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December 14, 2017

Simone Lee

Russ Rose

Haleigh Washington

Kansas City, Kansas

Nebraska - 3, Penn State - 2

THE MODERATOR: We welcome Penn State Coach Russ Rose and Haleigh Washington and Simone Lee. Coach, an opening comment?

RUSS ROSE: Well, I thought it was, you know, it was a competitive match in a lot of ways. I thought the serve-pass component of the game that I thought what Nebraska was good at. Different flashes of the game caused some problems.

I'm disappointed in the outcome. I'm not disappointed in the players or the university that I work at. But I am certainly disappointed in, you know, the outcome of the match. I thought the kids played hard. And other than serving and some passing issues, I thought we were competing well in a tough environment.

Q. Haleigh or Simone, you guys jumped out to some early leads in three of the sets. I think it was like 10-5, 10-5, and 6-1. But it didn't seem like you were consistently able to maintain the momentum. Could you talk about that a little bit and just what kind of turned it?
HALEIGH WASHINGTON: I think we started off strong in a lot of our games, we had a lot of early leads, but I think we let those runs get away. We had to get that lead and maintain that lead and go back and forth and citing until the end of the game. But instead we get the early leads and they get to the spot and they get the run, that can't happen in this level and this game. They have to continue to sideout and hold the lead. It was just something we let slip away.

Q. Simone, did Nebraska do anything differently from the first meeting that caught you off guard or surprised you at all?
SIMONE LEE: It gave me more line, that's for sure. I mean, no, I think they're a good team, and we scouted them pretty well. I think it was just execution on all our parts.

Q. Simone or Haleigh, you had a chance to close it out in the fourth set and then turned around with Nebraska getting the last three points. From your perspective what changed in that moment?
HALEIGH WASHINGTON: Yeah, I think it's just a shift in momentum, and it's something we talk about a lot, especially in our gym, is being able to hold on to momentum and not let it slip away. I think when you have those moments you feel that momentum shift. But in that fifth set we came out and had an early lead. We were leading up until 7. So it's not like the momentum was completely gone and they ran away with it in the fifth game. We were still battling. But just couldn't hold on to that lead and maintain it.

Q. 217 hitting tonight I'm pretty sure is a season low for you all. What does Nebraska do to make it tough for you guys to sideout?
RUSS ROSE: I think we had a couple of numbers similar to that against Wisconsin. I think they jammed us up a little bit as well. I think what Nebraska does is they have good service pressure. They're a good defensive team. Those things kind of go hand in hand. They don't make a lot of errors. We had a free ball coming over the net for match point and two girls other collided and fell. So then you go into the fifth game and you miss two serves and get aced and have five hitting errors. That's why teams lose.

I think we clearly had opportunities to win the match, but we didn't win the match. So you recognize the efforts of the other guys and this business you appreciate the efforts of your seniors, and we had a lot of kids that were seniors. Certain programs get judged by winning National Championships and not just their day-to-day effort. The efforts that we've had over the course of time have placed us into a little different area. This group hasn't been able to close the deal as they did when they were on a team as freshmen.

Q. Russ, can you evaluate the six-two this year and in terms of getting the hitters in the flow? It worked well for you but it seemed at times tonight --
RUSS ROSE: I think it's same all the time. I'm not a big fan of it. For me, it was because I had two people I thought could serve pretty well. It was trying to do something with the personnel that we had. It's not something that I think was great. Yet, I'm not sure if anybody will win 33 matches this year other than us. So if you finish 33-2, and people don't look you in the eye because they think you messed it up, that's a tough gig.

The offense, it is what it is. Nebraska did a nice job last week. Michigan State did a really nice job on jamming up Haleigh. The Big Ten is filled with lots of great teams. I thought we had a couple of kids that came down the stretch that were beat up and didn't have as much pop in their legs. Had they maybe played at a crowd where the crowd was more partisan for them, they might have been able to find that energy. But I thought we needed to win in short stint instead of trying to pull it out in five.

Q. Coach, serve and receive is something that everyone talks about being a big part of it tonight. 10 aces, 11 errors for Nebraska. You had 5 aces, 14 errors and a lot of those coming in streaks. How do you like to manage your aggression versus errors in match? Is that something you address, your assistants address? How do you communicate to that each individual player?
RUSS ROSE: I think with some people you give them the green light because of the impact of their serve puts people in a problem. I thought the only people that put anybody in harm's way were -- we got beat by two servers serving short. I thought that kind of messed it up. Simone had a little stretch in the third game where she kind of lost her head and got aced three in a row.

Again, I think in some instances you have to serve tough. I've had some teams where we didn't have to serve tough because we could block and play great defense. This team was better served scoring points via hitting, and we had to try to generate points with Abby and "B" serving tough. Tonight "B" made an awful lot of errors serving, which is disappointing. Especially when you are the first server, you can't miss a couple of serves that way, so...

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