Volleyball Wins NCAA Opener

Defending national champion Stanford Volleyball took a robust first-round step Friday night in the 2005 NCAAs, nailing Nevada in straight games (30-25, 30-20, 30-21) at Maples Pavilion. Players and coaches talked afterward on Kristin Richards (22 kills, .326), Erin Waller (career-high 11 kills, .562), the return of Bryn Kehoe, and more.

Nevada

Devin Scruggs, Nevada Head Coach

Opening statement:
I thought that we had the opportunity to come in and really compete with Stanford tonight.  I think we were prepared to play; we just didn't have the same emotion we had last week in a phenomenal match that we played against Hawaii.  I wanted to keep playing.  I felt like we were just getting warm and starting to go.  Unfortunately, that's not how our sport goes.  We were flat for most of the match.  We had a run in Game Two, where we were rolling for a little while, and unfortunately, Stanford served really well that we were unable to get into our offense.

On the senior class of Salaia Salave'a, Christine Harms, and Lindsay Holda:
This is one of the most unique senior classes of almost any team in the country.  My three seniors Salaia, Christine Harms, and Lindsay Holda have played every single match of every single year of their career, with the exception of one match each, due to an injury that happened to all three of them at different times.  To have these seniors be that much of an impact on a program is unbelievable.  They have set a fantastic standard for our team and have built the groundwork for what we hope to have continued success with our program.

On not getting out of the first round the past few seasons Nevada has qualified for the NCAA Tournament:
I don't think it is so much of being in the first round and getting over the hump.  It's doing what we need to do in order to get a better seed heading into the tournament.  I would much rather be in Hawaii's position and playing Texas State than fifth-seeded Stanford.  What we have to do is do a much better job during the preseason and put ourselves in a position where we are a higher seed and not having to play a top team early on.

On Stanford's Kristin Richards:
Kristin is a phenomenal player.  She passes the whole court; she plays great defense; she's a good hitter…  We knew that about Kristin going into the match and she's a fantastic player.  She has been since she got to Stanford.

On coaching against John Dunning, her former coach at Pacific:
I've done it for awhile.  It was weird the first couple of years, but now…  I played for him at UOP and I've competed against him while at Stanford.  I have the utmost respect for John – he is my mentor, my friend and he is a fantastic coach.  I've learned a ton from him as a player and now as a colleague.

On inserting back-up setter Ashley Miller in the third game:
We just had to change something.  Miller sets the outsides better, while Tristin sets the middles a bit better.  Our middles were doing well, but we needed our outsides to get going.  We needed a little bit of a change.

Salaia Salave'a, senior middle blocker

On her last match of her career:
It hasn't hit me yet.  I was more into winning this match, so I don't have to be at basketball on Monday.  [Salave'a is a member of the Wolfpack women's basketball team.]

Tristin Johnson, junior setter

On Nevada's inability to run its offense consistently:
Our ball control wasn't the best its ever been, but once the passers did get the ball to me, we ran on all cylinders.  Stanford served much better than us.  They took us out of our offense, but we weren't able to do the same to them consistently.  It wasn't that my passers weren't doing a good job – Stanford's serving was pretty good too.

Stanford

John Dunning, Stanford head coach

Opening statement:
It's wonderful to be able to host the NCAA Tournament, to play in front of our crowd and in our court.  I'd like to congratulate Devin Scruggs.  I like the way she coaches and her teams always play hard.  She played hard when she played for me at UOP.  I'd like to congratulate our team, and I though Kristin Richards and Erin Waller did a great job today.  We have to bring it to another level tomorrow night because we are playing an awfully good team.

On Bryn Kehoe being back in the line-up as a defensive specialist:
One of our goals is to get better every week, every day, and every match we play.  Bryn's doctor said it was okay for her to play part of the game.  She still can't serve, hit, or block.  Adding Bryn back into the line-up - she's very intense and plays great defense.  She can set if someone else needs her to set.  We thought adding her in tonight was a good idea so that she could get use to playing again, and so that we could get use to her.  Nji Nnamani has been playing great, but we put Bryn in the back-row for her because Bryn is a great defensive player and can help spark us.  We got an opportunity to do that tonight and that's great.  I know she wants it pretty bad, that's for sure.

On calling timeouts, despite not being little threatened Nevada:
I think the way we are as a team is that we still sometimes give up streaks of points.  We are still learning how to be a team, and we get stuck in some rotations once in a while.  The timeout for us is to break the momentum of the opponent because we've given up two or three points.  We refocus and we get it going again out on the court.  It's kind of nice to use a timeout that way, or you can also use a substation that way as well.

On his relationship with Devin Scruggs:
I've coached against former players a lot.  It just brings a smile to my face because I like Devin.  I think she is a wonderful person and a good coach.  She's brought the program up at Reno a whole lot.  A lot of fans come to their games, and I heard there were over 1,000 fans in the match against Hawaii.  That's just awesome compared to where it was.  I'm just really proud of her, and happy to be part of her life still.

On Stanford's serve tonight:
I thought we served great tonight.  It's one of our strengths and when it isn't, we tend to struggle a little, just like everybody else.  We have some people who can put the ball right where they want to, and Kristin is one.  She can really put the put the ball on a dime.  We can really take a lot of teams out of their offense, so it's definitely one of the keys for us.

On facing South Bay rival Santa Clara:
I think Santa Clara has had a great season.  They had an injury at the end of the season that kind of interrupted things or knocked them out of joint for a bit.  They played some really good teams and lost a couple of times.  Before that, they were 22-1 and beat [fourth-seeded] Arizona in four games pretty easily earlier this year.  I think this is their best season, or at least close to it.  They have a lot of weapons.  Cassie Perret is playing great and their two middles [Annalisa Muratore and Anna Cmaylo] are doing a great job.  I think they are a pretty darned good team and well coached.  We are going to have to play at a high level tomorrow to have a great match against them.

On the clutch play of back-up setter Katie Goldhahn:
I'd like to say that Katie Goldhahn is doing a great job.  For someone who hadn't set in a year and a half, and to step in and do what she's doing…  I think our whole team is happy for her because she's been able to do it.  They feel bad for Bryn, but I think [Goldhahn] is one of the keys for our team right now.  There aren't many teams in the country that have someone like Katie who can step in and do what she's done for us in the last 11 matches.  She deserves some attention.

On Stanford's blocking tonight:
I think we are doing a pretty good job.  I think these two right here [Richards and Waller] did a nice job blocking, especially as we got into Games Two and Three.  We ask them to solo block a lot, which a lot of teams don't do.  So they have to hang out there and play some games with the opposing hitters.  I think our blocking is getting better.  At the start of the season, I thought it was our worst physical skill as a team for lots of reasons.  We've changed how we block as a team and we're doing it better.

On keeping the team stable despite all the injuries and position changes:
We had a couple of moments this year like we did last season.  One of them was when Cynthia [Barboza] was injured.  We could have folded our tent when playing Cal at Cal.  We lost there two years in a row.  It's a tough place to play, and their band is crazy.  When Cynthia went down, it's easy to get flustered, and we hung in there really tough.  I don't think we played great, but it made us come together.  When we got that victory, it gave us something to build on.  When Bryn went down right before we went to Washington, it made us step back again and stagger a little bit.  And then we just put it together.  Katie stepped up; Kristin stepped up and is playing at a considerably higher level than she's ever played.  She's saying, "I've got to do it and I'm going to do it."  We had a tryout on the left side with three or four people, and Franci [Girard] did it for a while, and then we moved her back to the middle.  Erin stepped in and did a really good job.  Like Kristin said, it's about people stepping up.  We weren't going to be very good if we didn't, and a whole bunch of people filled in the gaps.  We are getting better every day.

On moving Franci Girard back to the middle so late in the season after playing outside hitter post-Barboza injury:
What we are trying to do is give ourselves a chance to find out how our team works the best.  She was the first person to go on the left because she was the most experienced.  Experience matters a lot.  She did a good job, but we were still getting stuck in some rotations and we needed some offense.  In the past, she provided us with offense.  With her going back to the middle, it's made Lizzie [Suiter] work harder, and they are both getting better.  Erin is playing well now.  We may be falling into our best line-up, and yes, it is late in the season to be doing this, but we didn't have a choice.

Erin Waller, freshman outside hitter/middle blocker

On switching positions this year, playing outside hitter, middle, and opposite:
I've played middle all my life, but I wouldn't say it is the most comfortable because it is completely different at the college level.  The transition [from middle to outside] was fine.  It's awesome and having a great setter is a lot easier.

On her first NCAA Tournament experience:
It's really exciting, especially being a freshman and being new to everything.  It's awesome to be playing with the people on the team.

Kristin Richards, junior outside hitter

On her role this year as an upperclassmen:
As John talked about, we've been through a lot this year.  I guess, on-and-off the court, I'm just trying to be there for my teammates in any way.  Whether it's as a friend or a teammate or mentor…  I don't know.  Overall, I think everyone is doing a great job.  As far as our team, I'm really proud of everybody's effort.  I think they are stepping up in a big way.

On keeping the team stable despite all the injuries and position changes:
I think it is a group effort, as far coaching staff and players.  I think we've been pretty tough mentally.  Losing Cynthia was something really difficult to deal with, and then losing Bryn days later…  It was really, really tough for a little while.  It's been a huge group effort.

On her 22-kill performance against Nevada:
I'm going to give all the credit to Katie.  She's setting me so well right now.  I think she's doing a great job running the offense - putting the ball up well for the middles, which splits up the block when I go up to hit.  I think Katie is doing a great job and I'm going to give her all the credit.


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