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 12, 2019

Jerritt Elliott

Micaya White

Jhenna Gabriel

Skylar Fields

Austin, Texas

HEAD COACH JERRITT ELLIOTT: Well, we're excited to be in the regionals and representing the University of Texas. It's great to be at home and really looking forward to our match tomorrow at 3 o'clock. We have a lot of respect for Louisville. They are disciplined and they are dangerous, and it should be a really good match for us, and we're excited to get after it tomorrow afternoon.

Q. What do you know so far and what challenges do they present?
HEAD COACH JERRITT ELLIOTT: Well, they are probably the fastest slide hitting team that we've seen all season long. They are pretty quick to the pins, as well, and their opposite can be a handful if she gets really hot. I think they have got good libero play, they have solid setting, and they have got a complete team that can play at a high level.

Q. What is the libero situation going into tomorrow?
HEAD COACH JERRITT ELLIOTT: It's the same. Sydney is our starter. I don't think you lose your spot for struggling in a match. I tell our players 20 to 30 percent of the time you're going to have a tough match. I feel good about what she's been doing in practice this week and it's been a positive.

And it's been great to be able to have Autumn to be able to be ready to go. It was a big opportunity for her and she stepped up, but that's why we play this game and it's why we're a team, and we've had that situation in various matches throughout the year where people have had to come in and play.

Q. What did you learn about your team in the match against U.C. Santa Barbara, coming back in a game like that?
MICAYA WHITE: I think we learned that we came out stronger -- the energy that week -- kind of brought us together and now we're excited to compete again, like can we play again, just on that high.

Q. Do you guys see parallels from the BYU match from your freshman year?
MICAYA WHITE: The BYU match from my freshman year, yeah, I saw a little parallels to that game, just that back and forth, like they were playing amazing defense. It was good to be in that environment in a tough situation.

Q. And how did making that comeback affect you guys down the stretch?
MICAYA WHITE: Again, I think it brought us together, kind of similar to this game, like we're in this, and when we can turn it on, it's dangerous.

Q. What do you think some of the positives are when your team has such an emotionally draining match? What are some positives you think can come out of that?
HEAD COACH JERRITT ELLIOTT: Well, it's a fun tournament. You know, the level of play is getting very -- improves every year. There's a lot of great players. I mean, their libero play was great. Their setting was great. They have got great outside hitting. They were very balanced, and they played from what I heard one of their best matches of the year and that's what you get when you play at Texas.

For me, you're in the thick of that and trying to win that but when you get a chance to decompress after that evening and wake up and look at some film and see what you did well and what you didn't do well; but the biggest part of it is the emotional side of it.

A lot of -- you can correlate is to the men's basketball tournament. You need to be able to get into some of these kind of matches to build some more character and to build that trust with each other. She just mentioned the BYU match. From there, we went on and won three of the next nine in the semifinals. That's what makes it fun, and that's what makes the fans come out.

I think what Micaya was alluding to is we have the best fans in the country. When we are dialed in with each other and connected with each other and competing for each point, you could see our numbers skyrocketed and we became the overwhelming team.

But it wasn't that we played poorly against Santa Barbara. They just played that well and put that much pressure on us for along period of time, and really, they caused us to go to a whole different level. So to me, that's a positive when your team learns that they have a whole other gear that they can go to. The goal obviously as a coach is to get them from the first point to get to that level, but that's wishful thinking for every coach. You can't get them always to that point.

But I think the goal is to see how fast we can get into that situation, and knowing that we don't have to be perfect and we just come out and battle and trust each other. This group has done that the whole year long. That's one thing the group has been really special is that they want to play for each other, and they celebrate the points that their teammates make and they are committed to doing it.

Q. I don't know if you were in the volleyball -- what do you remember about that run in 2009 and how did the community respond to that?
JHENNA GABRIEL: Growing up and watching volleyball games there, that's what every little girl in Hawai'i kind of bases, like that's the reason why we want to play volleyball at the end of the day.

Yeah, I remember that time, and like it being sold out and just that atmosphere and stuff. It's really cool to come here and have that same feeling and be a part of that.

Yeah, definitely like seeing Hawai'i be able to do that and be able to have that as a memory in the back of my mind and now in my own way being able to live out that dream is pretty awesome.

Q. Skylar, how have you seen this team evolve or change from the beginning of the season to where it's at now?
SKYLAR FIELDS: I think our mentality now -- we've been focused the whole season, but now each game could possibly be our last game. I just think we're playing for each other.

Q. What was your reaction to Khat Bell's speech against U.C. Santa Barbara and the reaction from outside to Khat giving the speech?
HEAD COACH JERRITT ELLIOTT: Oh, it's a good question. You know, everything was happening so fast in that game. I was trying to figure out matchups, so when you start dialing it, there's so many different matchups, because each tournament affects how we go about it.

I had to figure out, do I want to put Gen on No. 4. That was kind of my big thing. It was like, do I let her get hers, and I ultimately decided to let her kind of have that matchup. But I thought it would present opportunities for us to get Skylar going and kind of balance our offense out a little bit more.

I felt like if we could win that game, I could have Molly in that substitution for Jhenna in the front court in Game 5, and it worked out that way. You know, what happened was, it happened so fast, I didn't even realize until after the match that she went into the huddle and talked to them.

Obviously there's going to be great reaction to it. It's something that, you know, obviously we didn't want to happen. To me, it's what college athletics is about, too, a little bit. Not that it was -- again, something that was appropriate or done -- wish someone would have stopped her to get on the bench area.

But to see that you have an alumni that actually cares that much. They don't get to see it but all of our alumni reach out and they are passionate about it. I think that hit home with them a little bit; that one of them that has actually walked before them cares so much. It was a unique situation that will never happen again.

Q. How would you say offensively you guys are doing?
JHENNA GABRIEL: I think we're doing pretty great. We do have the No. 1 hitting percentage in the country, and I think it's something that makes us such a big threat. We are so balanced. It's not one where somebody has to really put the team on their back and carry us offensively. I think that just makes us super well-rounded.

Q. How much has Jhenna developed over the course of the season?
HEAD COACH JERRITT ELLIOTT: She's developed a lot. I think one of the things that her freshman year, and she can probably confirm this -- I saw her late -- we didn't recruit her until really late in the recruiting process, and she really wasn't being highly recruited. But I watched her. I loved her movement skills. I loved her passion for the game and the way she competed.

She just said, "I want to come and I want to be given a shot." Early on she got here, I think she was overwhelmed by just being in Texas and our gym and the height and physicality of the girls on our team compared to the girls she played in Hawai'i. I was encouraging her to get out of her own skin and be a competitor. She came in last year and did a phenomenal job. You can see our hitting percentage went up.

Now this year, we actually have a much better relationship in terms of I can jump on her a little bit and she acknowledges it or pat her on the back and she acknowledges it. She understands the game at a much higher level and she's starting to run a true offense. It's always a work-in-progress. We're still working on decision making and those things, but I feel like she's very confident in herself which is what I wanted and which I love about her right now.

She brings a lot of that confidence and is learning how to speak up, and you know, develop into some leadership skills that help this team propel. She's done a really nice job of progressively getting better from month-to-month.

Q. Was it weird to go out there and see a blue court?
JHENNA GABRIEL: It was pretty cool. A couple weeks ago we were talking to Donnie, our strength coach. He's always that guy that's kind of pushing us, and just one of our big motivators, and he was just talking about like seeing Greg with the blue court and how it kind of gives him goosebumps.

We were just thinking about, how great Greg looks in blue -- to actually see it yesterday was kind of cool because we're actually doing this and kind of pushing us to play a little better, have a little practice than the previous days, so yeah, it's pretty cool.

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