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December 14, 2017

Rhamat Alhassan

Shaïnah Joseph

Carli Snyder

Mary Wise

Kansas City, Mo.

Florida - 3, Stanford - 2

THE MODERATOR: We welcome the Florida Gators under the direction of head coach Mary Wise, also joining us are student-athletes Rhamat Alhassan, Shainah Joseph, and Carli Snyder. We'll start with opening comments from head coach Mary Wise, followed by questions for the student-athletes. Coach, your opening thoughts?

MARY WISE: I think the difference in the match was as we anticipated. It was going to be the serve-pass game. And the fact that we went through a five-set match without giving up a single reception error and created at least enough first contact chaos against a very, very good offensive team. We feel very fortunate that we're advancing to play this next road match. But we're thrilled, we're going back to work tomorrow.

Q. Carli and Shaïnah, after set four there was a lot of spirited talk in your huddle, and you guys came out and really went for it. Seemed like you were ripping the jump serves, hitting the ball hard. There was a different tone on the floor than three and four. Can you share a little bit about what you guys said in the huddle and how you responded in set five?
CARLI SNYDER: I think Shaïnah, who brings so much energy to our team, she has really lit a fire underneath us, and especially our senior class. There is no room to be passive in this tournament. Like we got down in the fourth set, and we were making really conservative plays, and she just said, I believe in you so much. I believe in you going for it all out. And every day I see you do it, I want to see you do it right now.

With the way she can use her energy to fire up an entire team, and our coaching staff, it's kind of incredible. It really carried us into the fifth set and throughout the fifth set.

SHAINAH JOSEPH: I think it was just a question of not settling for what we have. Settling for two sets. Like we can't settle down at any point during this tournament. So I said and Carli also said it to the team, we have to go and fight for every single point, and we have to go and take every single point and focus on that one point at the moment and not focus on the three or four or five next points that are coming up.

Q. Rhamat, from your perspective, what was going on out there? What were you seeing to turn in the type of performance that you were able to have tonight?
RHAMAT ALHASSAN: I just know that my thought process going into it was that my team needs me. My team relies on me. And if someone is struggling next to me, that I'm going to find a way to help them and ease the burden, and that's kind of the mentality I took. I turned to our setters and I said, I don't care where you are. Find me, set me the ball. That kind of got the ball rolling. By us middles just getting the ball, we help our offense so much. It spreads us out. It gives Carli an easier look, it gives Shaïnah an easier look to put balls away. That's the thing, I'm just going to help as much as I can.

Q. Rhamat, can you talk about just the fifth set alone and kind of the gut check it was for you guys and what you did to have such a performance?
RHAMAT ALHASSAN: Definitely gut check. Our theme has kind of been we've found a way to win. We've always found a way to win, and that's been the theme throughout the entire tournament. Going into a fifth set like that, it's quick. It was just kind of going in and being able to be quick and know that, okay, this is short. How are we going to do it? Just kind of our mentality towards it.

Q. Was there something that they excelled at in the third and fourth set that you guys had to tweak and combat? Or was it just sort of complacency?
RHAMAT ALHASSAN: It was being aggressive. Like Shaïnah just said, we work on things every single day in practice, and it was just being aggressive on the court. I think at a point we did get complacent during the third and fourth set, and it was finding away to be aggressive. Like going for hands, doing what we always do, and just kind of believing in ourselves and knowing that we do this every single day and we've got this, we're here for a reason. We've earned it.

Q. Carli, how much can you rely on a situation like tonight what you guys did against USC last week in Gainesville, just to face that difficult circulate again?
CARLI SNYDER: It's always great to know when you're in a situation that you've battled in that situation before. So feeding off the toughness of our group and how we have found a way to win in those situations, like Rhamat says, it's a huge credit to the toughness of our team for not giving up on each other. For trusting in what we're doing out there, and just staying with each point and working really hard. In the fifth set, it is so fast and there are so many plays that you have to kind of trust yourself to make at that point. So I think we really went out there and played our game, played Florida volleyball in the fifth set, and that's a huge credit to our group.

Q. You had mentioned that this will be similar to a road game on Saturday. What do you anticipate the environment to be like?
MARY WISE: Red and loud. The numbers -- this is so good for women's volleyball. Actually, it's great for women's volleyball to have 18,000-plus and to be televised on ESPN -- ESPN blank -- this is the growth of our sport. And our sport has grown in much part because of Nebraska. They're fans, their program, they get a whole lot of credit because they've been the standard bearer for years in terms of attendance figures.

Sort of like if you're anywhere in the Midwest, it's been long enough where I've seen championships in all parts of this country, and Big Red still shows up. It's going to be a really fun environment.

Q. I'm sure you're expecting a lot from Plummer tonight, but their other outside had 11 kills and only one error through four sets. Six errors in the fifth set, and she had five of them. What sort of adjustments were you able to make on her?
MARY WISE: Yeah, so often the first time you play a team and you're just trying to get a beat on the timing. And Kathryn, who, she had some of those sick shots that just there's maybe three women all time who could hit some of the shots that she hit.

But the first time that we're playing Meghan and we knew she was a very quick twitch. And it just took us a while to get the timing on the block.

Q. Coach, just in terms of momentum going into Saturday, what does a win like this do for you guys?
MARY WISE: It means right now we're 31 and a hurricane. We're still playing. But that's been true of the previous two weekends, and you just, when you see how driven this group is.

The other day it was talked about the senior leadership, well, to be great leaders, you have to have people willing to follow, and rightfully so we've talked a whole lot about the senior class. But the freshmen, sophomore and juniors have been outstanding letting them lead and being willing to follow.

What it means is that we getting to back to work tomorrow. That's what everyone wants. You start the season, you're all dreaming for that one shot to be playing in that last match, and we get a chance.

Q. You guys already beat Nebraska once this year. How informative is that match given the fact that it occurred back in August to what's going to happen on Saturday?
MARY WISE: The reality is they were without their setter, and we know that. She makes them go. It's not like we could figure out (Mikaela) Foecke the first time, and they are -- there are some really good libero's here, holy cow. And I just think that their libero, their pin scoring, they just -- they're a very good serving team. I just know that it's going to be a different match than it was the first time.

Q. You said at the beginning that you really took them out of their system quite a bit in sets one and two, particularly, and in set five again with tough serving. Can you tell us more tactically what you were able to do? You've got Hamms back there, you have a good passing game, and you ran the offense against the system most of the time, and tonight you were successful?
MARY WISE: It had to do with speed and depth. If the passers didn't have to move off the passer line, they would get comfortable. So what we were trying to do is just continue to give different looks with the serve. We got some good match-ups on the serve-pass game, and I think that was, again, the fact that we were able to get six points off the serves and didn't give up any difference in the match.

Q. With Snyder bringing the noise back there, is that a nice balance? We see so many jump floats these days and somebody who goes back and rips it and gives them a different look every six?
MARY WISE: We do look at rosters and look if there's somebody on the team that has a serve like that in the gym. Are you practicing against it? And you may bring in a practice player, but it's still not the same. The way we can go from the float to the top spin, at least it's giving the passers -- we know they're going to have to work on that, at least that much, in practice.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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