Stanford vs. UW Final Four Post-Match Quotes

After the spanking Stanford gave to Washington in the 2006 Women's Volleyball NCAA semifinals Thursday night (30-12, 30-25, 30-15), there was great excitement and optimism from Cardinal head coach John Dunning and his players. For the Huskies, there was disappointment but a great pride in their accomplishments.

Stanford head coach John Dunning

Opening statement:

"I would to congratulate the three players sitting with me here.  I think they have just gotten better and better as the year has went along.  They are the driving force of this team, and it's exciting to watch them play.  They are amazing athletes, and we are looking forward to Saturday night.  I want to congratulate the University of Washington and UCLA on having great seasons.  I want to congratulate the University of Nebraska.  I'm sure it will be a full house and very exciting on Saturday, and we are looking forward to the challenge."

On Stanford's post-season experience:

"I think our team has gotten better, better and better.  I think we've had some scares in the playoffs that have helped us play at a higher level.  I think Missouri did a great job against us, putting us in a tense situation that we learned from.  I thought last weekend, Cal played great against us and Texas was amazing.  You've got to be pushed to keep going higher, and I think that's what helped us play at the level we did tonight.  I thought we were very composed and we were very aggressive tonight."

Junior setter Byrn Kehoe

"I think we served very aggressively tonight, and also Jess Fishburn had a great match.  She passed very well, and that allowed us to run a great offense."

Sophomore middle blocker Foulke Akinradewo

"I think coming in we were all on the same page and wanted a win.  I think we kept our focus and that's what helped us put the string of points together in the beginning, and from then on we were able to keep our composure."

Sophomore outside hitter Cynthia Barboza

On the match:

"I think this was a serve and pass match.  I think we did a good job getting the ball to Bryn, so we could run our offense and take them out of theirs."

On Nebraska:

"I think it's safe to say they have a slight home-court advantage.  There are a lot of Husker fans out there, but I think it's going to be fun.  I've never played in front of this many people before, and I am excited about it."

On this team's season:

"I think how last year ended for us, it was a big driving force for this entire season.  I don't think it just started in the playoffs.  Last year was pretty disappointing for us on the whole, and I think this year we are playing with a lot more intensity and we are playing for each other out there on the court.  Every play is for each other, and I think right now, this is the best our team as a whole unit all year.  We had a great performance from Jess Fishburn in passing.  I thought Nji [Nnamani] dug some amazing balls, and we got a lot of good offense out of Erin Waller on the right side.  And to have it all coming together at this point in the season gives a lot of confidence going into Saturday."

Washington head coach Jim McLaughlin

Opening Statement:

"Stanford, congratulations to them.  They played a great match, the best match they have played against us for sure.  But we didn't do the things we are capable of doing.  It was a tough match.  I told these guys in the locker room, we knew it would be tough - we knew the whole season would be tough.  We put in a lot of time and had a good season.  Had we won the thing, it would have been fantastic, but the way these guys worked and the time and effort they put in it was still great.  I told Janine as a senior she came to a place where the stakes are high and I admire that in her.  Courtney, we recruited her and she changed this program.  She set a standard that is pretty unbelievable."

On the passing tonight:

"We were way below our standard; it's the key to playing good volleyball.  Stanford served tough and we just weren't in a good rhythm passing, and when that happens it's just tough to run our offense."

On getting back to the Final Four:

"In this business you can win a lot, and the few losses just somehow hurt a little more and you remember them a little bit more.  But at some point, I told Courtney she'll look back and these will be some of the greatest years of her life, considering what she accomplished."

Junior outside hitter Christal Morrison

"Thinking about what we built at this university is a good thing to think about.  It all started with our senior class last year; Courtney definitely carried it on.  We built something special at this university, to be able to compete now, every year."

Senior outside hitter Janine Sandell

"There is no way I can explain how big of an experience this has been.  I have just been blessed and very lucky to have this experience.  To be honored and to have the chance to play with a player like Courtney, words can't describe.  She has a drive like I've never experienced before.  She is a good person and an awesome leader on the court."

Senior setter Courtney Thompson

"From my perspective, this is an awesome program.  It takes the coaching staff, the players, and the people off the court to be successful.  We lost five players last year and we are back in the Final Four, so I think this program is a lot bigger than one person.  I've been very lucky to be here."

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