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We'll start with an opening statement from Jerritt Elliott.
They ran an unbelievable event here today, along with the event staff. The Nebraska fans were fantastic. When we arrived today there was, they were three deep and cheering for us and saying good luck. And it's great to see where the sport is going, to have this kind of fan base, and showing the rest of the NCAA and everybody else about how the sport is growing is tremendous.
My hat goes off to Nebraska. I thought they played phenomenal. I bet John would say this is probably as good as they played consistently all season long. They never cracked. Their sideout percentage was remarkable all the way through about halfway until game three a little bit.
But they were relentless in the pressure of siding out and we weren't able to get any runs going. But more importantly, I'm just more proud of this team.
My seniors have created a culture that has never been created before in terms of the chemistry and the trust and unity. We had some injuries early on and they just stuck together and they battled and they got themselves to play in this title match.
I tell them all the time, I won't be upset if you give me everything you have and they gave me everything they had tonight. And we were on the other side of the coin the other night. So, I just love my team and love my university and these players that are sitting up here. In the third set, you dialed your lineup so that you would, as it turned out among other things, have your freshmen matchup with their freshmen.
What were you thinking? What do you think the results were with that decision? She was hitting. She ended up hitting. We were able to contain her a little bit more. But she was the difference maker in the match. We didn't have an answer. For the seniors, can you put into words the emotions of this loss?
I wish that I had more time with this team. I think that not only the volleyball part, like, besides that, just the relationships I have with these players is incredible. And the bond we had with our coaches was different than any other year that I've been here.
The thing I'm going to miss the most is just how much fun I had with them.
And I wish we could have won a national championship. I think that we fought hard like Jerritt said, and I really regret nothing with this group. I think that they're incredible and the best team I've ever been a part of. It's one of the areas that we kind of struggled with, some of the personnel.
We didn't have a lot of back row options in three of the rotations to get us out of some of those situations. But I felt like, I told them I said, hey, we're battling this, I think they're playing out of their mind and we just got to stay with the mission and stay focused about what we're doing and see if we can serve a little bit better and do some things to get them out of system.
But it was a games.
We weren't far behind in being up Molly, this is the second time you've played Nebraska. What was the biggest difference between the first match and this match? I felt like the last time we played them we were able to just sneak in and make long runs for ourselves.
But this time we played them, their sideout game was incredible. So, we tried to manage our game, but they were just, they were on fire and they were really good.
Do you feel like you needed to serve just maybe a little bit tougher to get them out of system as a good passing team, but also a very physical team?
And did you feel like you could have done a few more things maybe from the service line? Statistically that we had, the way that they pass nails and stayed in system with short serves, we didn't feel like that was an option.
The reality is their sideout percentage was good, we were getting opportunities to score, we just couldn't score out of system. That was the biggest thing early only. Our lefts had a hard time with the side block and they were playing great defense and we were making more errors.
If you would have asked me before, I would say that we were managing our game a little bit better, at least from our side than we have -- than we did tonight.
And I would say Nebraska usually makes a few more hitting errors and gives you points at times. Sometimes you run into a team that plays that well and feeding off that crowd for themselves was great.
But we didn't -- it was a discussion we were having as a staff. I don't know what else we could have done. If you would have -- if somebody would have told you back when you had the big injuries, you lost the three time Big Player of the Year, somebody would have said, you'd get here.
I know you wanted to win it, would you have said, hey, that's a great finish for this group? They have got some magic between them, about what they were able to do. And then have a chance to make a run in the tournament.
Obviously, you wonder. And this team more so than any team that I've ever coached, took me for a ride. They instilled confidence in me, made me believe in them.
I really didn't have to do too much with this group in terms of managing them. They did it on their own. They made me believers.
And I felt like tonight we could win this match. So at the beginning of the year, I would have said, on paper, no, we wouldn't be in this position. Not even close.
And the road that we had to get here was not easy. This team was good in the crunch. Yaazie, you had your two best matches of the season in the Final Four.
Any explanation for how you just came alive and dominated out there these two games? I just, I was given the chance to step up.
Foecke was the MOP and she's a freshman. You had to have had some sort of a plan for her. What did you plan and what do you think she did to be able to be so successful?