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Wednesday December 2, 2009Florida Volleyball Pre-NCAA Tournament Quotes

Gainesville, FL

The No. 14/15 University of Florida volleyball team opens play in the 2009 NCAA Tournament on Thursday when it plays host to the College of Charleston at 7:30 p.m. ET in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Prior to Wednesday afternoon’s practice, head coach Mary Wise and select players spoke to members of the media about the upcoming tournament. Select quotes from that event are available below.

 

FLORIDA HEAD COACH MARY WISE

 

“We’ve watched a lot of video the past couple days, and only 63 other teams are getting the chance to do that right now. It is a fun time when you’re playing teams that you haven’t seen before, so you really do rely a lot on the scouting.  We’re playing a team [College of Charleston] that came off a huge win in their conference tournament to secure an automatic bid. I think the first match between FIU and Miami could be a great first-round match between two very talented teams.”

 

On what she knows about the College of Charleston …

“Now that we’ve watched video and looked at the personnel, we know that they run a relatively fast offense. Last weekend, we served very well, and hopefully that will continue. College of Charleston blocks balls, and you can beat a whole lot of teams when you block balls. They run a very fast offense, and you can beat a lot of teams when you do that as well.”

 

On how she prepares for potentially playing two matches in two days …

“We’ve been through this before. They key is, that as a team, the highest priority becomes your first match. We have watched video tape on the other two opponents, and we’ve looked at things. Should we be fortunate enough to win Thursday night, we have that practice opportunity on Friday. You prepare for three teams, but most of your efforts are focused on your first-round opponent.”

 

On facing off with an unfamiliar opponent in the NCAA First Round …

“That’s why the Notre Dame match was so helpful for us. Unlike in the SEC, especially in a double round-robin, where we’ve become so familiar with our opponents, we were facing a team that we’d only watched on video. Our players had never played them before, and they made adjustments, and the players had to do the same, and that’s exactly what you do in the NCAA tournament.”

 

On what it means to be hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament …

“There are only 16 schools that are hosting. We see the 16th seed as something we earned by who we played. The fact that we’re hosting has more to do with geography, and the luck of the draw that Gainesville is located where it is and the other three teams can bus. We’re going to take advantage of the fact that we’re playing at home. At this time of the year, it helps that we’re not traveling and we are familiar, but nothing helps your team like execution.”

 

#5 Callie Rivers, Jr., RS

 

On the survive-and-advance mentality in the NCAA Tournament …

“I think everyone knows we have to take each game really seriously, because we don’t want to drop a game. We want to get it over with as soon as we can and get to the next round. We have to take every single opponent very seriously, and we don’t really know any of our opponents.”

 

On facing a first-round opponent that the Gators are unfamiliar with …

“It’s way different because in the SEC, you play teams twice. A lot of people know people from other teams and you talk to each other about other teams, so you pretty much know names, numbers, and tendencies. It’s a lot different playing in those matches where you go in not really knowing anything about the team.”

 

On Florida playing host to the NCAA First and Second Rounds …

“We’re really glad to have our home court for the first two rounds. It’s nice to not have to travel and we get to play in front of our home crowd”

 

#7 Elyse Cusack, Sr., L

 

On whether there is any sense of urgency being a senior in the NCAA Tournament …

“I definitely think that KJ and I are starting to feel a sense of urgency that every match could be our last at this point. But it doesn’t add any pressure because it’s more excitement. We’re going to go out with a fight.”

 

On facing an unfamiliar opponent in the NCAA First Round …

“It’s always different when we play new opponents. It’s actually more fun because you have to make an adjustment during the match, and we’ll see teams do new things during the match that we might have not seen on video. It’s a different challenge, but it’s definitely more fun playing someone new.”

 

On potentially playing two matches in a two-day stretch in the NCAAs …

“It’s a little different, but we’ve had some practice because our first two tournaments at the beginning of the season was kind of the same setup where we play Friday and Saturday, and then we scout our Saturday opponent on Friday. So we’ve had a little bit of practice, but it’s definitely something we don’t do at all in the SEC season, but seeing your opponent live and in person really helps with the scouting.”

 

#6 Kristy Jaeckel, So., OH

 

On facing the College of Charleston on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. …

“We’re really excited about the challenge of playing College of Charleston, a team that we’ve never seen except on video and that we’ve never played before. To prepare for it, a lot of times we work on what we can to do be successful because ultimately, it’s not what they do. It’s on us to take control and make sure we do what we can do to win.”

 

On Florida hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament …

“Some of our out-of-conference matches so far have been pretty challenging. To go on the road, whether it be on a neutral court or against a team we’ve never played before at home really takes us out of our comfort zone because we don’t know this team backwards and forwards like we do our SEC opponents.”

 

#16 Colleen Ward, So., OH

 

On Florida playing host to the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament …

“Playing in the O’Dome in front of our fans is definitely a big help. They’ve helped us through a lot of our games in the SEC, so having their support behind us is going to help us a lot.”

 

END OF REPORT

 

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