home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 13, 2017

Mary Wise

Rhamat Alhassan

Carli Snyder

Caroline Knop

Kansas City, Mo.

THE MODERATOR: At this time, we welcome the Florida Gators who advanced out of the Gainesville regional and coming to the women's semifinal matches with an overall record of 29-1, under the direction of head coach Mary Wise. Also joining us today are student-athletes Carli Snyder, Caroline Knop, and Rhamat Alhassan. We'll start with opening comments from Coach Wise, followed by the student-athletes.

Coach, your thoughts on your match-ups against the Stanford Cardinal?

MARY WISE: We understand at this level and this point in the tournament the talent level is the best in the country. We think back to our previous trips, some of them before these guys were born. We played players that went on to be Olympians and be named some of the best players in the history of NCAA Volleyball. We see Kathryn Plummer as being that type of player.

We understand how talented the team is, and only slightly older than they were a year before when they played and won a National Championship. So we recognize the challenge, but we embrace the challenge. That is what this group has done all along. In each step of the way they have not tried to just advance. They've tried to thrive and advance.

Q. By the way, I think they're older than 14. I don't know what that's for. Carli, has Mary ever talked to you specifically about coming to the championships and being here before and what it was like and what to expect?
CARLI SNYDER: We didn't necessarily talk about what it was like and what to expect before we found out that we were actually coming. But all along this team has had huge goals and we weren't afraid of saying early in this season, last January when we started working for this moment that this is where we wanted to be this weekend. So all along, this has been something that we've talked about openly and wanting to work all season for this weekend right here that we're at right now.

Q. Mary, you're sitting there beside three seniors. Obviously, you've talked a lot about this senior class, but they were really key in that over the weekend. How important have they been to you guys getting here?
MARY WISE: Yeah, there is that softball question. This entire year has been a product of their -- not just their talents, but their investment level, and their attention to detail, the beginner's mind of trying to come in every day to get better, of team first. If you were to write a recipe for the consummate senior class, this would be the group. I think you could coach -- I could coach 30 more years -- nobody count -- and never have a class like this. Again, it's not just the talent, it's the character.

Q. As a group, you have been knocking on this door your first two, three years here. You finally get through. How much of a mission was that for the senior class to finally make it to the final four?
CAROLINE KNOP: I think just using like everyday experience, like using those past years as kind of a stepping stone to get to where we are. We know we've been to the Elite Eight and lost in the Elite Eight twice, and just figuring out what it is we have to do and how we go about it. Like losing last year in the second round was kind of something that sparked us, and just being so dedicated as an entire team.

Yeah, sure, we're seniors on the team, but we couldn't have done everything we did without our underclassmen. They came into our program, and bought in, and wanted to be here and do what we did. It's a testament to them, and how we managed to get here.

Q. By the way, what's with you and years? You'll be coaching in your mid '80s now?
MARY WISE: If you refer back to the early '90s, it's a while ago.

Q. Rhamat, who are you friends with and have been teammates with either in the gym or on International Teams at Stanford?
RHAMAT ALHASSAN: I've played with Merete, I've played with Audri. I think that's the two.

Q. Do you keep up with them? Have you talked this week?
RHAMAT ALHASSAN: Yeah, I saw them in the hotel, and we kind of said our hi's, but going in opposite directions.

Q. That's it?
RHAMAT ALHASSAN: We've been busy (laughing).

Q. Tell me about them as teammates and friends though?
RHAMAT ALHASSAN: They're really good. When I played with Merete specifically, it was my sophomore year (in high school) and I had just started playing volleyball. I remember her being very open and trying to help me because we were playing the same position in the middle, just kind of taking pointers from her. I was a horrendous volleyball player at that point in my life. So just being able to learn from her was pretty amazing.

Q. Caroline, what's it been like for you the last few weeks playing with your hand like it is and to be available at this stage?
CAROLINE KNOP: Yeah, I'm not so worried about my hand. I think I am just so happy to be with this senior class and with this team. I'm not focused on my hand, it is what it is. It's been a little bit of a burden, but we have found ways to work through it and get past it, and I get more and more comfortable every day with the device that I'm using. So that's a good deal.

But I could not be happier to be here with these two next to me, and our entire team. I think the will of this team is going to take us a long way and has thus far.

Q. Carli, Mary mentioned Kathryn. When you see her on tape, what stands out to make her such a dominant player?
CARLI SNYDER: She's a very dominant player because she has the ability to kill the ball from everywhere on the floor and in perfect situations. I think that is something that we have to keep on our radar. That when she's going to clean up a lot of messes for them and she's a player who gets the ball in a lot of different situations and trying to control the bad situations better because she does a really impressive job with less than perfect balls.

Q. Caroline, before you enrolled at Florida, did you find yourself as a fan following the Final Four, and was there one that stood out while you were following as a fan, if you were?
CAROLINE KNOP: I remember being in Seattle and going to that Final Four. And I believe Penn State won it that year. I remember being at that National Championship game with a good friend of mine, Cat McCoy.

I had followed volleyball for a little bit. But I followed a lot of sports. I think it's an awesome opportunity for us to all be here. I don't know how many Final Fours you've gone to. I think I was only at that one in Seattle as a spectator. But I could not be happier to be here in Kansas City.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Carli, Caroline, and Rhamat. You may head back to the locker room. Questions for Coach?

Q. Coach, let's get this one out of the way. You could make history this weekend. No female coach has ever been the coach of an NCAA women's volleyball champion. Is it because the numbers are stacked against female coaches? Why do you think that is?
MARY WISE: I think the reality is that there is a number of well-funded, well-supported programs, who have the best opportunity to recruit the top players to get here, and by the numbers, most of them just happen to be coached by males. So the odds are forever, at this moment, in their favor. Just by numbers.

Q. I'm citing volleyballmag.com piece on this. The numbers seem to be declining. Do you see that trend? Does it alarm you?
MARY WISE: It is disappointing. It is the trend, but not just in women's volleyball. There are other sports that are seeing that trend repeat itself. Is it easy to -- and because there is that period where you're having babies, you're raising kids. Is it easy, no. But it's not easy for men, either. But it is particularly difficult for a mom.

I was so fortunate because I was at Florida where they provided us a support system, and if I could just hang on until the boys got old enough, it really does get easier. Now it took for them to graduate from college for it to become easier, but it is not -- I'd have to think there are professions that are more conducive to having kids, but it is one of the best professions that you could possibly choose.

I'm hoping that the trend will reverse itself when more schools if they have the resources or the philosophy of Florida, is provided the support. It's temporary. It's not going to last forever. Just help them get through it so that the women will stay.

Q. Can you comment on the Southeastern Conference, including the first time you've had two No. 1 seeds from the conference, and how that's prepared you for this NCAA tournament run?
MARY WISE: Yeah, I think back to those two matches against Kentucky, and we have referenced their players multiple times during their first four matches. Or, it could be the Missouri block or Auburn's defense, that for so many of the talented players in the league that helped us get to this point. It may not get the recognition. Certainly Kentucky did, but they earned that right.

Craig and I were exchanging text messages, being each other's -- one of the bigger cheerleaders because we would love to see both teams advance. But congratulations Kentucky for a phenomenal year with so many of those players coming back next year.

Q. A follow-up, you're playing your third Pac-12 team in a row. How do you feel about that?
MARY WISE: We are, and they just keep getting bigger. The margin of error to advance is so minute. We were one point, one point away from not being here today in that USC match. But a year ago, we were two points away from advancing to the regional. Just at that point we are playing so many good players, and those were some pretty elite players both at UCLA and USC.

There were gut-check moments, 1-1 against UCLA. Down 2-1 against USC and 9-5 in the fifth. There were really stressful moments against great teams. Didn't feel either team lost that match as much as we won that match. We were able to make the plays at that time.

The challenge now is to do it against a team that is bigger and, again, Kathryn Plummer -- now, Khalia Lanier, that's an All-American as well. So I guess we go to the next All-American, and hope she doesn't career against us.

Q. Besides telling me we've got to serve well and pass well, what do you have to do well to beat Stanford, considering huge height disparity and separation?
MARY WISE: What the players were referring to with Carli, and the question about Kathryn, is that at her size and her -- some of the angles that she hits, you just don't see very often in the women's game. That's an elite arm at a high level. She's going to get her kills.

We've watched enough Pac-12 matches against some very terrific defensive teams. They're going to get kills, as Carli described. If it's a perfect situation, in system, yeah, she's going to get her kill. But her ability to find kills in less than perfect situations, she is who you want on your side. Front row, back row, her talents are so elite. We understand she's going to get her kills. Talk to players, that's a roll the ball back, she's going to make that sick angle kill, roll the ball back and just go into serve-receive.

But can we at least make some of the other Stanford players a little bit uncomfortable? And that's what we've been working so hard this week defensively. Can we get them to their secondary shot and how often can we make that happen?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297