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December 14, 2017

Kevin Hambly

Meghan McClure

Kathryn Plummer

Kansas City, Mo.

Florida - 3, Stanford - 2

THE MODERATOR: We welcome the Stanford Cardinal under the direction of head coach Kevin Hambly. Also joining us are student-athletes Kathryn Plummer and Meghan McClure, we'll start with opening comments from Coach.

KEVIN HAMBLY: I'll start with congratulations to Mary (Wise) and her team, Florida. I thought they played a great match. They came out ready to play from the beginning, and I thought they really competed at a high level.

Credit to them to be up 2-0, and lose that lead, but turn that around in the fifth set. That's a hard thing to do for them, and, you know, congratulations to them in that aspect. I was proud of our team and the way we fought. We really struggled to find ourselves tonight. We typically are very loose and, for whatever reason, going into this match or when the match started we got tense and we got tight. It was tough for us to kind of work through that. That's a hard thing to do, and I thought we did and we figured it out.

The team really came together and fought hard and gave us a chance to get in that fifth set and advance. So I'm proud of the effort. We're all disappointed. I think the thing I'm disappointed in, of course, isn't the effort of the players. It's more about that we don't get to coach this team for another match or more matches. It's just been a great group, a great year for these guys.

We get a lot of them back, so the only one we're saying goodbye to is Merete (Lutz), and that's tough because she was a warrior tonight, and I thought that was great. She really battled, and I'm very proud of the effort she gave in her last match, and she's had a brilliant career.

Q. Kat, I'm not sure you guys quite see a team like Florida in the Pac-12, especially with the tall middles. What were they doing tonight that made it so hard on you guys?
KATHRYN PLUMMER: I don't know if they were doing anything special that made it hard on us. We just weren't playing our style of game. Yeah, they're big, they're physical, but we like to play that style of game. That's what we see every day in practice. So I don't think it was necessarily anything that they did anything special, it was just that we didn't play as well as we could.

Q. Night-and-day difference between sets one and two, and three and four. Stanford volleyball in sets three and four. Can you elaborate on what Coach Hambly said about you guys seeming tense?
KATHRYN PLUMMER: Yeah, in the locker room and kind of the break in between Kevin definitely told us those things. But I think it was more of the girls that got us going. Merete talked about it a lot. A girl named Caitlin Keefe, she said something that really spoke to me. She said we want to be the team tomorrow that wakes up and practices for the final match, and unfortunately, we couldn't do that. But we played one hell of a fight.

Q. Fifth set, they go up pretty quickly, but it looked like you guys were on such a roll in the third and fourth. What happened in the fifth in your mind?
KATHRYN PLUMMER: I think the fifth can go either way. It's kind of a battle of who gets the first five, who gets to ten first. We started hot from the momentum in the third and fourth, and then they started getting us out of system with their serve and we couldn't use our middles like we wanted to and they could. They were transitioning really well. All credit to them. But, yeah, I think our scrappiness on defense showed in the fifth.

Morgan was amazing. I don't think anyone ever let up. Just they started playing better than they did in the third and fourth.

Q. Meghan, for you, as a freshman, the growth that you've had this year with this team, what do you already know you'll take into next year?
MEGHAN MCCLURE: What? What is the question?

Q. What will you take from this tournament, this experience, into next year?
MEGHAN MCCLURE: I've never played in this type of arena. I mean, no freshman has until you come here. I think that in the beginning of the season I was very nervous, very stressed out, and as the season progressed I got looser and started playing more like me. I think that playing on the biggest arena in college volleyball will really help me stay loose and stay confident during next season.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.

Q. The slide didn't seem to be going down tonight a lot. It did a little bit more in games three and four, but not in one and two and not so much in five. What were they doing to take that away?
KEVIN HAMBLY: I think Jenna's connection with Fitzmorris was a little off. It started off high and then we rushed it to pick up the tempo and never got into a good rhythm. We tried a few things, keeping it around, moving it outside further, but we didn't find the rhythm that we typically have. For whatever reason that was.

We didn't pass well enough to really get going offensively where we could get into figuring that rhythm out in the middle of the match. But I just think it was off a little bit tonight.

Q. Could you also talk about the fifth set and just it looked like you guys had it together in the third and the fourth, what happened in the fifth?
KEVIN HAMBLY: Yeah, I mean, I thought we had opportunities that we created in the fifth set. We didn't pass well, and that started the kind of slide. We got aced once, I think, and then we got out of system. That's a tough team to play out of system. I mean, Alhassan is an incredible blocker and they have a great right side blocking team. We knew going into it we had to pass well. But even going through that we created these opportunities.

Carli Snyder had a couple of great swings, and I thought, you know, it was a chance to go 11, 11-10. It was 11-9 and we had a chance, we're coming back. We get what we want, a high ball outside, and she took a great swing, a high flat. She did it again to get to 12. They made plays. Meghan was taking swings and she was doing her best, but we didn't get the same on our side. They made plays and we didn't get the plays at the end.

It's a credit to them. I thought Carli played great in the end. We had a beat on her in the third and fourth. We were doing a nice job, and she really turned it around. You could see they played more determined, and it started from the service line. I think we started to serve a little more aggressive.

Q. First, would you assess your own self and your team for this year now that you've gotten through it?
KEVIN HAMBLY: Can I get more than like a half hour after the event?

Q. Yeah.
KEVIN HAMBLY: Yeah, I think I learned a lot about the team. It's hard to take a new team. You don't know their personalities and you don't know what makes them tick and what motivates them. It took us a while to figure that out. I've got a great staff, so we were able to work through the offense. I feel like we got to know the team really well.

I think all the players developed. I think Kathryn became just a kid that hit the ball on the outside to a real outside hitter. You look at Tami and Merete, I thought Merete was better. The development of the players was great, and our culture was really strong. The culture was really strong before, but I think we were trying to make it our own as a coaching staff.

But I think we did a good job. If that's what you're looking for. I think we did a good job. I think we can be better. We can always be better. There is a lot we're going to learn. I'm not exactly sure what you're looking for.

Q. I appreciate your answers and your honesty. The other question would be because you watched the first match and you were there the whole time and now you've played Florida. Could you give an assessment what you think the championship match will be like between those two teams?
KEVIN HAMBLY: I thought all four teams played very different styles of play, which was very interesting for the match-ups. I think watching it, I don't know. The physicality of Florida versus just I thought Nebraska, they made more errors than they typically do. But they played very clean. They're very system-based. I think it's going to be very interesting. The thing that's going to be most interesting to me -- I've said it five times, sorry -- is the serve-pass battle. Nebraska is, I think, ahead of everyone else in the country passing. So if Florida can put the pressure they put on us and get them out of system, it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Q. You talked a little bit about Merete Lutz, and she finishes up her career with a great night. She hit well and she seemed also to be a leader in the huddle tonight, a lot of encouragement. Could you elaborate on what she's meant to this team, having switched roles before you even got there, and switched leadership roles this year and played a big match tonight.
KEVIN HAMBLY: It's hard because I haven't been here for the whole history of it. So what I know is what we got out of her this year. Which was a kid that wanted to be the leader. As a senior there was an a assumed leadership. And figured out how to be a good teammate and lead with a group of young players and sophomores, and Morgan Hentz and Jenna Gray and Kathryn Plummer, which was a really difficult thing to do. From that aspect, I thought it was remarkable for her to put her ego aside. She wasn't trying to be Inky, which I think at first she was trying to do. She was going to be Merete and allow her leadership to develop.

If you look at her career, we've got a wall of four-time All-Americans, and she's on that wall. That speaks to the talent and what she did in her game. I thought we needed her to become more offensive this year than what we saw in the past. I thought she embraced that. Technically she made changes to her approach. We tried to run faster tempo. We made her very uncomfortable to try to get her better, and she embraced it every step of the way. Not a lot of seniors that have been All-Americans are willing to do that.

I wish I had more time to coach her because I love her. She's a fighter, and people mistake the fact that she's 6'8" that she's good. She's good, because she's a competitor, and she battles and she's a warrior. It was really fun to coach that kid because you didn't know what to expect. Looking from outside, you don't see that all the time, but I think it started to come out more when we were down and we needed it from her.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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