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

Russ Rose

Ali Frantti

Simone Lee

Haleigh Washington

Kansas City, Mo.

THE MODERATOR: We welcome the Penn State Nittany Lyons who advance out of the University Park Regional, and come into the Women's Volleyball National Semifinal matches with an overall record of 33-1, under the direction of head coach Russ Rose. Also joining us today are student-athletes Haleigh Washington, Simone Lee, and Ali Frantti. We'll start with opening comments from Coach Rose, followed by questions for the student-athletes.

Coach, an your thoughts on your match-up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers?

RUSS ROSE: First, we're excited to make it back to the Final Four this senior class was able to compete and be on a team that won the National Championship four years ago. So we know the hard work that's required and the excitement associated with the event. So we're thrilled to be here.

We have a great opponent, a conference opponent, one that we're familiar with because we play -- this past year we only played them once, but last year we played them three times. Since they've joined the conference, we play them one or two times a year, so we know they're a talented team with great tradition as well and a very talented roster.

Q. For all of the players, how do you feel that you all have improved as a team since the first Nebraska match?
HALEIGH WASHINGTON: I think since the first Nebraska match we've clicked more with the chemistry kind of thing. So we work well off the pass, off the set, and then eventually attacking, so I think we've really gotten that chemistry going, and it's also being able to do that well out of system. In system it's easy for teams to do that, but to have that same chemistry when things aren't always going your way, I think that's something we've worked on.

ALI FRANTTI: Yeah, like Haleigh said, I think our chemistry is great right now. It's going to be fun to play Nebraska again. I think we're going to have to be relaxed when we come out and we need to be strong.

SIMONE LEE: I think keeping a focused mentality, and knowing it's one point at a time. Not looking too far ahead and knowing that whoever gets a big kill it's just one point doesn't matter. We have to get the next point though. It's just every time we step on the court, we have to play as a team, we have to play together and trust each other.

Q. This question is to whom this may apply to, because you had your own impact on the National Championship with a program four years ago, but I'm wondering if any of you have had a chance to talk to ex-Nittany Lyons in 2010, and if they shared any of their experiences from the 2010 championship in Kansas City?
HALEIGH WASHINGTON: We actually haven't had the opportunity to chat with any ex-players over here during the 2010 championship. But I think, I don't want to overstep my boundaries in any way, shape or form, but if we had the opportunity, they would have told us what a lot of our alums have been telling us. Soak it in, enjoy the experience, and just play the game, enjoy the game for what it is. This is a part of the Penn State program is getting to play in these arenas and working hard to play in these arenas. It's not just something that we've been given, but it's something we've worked hard to earn. I think that's something that alum would most likely say.

Q. For each of you, and it has to be different from each of you. Tell me something that Russ has told you in your career that will stick with you? It doesn't have to be inspirational. He's known to be sarcastic, I've heard?
SIMONE LEE: Everything matters, and you have to go hard. It doesn't matter if it's the smallest thing in the entire world, but if you go hard on the small things, it will really help on the big things. And I think that's important to all of us knowing that it's not about the big picture, it's about how you prepare for that big picture.

ALI FRANTTI: Yeah, coach always talks about we all care, but how much you care. It's about real life too, it's about how much you care. That life isn't always fair, it's tough, and it's going to be hard. But I think this program and all of us can say that we're going to be prepared for life after volleyball.

HALEIGH WASHINGTON: Yeah, I think something that coach said that will really stick with me is you don't get second chances. So on the volleyball court it could be hit the ball into the net and you lose the point. The reality is you don't get that point back. But in life when you're working and you have a job, and the boss says, hey, you need to get this report done and you don't get it done, you don't get a second chance on that. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and it's important that you make it a good one. So that's something I've learned.

Q. Simone, you guys have played Nebraska six straight times where they've ended up winning. Is Nebraska a frustrating team for this program to play against?
SIMONE LEE: I don't know if frustrating is the right word. Every opponent is a good opponent, and every opponent is going to play their best against us. It's something that we've just got to be more prepared for. As much as we want to win those last matches, like Haleigh's been saying and we've all been saying, we can't look to the past. It's about the game that's going to happen tomorrow, and how we prepare for it today, and how we prepare for it the rest of the week.

Q. Haleigh, similar kind of question, but how did you as leaders respond with your team after the first Nebraska match this year? What did you go back to the team and talk about, and where did this team go from that point?
HALEIGH WASHINGTON: Yeah, I think after our first match-up with Nebraska this year we were obviously all very disappointed. But as leaders, we kind of took what Coach has said to us in the past to heart, that you can't let a loss beat you twice. You need to be able to move on. Because we had another game the next day, and we had a whole season of Big Ten games coming up, and we couldn't let that one match define what we were going to do that season. I think we responded relatively well.

I think Simone and Ali, and all the other senior leaders we have on the team stepped up and did their part and played the role that we needed them to play. We followed what Coach said. He said, You win the rest of your games and you can win a Big Ten Championship. We worked hard, we grinded, and we did that.

So I think just not letting the bad games beat you again. You learn from your mistakes. You learn from your errors, but you don't let it weigh you down.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Rose.

Q. Russ, when you know Nebraska well by this point, when you're preparing for a match like this, do you spend more of your time focused on the matches Nebraska has played against you in the last few years, or are you just looking at Nebraska versus other opponents recently?
RUSS ROSE: Well, I mean, I don't think you can combine the two looking at Nebraska from last year with the graduation. So you look at this year's team, I'm not sure I look so much at the match that we played earlier in the year, but you look at the last couple matches the same as I look at our last couple matches. To see where the other teams were causing us some discomfort as well. I don't spend all my time worrying or talking about Nebraska. You guys cover Nebraska, so it's more appropriate that that's the center of your attention.

But I think Haleigh pointed it out, we lost the first match in the Big Ten schedule and won the next 19 and have the same Big Ten Championship banner hanging if we were to hang a banner like that. So, I think -- you know, we played 30-plus matches. All of the teams were teams that we had to focus on and be prepared for.

Nebraska played very well in the match, and we didn't play as well as we would have liked, but I think the players really pointed out you've got to move on. When Nebraska lost to Wisconsin, I'm not -- we're not celebrating because they lost to Wisconsin, because I'm coaching Penn State. I'm not worried about all the other schools in the conference.

Q. Russ, how do you feel like your team has improved over the last half of the season?
RUSS ROSE: Well, I mean, it's kind of like a Michigan State team that we played last week for the third time. They had six seniors on the floor. The bond that those individuals have with each other, and the fight that they have, having gone through all the battles they had for four years, I kind of trust the same with these players, they're seniors. I hate to not make it out like it's a big deal, but there are three teams of the four teams here that have all won National Championships in the last three years. Stanford won it, Nebraska won it, and Penn State won it.

I guess I look at it as, hey, this is a match. This is who we're playing. We played Nebraska in a Final Four before. I think our record has been fine in the Final Four against Nebraska. We had a great match many years ago in Omaha that a lot of people like to talk about. But that match doesn't have any bearing on this match.

We'll have to be ready to play because Nebraska does a great job in preparing their team ready to play, and they've had an exceptional year as well.

Q. More often than not when you make it this far, if you stay healthy, your teams win. What is the key? What is it that you're able, as a coach, to make getting here and winning here happen?
RUSS ROSE: Well, I mean, the success of previous teams, those players are gone, but I think all of the teams here have coaches that understand the importance of being ready to play in the match and not celebrate the arrival of the team. It's great. That last match to get to the Final Four, that's a really hard match because both teams are fighting for the same thing.

Then when that match is over, now you can kind of relax a little bit and kind of refocus and try to get things organized again. We've had success here, but I think the success we've had at the Final Fours have been based on the quality of the players. For sure, I think coaching has somewhat of a say. You ask them what they learned, and I thought all three of their answers were things that I think is really important for young people to know heading into the world. So I don't think I'll judge myself by tomorrow's outcome, win or lose.

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