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December 19, 2013

Lauren Carlini

Ellen Chapman

Deme Morales

Kelly Sheffield


Wisconsin – 3
Texas – 1

THE MODERATOR:  All right.  We're joined by Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield to my right, Deme Morales, Ellen Chapman, and Lauren Carlini.
Coach, an opening statement.
COACH SHEFFIELD:  Piece of cake.  No.  (Chuckling).  You know, we believed that we could win this match.  And I think that's a big part of anytime you go into anything.  This has been a team that no matter who we played we believed, the players have believed that there's a way to win.
And this is a really good serving team.  We are who we are.  That's one of the things‑‑ there's no way we can play their game.  Their game, it's just a totally different game than us.
We had to serve with confidence.  We had to execute, fearlessness behind the serving line.  We believed if we did that, they were going to get‑‑ we'd have them out of system a lot.  If they're out of system, I knew we've got the best back court in the country and we'd be able to dig some balls.
Now, that's just part of the issue.  Once we're digging balls, we have to put them away and convert.  And we were doing that.  I mean, we really, really converted well when we were digging.
And that's a massive block, and these guys are really, really physical, but we felt like, you know, also when we're digging, we felt like we've got a setter that can get the ball to where they need to go.
And so that was kind of the game plan going in.  Game 3 we had an opportunity to win that game, and they squeaked that out.  We had 16 hitting errors in game 3.  That's an awful lot.  And they jump out on Game 4, nice relief, and we just kept chopping and chopping away and kind of found a way to win.
And that's what we've seen from this team all year is mental toughness accumulated as we go through.  Man, if there's not anything you gotta be more mentally tough, you're about ready to sweep the defending champs, they squeak out Game 3.  They jump on us on Game 4 and you come back and find a way.
Man, couldn't be more proud of these guys.  Mentally we were rock solid tonight.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Lauren, can you talk about, Coach talked about how important it was for you guys to play your game.  It seemed like from the very beginning you guys did that.  Can you talk about what went into being able to do that against a team that is as powerful as Texas?
LAUREN CARLINI:  We knew they would have big saves and big hitters and they were going to go up and pound the ball.  We just knew we had to be in the right position and we had to be able to dig and convert, like Kelly said.
And I think we did a great job of being in a good place and just kind of keeping the ball up off the floor.  That was the main key in this game, and just being scrappy.
And our hitters did a great job today of tooling the block.  And if they got blocked they came back, bounced back quickly.
So this is a complete group effort, and I couldn't be more proud of my team.

Q.  Ball control versus brute strength; what does this match tell you about that?
ELLEN CHAPMAN:  Kind of what we talked about yesterday during interviews, we knew that our team, their team have completely different ways of going about winning.  And our back court is the best back court in the country, and I never doubted them.  I don't think anyone doubted them for a second.
And I think they did a great job reading and reading around the block and just getting the balls up.  And all the hitters did a good job converting.  And when we got blocked, we bounced right back, which is something that's very hard for all our hitters to do, and I think we did a great job of that tonight.

Q.  It's 21‑all, Deme, and you have a beautiful serve.  (Indiscernible) it's a long route and you get set and you get the ball into the net, but Lauren keeps setting from then on.  What happened in that play and why were you still getting sets from Lauren?
DEME MORALES:  I think‑‑ I don't know.  I mean, the ball‑‑ it's not like hitting in the net is anything new.  I do it every so often.  So it's like if I‑‑ I just want to come back myself so I'm not stuck in a rut.
COACH SHEFFIELD:  I thought it was a great read‑‑ let me add on this.  It's a great read by Ellen.  They were doing a lot of blocks, and what you saw there was right after she had an error, they went and trapped the other hitter.  You saw Ellen reading that, which is part one.  And, part two, her having confidence of going back to her to know that she's going to be able to bury a one‑on‑one opportunity, which she did, and her getting her head back into that match or right back into that, that's something that's been built up over time, is you've got to move on to the next play quickly.
So, yeah, that was kind of a boneheaded attack by her.  Like she said, she's been known to do that.  But the other things she's been known to do is really, really have tremendous bounceback ability and be right on task for the next play.
But the read is why she got that next ball.  Did I say Ellen?  I don't know what‑‑ I don't even know who my players are.

Q.  (Off microphone)?
DEME MORALES:  I know she's a talented person.  When she gets blocked, it doesn't faze her.  Everyone in the huddle, it's like:  Keep swinging.  We've got you covered.  Things like that.
Just going back I knew that block was going to go the other way and they were going to trap the slide hitter.
So just having knowledge of the game and just being smart about it, and I knew we were going to have a one‑on‑one and pound it.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about what Coach talked about when they win that third set, the momentum could have shifted back, and obviously they had a good start.  Talk about the detail and not getting that fourth set and not letting the momentum switch back.
ELLEN CHAPMAN:  After the third set, I mean, I hit it out of bounds and I was by myself, and I remember Brittany came up to me, our assistant coach, and was like:  That was the perfect hit, it was just a little long, keep going at it.
In general, I think in that ‑‑ Kelly was saying we're the toughest team out there.  We're just a bunch of ballers out there, and our back court is going to keep hitting those hard hits that they keep putting at us.  And just never giving up on those balls is what set us apart from them, I think.

Q.  Deme, you are used to getting blocked, so it doesn't bother you, probably, because of your height situation?
DEME MORALES:  Yeah, I think before it used to really like bother me when I was younger.  But going through all this and going up against huge blockers, I just‑‑ it fires me up.
It's like, okay, I just have to keep going at them.  It just fires me up.  It's more like a motivator.

Q.  They're terrific blockers.  You just look up and‑‑
DEME MORALES:  Yeah, they're right on top of me.  They're a really good blocking team.

Q.  You know your players.  Can you talk about the emotions (indiscernible)?
DEME MORALES:  There's just no words right now.  Obviously we're all like "uhhhh..."  We don't know what to say right now.
But we never expected that we were going to get this far.  And the fact that we all just gathered together and we made a goal and we just fought back and ‑‑ I don't know.  Everyone is just so proud of each other and we know we're one of the tightest teams out there.  And we're just ballers.  We go out and we play.  Let the cards fall where they may.
I don't think anyone is happier than us right now.

Q.  Texas started tipping like crazy.  Why did that happen and why were you (indiscernible)?  Did you see that tipping?
ELLEN CHAPMAN:  Yeah.  Their hitters, whenever their running the slides, they were ‑‑ a lot of the time they were tipping over the block.  I think they were getting frustrated because they kept getting dig after dig after dig, and they just wanted to switch it up.
And I think our defenders picked up on that really quickly and they did a great job just making it an easy free ball for us.  And converting that quickly (indiscernible) was one of our biggest strengths tonight, and I think just their frustration forced them into tipping and trying to mix things up.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Questions for Coach.

Q.  Obviously the last set there was a rally and you guys had a pancake on that.  Can you talk a little bit about that controversial moment where Texas thought basically they had that point and you guys were able to close it out?
COACH SHEFFIELD:  I don't know if it was controversial.  It was a pancake.  And every opposing team, when one team has a pancake, every opposing team is going to take the ball on the ground.  They're barking because they're trying to get that call.
And we would have done the exact same thing.  So you're just‑‑ you're never giving up on the ball.  And that ball's on its way to the floor, and whoever it was that got their hand underneath it, we're still up and going.

Q.  (Question about Coach Elliott)?
COACH SHEFFIELD:  Jerritt is first class all the way.  He runs a first‑class program.  I've got a lot of admiration for how he runs his program and the class act that him and his staff are.  He's absolutely cordial.

Q.  The first set, seems like a long time ago, but you were in control throughout, and they made a run and got (indiscernible) and called a timeout, you came back out and finished it off, five straight points.  Was there something you saw that you had to tell them at that point, and how significant was finishing it off like that?
COACH SHEFFIELD:  Yeah, you're right, it does seem like a long time ago.  I think at some point in that first game you want to let people know what you saw on video, what are they doing that is what we saw that's the same and what it is that is different.
And so toward the end of Game 1, Game 2, that's where you're at, all right, how we play going into this match.  This is what we thought was happening and these are some things defensively or what they're doing, this is what is a little bit different‑‑ just a little bit of a breath.
I think at one point in that match, probably in the middle of Game 4 I thought we were getting a little bit anxious, and that was the only time all match long.  And we reminded them that we wanted to enjoy every moment of this.  Not enjoy, we didn't talk about that.  About living in the moment, being the team that lives in the moment the best.
That was the talk later on.  Early on, you know, it was, all right ‑‑ it was mostly information.  I mean, there wasn't a lot of pump‑up or bounceback or anything else.  You were giving them information.  That's what this team was wanting.

Q.  Can you talk about Lauren, the setting?  She's obviously locating balls and making incredible decisions with people.  She's a premier setter, seems to be a huge part of what your team is about.  Can you give us a little bit of insight from your perspective on that?
COACH SHEFFIELD:  She's out there setting in warm‑ups an hour before the match, and walked out there, just wanted to‑‑ usually I'm not out there.  Sometimes I am.  But wanted to check in, see how things were going.
I'm walking over there and I said, How are you doing?  And she says, I love this.  This is why I play.  The bigger the lights, the better.  That's her mentality.
Kid's ‑‑ whatever she is, 18 years old, and she's in her‑‑ she was born for this and the bigger the crowd, the more moxie that comes out of her, the more confidence.
She doesn't lean on me.  I mean, there was none of that.  It was she's a giant.  And she's really well skilled.
And when you've got confidence in big moments and you're skilled, you're going to do some special things.  And, you're right, tonight she did some special things.

Q.  I missed your opening comment.  Maybe you addressed this, but it seemed to be serving, you guys simply kept them out of system.  Do you agree with that?  What were you seeing in your serving that disturbed them so much?
COACH SHEFFIELD:  We feel like we're a really good serving team.  We felt like that wasn't one of their strengths, is passing, but it really hasn't had to be one of their strengths.  When you got Eckerman outside, you don't have to be an elite passing team.
Those guys are just so good.  We're a really good defensive team in the back court.  So, yeah, we had to get them out of system.  Our servers really executed with a lot of toughness behind the serving line.  We did a great job of keeping them off balance early on.  I thought we got very predictable with our serving probably around the middle of the match and started to do more things to keep them off balance.
So we went later on, and I thought that was obviously a big key point for us.

Q.  (Indiscernible) a lot of success.  Was that part of the game plan, or did they see what you were giving them and taking it that way?
COACH SHEFFIELD:  It was part of the game plan.  And when we got blocked quite a bit, we went right back‑‑ that middle part, we were going back at their middle.  That's where we're really getting blocked quite a bit, when we were going with that.  Part of it was L.C.‑‑ Lauren's location a little bit as she's making tough sets.  A little bit of these made it tough to get a line.
But we talked to Deme about midway through Game 4.  The only time she should be going and burying the ball is when it's one‑on‑one.  Right now let's work the tool shot.  And she came back out the very next ball, she gets set and hits it into the ‑‑ tool shot into the antenna.  You could tell that that was‑‑ that was a big play right there, where a lot of energy was.
And I think she came back and had two more kills right there after that.  And we were trying to hit the line.  We were trying to.  But, man, that block's big.  It's sometimes what you're trying to do.
Now, I don't know how many times we got blocked.  We might have set a world record tonight on the number of times we got blocked.  So our hitting percentage doesn't look great, which probably makes it even more impressive that we're able to win.
The hitting percentage doesn't look great, but when we dug the ball and got the ball past their block, we were able to win those rallies.
And we felt that was the key, find a way to get the ball past the block, and we'll win this match.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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