments for Coach.

Coach, if you would like to start us off with some thoughts.

COACH CARLSTON: The only reason it doesn't hurt more is because I know our team gave everything they had. That's what we talked about, and that's what they demanded of themselves and demanded of each other. These four here have been so unbelievable to coach over the years. Tonight was just another example of the heart and soul that they displayed and that our team displayed.

So congrats to Wisconsin moving on, representing our great conference. But for me, this is about these four to my right and about our team, that people don't know what we went through this year, but we do. For us to be here feeling this bad because it hurts so much, because we had this awesome opportunity says a lot.

So I couldn't be prouder and more humble to be the coach of this team, especially these four young ladies to my right.

Q. Taylor, could you just describe your guys' mindset after you go up 2-1 in that very entertaining third set. How were you guys feeling? You knew that wasn't going to be easy with them at home with their backs against the wall. What was the mood like for you guys in the huddle before the fourth?
TAYLOR SANDBOTHE: Before the fourth, I think we really just tried to stay calm and focused. Obviously, an amazing crowd, amazing environment, amazing team. I think that says a lot about our conference.

Yeah, I think we were just trying to focus on ourselves and focus on our side of the net. Playing in front of these crowds and playing these amazing teams is something we do every weekend. So it's nothing -- we're no stranger to it. I think we were really trying to stay calm and focus on ourselves.

Yeah, I couldn't be more prouder to be a part of this group, be a part of this team. It's something really special that we have. I think, going into the fourth, we knew the pressure was going to be on them, and just how we handled that, how we responded, it says a lot about our team, says a lot about our chemistry.

Q. For any player, after the first set where they won pretty handily, you turned it around, and it was close, but you were playing evenly and emerging ahead, and then you're up 19-14. What flipped it there at your point?
TAYLOR SANDBOTHE: I think we're just trying to focus on one point at a time and what we can bring, what we can do differently, how we can stress them out, how we make them uncomfortable. I think we weren't really focused on the score that much. We were really focusing on our team and what we wanted to do and how we wanted to accomplish. I think, just that environment, it's really to get caught up in those things. We were just trying to stay locked on each other and stay focused on each other. I think that's what we did.

Q. Open question to you guys. What comes next in terms of advice that you would give to the team to kind of build for next year after a loss like this?
KYLIE RANDALL: I'll say this, don't take the jersey for granted. The fact that you get to be a part of something like this is really special. Not a lot of people can say that, and I know that's the way all of us have lived in this year. That's something we kept each other grounded in that sense, that we wanted to make sure that no matter what we did, we left it all out there. You're not going to find harder workers than this group right here, and they did a really great job of keeping me grounded and kept each other grounded.

But don't take the jersey for granted. So many people would kill to be in this position that we get to be a chance to be a part of and how special that is.

Q. Abby, they swept you guys twice earlier this year. Especially at your place, it was kind of a grinder. Coming in, did you guys feel that, even in the last month, that you guys had improved sufficiently enough that you could give them a good run for their money tonight?
ABBY FESL: Yeah, we made a lot of changes in the past month, and I think that helped us develop as a team, and we had some really tough games and some tough battles, and that only grew us. So I think coming in here tonight, we had a fresh feeling, and we were ready to go.

Q. How has this journey been for you coming from Ponce and having an amazing experience in the Big Ten and everything? Kind of sum that up, coming all the way from Puerto Rico.
VALERIA LEON: It's amazing. Like I'm really grateful for Geoff. He believed in me. I came to Ohio and didn't know any English. So like it was definitely a challenge for me, but he believed in me. He trusted me.

So I'm really grateful and really proud to represent my school for four years. They have been the best years of my life by far.

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and dismiss the student-athletes.

Q. After that first set, it seemed like your passing cleaned up, and you were in system a lot for probably the rest of the match. Was that a turning point in your favor that you were able to keep yourself in system?
COACH CARLSTON: Well, they came out -- we knew that first set was going to be pretty intense. So we didn't play very well, and then they played nice and clean. We played a little -- you know, as you imagine, the moment -- we didn't really capture the moment. All week we've been talking about to make the most of the moment, and we kind of prepared maybe to not play our best at one point in the match. It just happened to be kind of early on. They were rolling and feeling it. As happens, momentum is such a crazy thing in our sport.

After the first set, it was like, hey, it's over. There was no clock. Let's get back. Yes, I mean, obviously, you have to pass. They're a really good blocking team. So our passing, we just took a deep breath, kind of went back to some of the keywords and some of the things we've been working on all year long, and our passing, I thought, really stepped up after that, but so has our setting and our defense.

So we just really had to find a way to just let the first set go. I thought our team did an amazing job and our staff did an amazing job, sort of taking a deep breath and reloading and refocusing on the second set. So at that point, it became, after you win the second set, it's kind of on, and then we knew it, and we felt that.

We needed to get that second set, and I thought our team showed a lot of maturity, stayed nice and smooth through that second set, and passing was certainly a big part of it, but I thought our serving stressed them out too.

Q. What did you see that you can build on for next year in terms of when you see Wisconsin again?
COACH CARLSTON: I'm not thinking about next year. I'm not thinking about next year at all. We have some great leadership that we're losing right now. They're graduating and going on to do some amazing things. We have a great core. We have a great group. We have a great young core. We're a pretty young team overall, but the senior group that was here left a legacy. They really made a mark on the kids that are going to come back, and we'll deal with that later.

Right now this is about family. This is about being there for each other and enjoying. What an amazing journey we had. Not just tonight -- I mean, tonight hurts, but that's who we are. We fought, and like I said, we're going to go for it. We're going to win going for it, and we're going to lose going for it, and I thought our team went for it, and that's how we are. That's how we coach.

I couldn't be more proud of a group of young ladies. So we're going to go back to the hotel, and we're going to have a nice dinner because being a fall sport, heading into Christmas, it's gone. Like we scatter. So it's hard, but our team deserves for us to be right here in this moment and enjoying it, embracing it, and reflecting and being with each other. That's where I'm going to stay.

Q. (Speaking Spanish).
COACH CARLSTON: (Speaking Spanish). I can't speak Spanish. Stop it. Give me some wine, and I can speak some Spanish.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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