Nebraska-UCLA Post Match Quotes & Audio

By NU Athletic Communications
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Nebraska Head Coach John Cook

Opening Statement

“Great match. We had 91 digs. Our middles had zero errors. I haven’t seen that from Nebraska volleyball in a few years. It was a very entertaining match. UCLA was very low in errors, so we had to earn everything tonight. It was just a fun match to play.”


On what he learned about the team tonight

“I know there are some things we’re going to need to work on, but this team has some big playmakers. When the game is on the line and we’re down, they’re able to raise it up. I’ve known that, but each season is new, so that was nice to see. It was nice to see (Christina) Houghtelling make some huge plays at the end of game four. That’s a long, hard match for somebody who hasn’t played in a year. I think (Rachel) Holloway is really special, and she had an amazing game tonight. When your middles go with zero errors, that’s a heck of a night. We had 26 kills out of the middle with no errors. That’s a great night for Holloway.”


On the play of the middle blockers

“Tonight it was Tracy (Stalls) and (UCLA’s) Rachell Johnson going at it. Rachell had a big night, too. We couldn’t stop her. It was two heavyweights going at it, swinging, taking shots. Both of them played great tonight. It was just two great players really dominating from the middle blocker position.”


On the difference between games two and three

“The biggest difference was that UCLA’s serving took us out in game two. We finally started passing the ball a little bit better. That was the difference. Then we finally started playing defense. We kind of made some adjustments and figured out where their hitters were hitting the ball, especially their left sides. We made some adjustments, and they had very few kills in games three and four because we were digging everything they would hit.”


Sophomore setter Rachel Holloway

On playing UCLA

“Playing UCLA is always pretty special for me just because they’re a great team. We were struggling getting into a rhythm early, so I was doing everything I could to get the team fired up. I tried different things because we were trying to keep them on their toes. It was just fun to be out there. The atmosphere was fun. We were working hard when we were tired and making plays, so it was fun.”


Senior middle blocker Tracy Stalls

On playing UCLA

“I try to prepare for every match the same way. But like Rachel (Holloway) said, UCLA is a great team to play. Like they did tonight and they did before, they challenge us beyond our physicality; they challenge our mind and our heart and how we’re going to fight. That kind of a challenge just brings out the competitor and it’s just a great thing to play UCLA.”


On bringing an emotional lift to Nebraska tonight

“That is something I’ve tried to stay aware of what we need, whether it’s composure or that fight. We’re going to get people to come into the middle, look each other in the eye and feed off of good plays like that. It’s encouraging to build off a great kill, a great dig, and what’s great is that the team really responds to that. That’s huge.”


On attacking from the middle

“That’s a fun play. (Rachel Holloway) is all tricky because she goes up and down with it. It’s really effective because we’re running quick, quick, quick, and then we slow it up. It’s really making the middles think. A lot of times we end up one on one, so it’s either cut it one way or the other.”


Senior outside hitter Sarah Pavan

On Nebraska’s success this weekend

“I think there’s just pressure on this entire team. When you do great things like the team last year did and you’re returning as many players as we are, there are so many lofty expectations, not only on individuals, but also for the success of all of us. I think the team as a whole just rose to the occasion very well. This is the first time we’ve played together in eight months. Things weren’t pretty all the time, but we found ways to fight through it and to prove to people that we can come out and be as strong as we were last year. I’m really proud of that.”


On using this weekend as a learning experience

“We learned how to deal with pressure. Last year that wasn’t as evident as it has been this season, so all of us have really learned how to adapt and make the most of our situations. We’ve really accepted our roles. Everybody is very comfortable in the roles they’re in, and that’s really crucial to the success of the team. This game tonight was a battle, and we didn’t let up at all. It’s just really a great testament to the fight that we all possess.”


On earning an early win against a top-five team

“It’s great. We always want to play top teams and do really well because we all love to compete. It is the beginning of the season, so we can’t expect to be as great as we should be at the end. It was a really fun weekend, and we’re going to go back to work on Tuesday and get ready for another big one.”


UCLA Head Coach Andy Banachowski
Opening Statement
“It was a great way to start out the season playing in a tournament like this, that’s for sure. I think we found out a lot about ourselves this weekend playing in this tournament, and we had an opportunity to see a quality opponent in Nebraska and know what lies ahead when we get to the postseason. That’s a long way off, but we’ve figured out now what our style of play is going to be and what we’re going to be about. This was a good place to have that first test like we did tonight.”


On the play of the middle blockers
“I think we put up some pretty good numbers; they put up even better numbers. They’re bigger than we are in the middle and probably on the outside too. That’s something we talked about in the locker room afterward. Even though we may be undersized, we’re still going to play hard and do our best. I think our middles did a great job tonight.”


On the effectiveness of UCLA’s outside hitters in game two
“We certainly hit a hot streak there where both Dicey (McGraw) and Ali (Daley) were doing a great job on the left side. We were able to dig and transition quickly and certainly we feel that’s going to be our bread and butter. We just wore down a little bit working those two kids that much. We’ll look to be doing that a lot more.”


On Nebraska’s No. 1 national ranking
“It’s early in the year. Everyone’s going to get better, but they’re starting off pretty well-stocked at every position out there on the court. I think everybody’s going to be shooting at them all season long.”


Senior setter Nellie Spicer
On the rewards of playing tough competition early in the season
“I think it’s great. Nebraska is a good team. I was really surprised our freshmen stepped up a lot, and our passing was fantastic tonight.”


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