2016 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship
Arlington, Texas -- College Park Center
Nov. 19, 2016
UT Arlington vs. Arkansas State
UT Arlington Head Coach Diane Seymour
Opening statement …
"First of all, congratulations to Arkansas State. Obviously they played extremely well tonight. I've said that all along, what an efficient team they were. They really were efficient tonight and good for them. Just didn't really have a way to stop their outside hitter, Carlisa May. She tore us up tonight. We put some good points together. I was proud of our kids fight there at the end. It would have been very easy just to lay down and die. We played some of our harder fought points there at the end, over the last eight or nine points. Obviously you hate getting swept at any point in the season but it is extremely tough to get swept on your home court in the conference tournament."
On seniors Kaitlyn Granger and Cassidy Wheeler …
"They've provided great leadership and they both lead in different ways. They showed up everyday and got their work done. They never complained about being sore, not feeling good, having a boyfriend break up with them, they just never complain about things. They showed good leadership and showed our younger kids about how to go about your business of being a collegiate athlete. They get their work done in the classroom, show up in the weight room, pick up their locker, all those small things. And their play on the court is inspiring at times too. I think Cassie wishes she had played a little better tonight but she has had a remarkable career for us. And Granger is always a tough competitor. She got off to a little bit of a slow start but she always answers the bell when we need her to. She did a good job of that tonight as well."
On the contributions of underclassmen and the future of the program …
"We addressed that a little bit in the locker room as well. To talk about our season and the finality of it here and realize that we only got swept three times this year. That is a good statement on the direction of the program and where we are going. A lot of times you are looking out on the court and you would have a senior, junior, sophomore and three freshmen out there. We know this program is headed in the right direction, especially with how our underclassmen have stepped up. Specifically Taylor Murata at the libero position. She is probably going to be able to move herself into consideration for one of the top libero's in the Sun Belt. Which always produces some great liberos. Kylie (Jedlicka) did a great job on the right side for us. Maddie (McConnell) is a little bit undersized for a middle blocker but she finds a way to get it done. And obviously Claire Schwettmen can step into the role that Cassidy (Wheeler) has had for the last few years. Excited about the fact that we will have Zhanelle back for two more years because we were able to redshirt her. As we are moving forward, the future is really bright because our young kids made some really great strides and put up some good numbers for us."
On turning focus to 2017 and the positives of returnees …
"That is the hard part because you feel bad for your seniors who are leaving so you don't want to talk about next year too quickly but it is something to talk about and take note of and leave this behind us. We only got swept three times. We were in every match that we played. We've got great young kids that have put up great numbers. I don't feel like they played like freshmen so we are ready to turn the corner with those guys."
On hosting the Sun Belt Championship …
"Well, this is a great volleyball conference first off. Coastal and Arkansas State, congratulations to both of them. It is going to be a great final tomorrow. It has been great to have it here at the College Park Center. We have the Taj Mahal of little arenas. It is the best in the Sun Belt. It is a beautiful place to showcase. We've had some good crowds. It is great that Texas State, Coastal and Arkansas State have brought some people. It has been a great venue to host this event and we would like to see it come back for sure."
On highlights of the 2016 season …
"That's hard to pinpoint right now. If you just look over the last few weeks, it was big to beat Arkansas Little Rock on their home court in five. That was a big win for us, to get us spring boarded into a winning streak to get us going into this conference tournament. To beat them three times this year, I know we talk about Texas State being one of our biggest rivals, but Little Rock is a little bit of a rival for us as well. Just to be able to win against them three times felt pretty good for us."
Arkansas State Head Coach David Rehr
Opening statement …
"Well a lot of it is you just have to trust your kids, they got us this far in the season. Seniors have got us this far in the last four years and you just got to let them play. Yesterday for whatever reason they played well I guess. It looked better on film than it did live but getting to this one I guess it was just kind of a circle match. We didn’t like the match up with either one. UTA or Little Rock was still a bad match up for us either way. They’re still two good volleyball teams so after knowing the fate and being able to break down UTA last night, loved how we prepared, loved how we came out. We were inspired this afternoon and kind of got it going and were happy with a three set sweep."
On seeing an inspired team …
"Yeah and that’s how we are. UTA made a run, you guys may know the numbers better than I do and they made a run in the second set and went up big. And I’m notorious to not call timeouts, I don’t call timeouts a lot, so I want our kids to figure it out. There was going to be a great point and time where I had to call a timeout. I was actually waiting for media at 15 if it got there, but we need to let our kids figure it out and they that on their own and they don’t have me hold their hand. I was proud of the kids of how they came back in that and how they made a statement after that moment. Then we continued that statement in set three."
On facing Coastal …
"I mean, the odd part about how this match up was kind of put together is we played Georgia State three weeks ago, we played UT Arlington two weeks ago, so we have some familiarity and we haven’t play Coastal Carolina since opening weekend. They were our second conference match of the year, so it will be interesting. There is no video that you could break down of what you exactly did against each other. It will be an odd, not odd just playing an opponent you haven’t played before because there’s people on their court that haven’t played and there’s people on our court that didn’t play the first time. So I think you’re going to get entertained tomorrow."
On maintaining focus in the championship …
"They know that, I mean if you ever see our kids or meet our kids; One thing we are is humble, we don’t believe a lot of the hype that we got put around us. Especially last year we had a lot of hype so right now we are a volleyball team that plays together and takes care of each other. Tomorrow is another game, but a lot more to it and a lot more of our future if we can keep killing volleyball in the future."
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