Coach Rose Quotes from Tuesday’s Media Availability
Coach Rose met with the media on Tuesday. Here is some of what he had to say:
Question: Is Penn State a championship caliber team right now?
Well, we didn’t look very good last week against Nebraska, but we looked better in earlier matches. You play the season to try and get better, and that would be the intent. I think we’re relevant. I had a hard time filling out my poll [on Monday.] The only thing I felt comfortable was voting us ahead of Stanford, and yet we finished ranked behind Stanford. My vote doesn’t really matter that much.
Question: How much does a weekend like last weekend serve as a wakeup call?
I’ve been saying the same thing for awhile about the strength of the Big Ten. Three of the top four teams in the country were in the Big Ten, and all three of them lost. All of them lost at home to other teams in the conference. It’s just a reflection of how good the conference is. Michigan State beat Minnesota and Wisconsin, on the road, which is something nobody has done for a few years. And certainly Nebraska came in here and played awfully well against us. So I think the conference season is going to be a really interesting and exciting one for the fans, and a very challenging one for the schools — for the coaches, for sure. Ours is a precarious situation, because our travel partner is Rutgers. One of the coaches told me they didn’t spend any time preparing for the other team [i.e. Rutgers]. They spent all their time on us. That’s going to take its toll. We’ve got to spend an equal amount of time preparing for everybody on our trips. But that’s just the luck of the draw in the scheduling. We’ll have to find ways to be better and play the game at a higher level if we want to have success.
Question: What do you have to do to be ranked #1?
We’ve only lost one match. I’m not overly concerned that we lost a match. I’d be more concerned about how we lost the match. We were 23-23, and two senior All Americans made errors. So I’m more concerned about how we lost, than that we lost. And who we lost to — Nebraska’s very good. It might be disappointing, because the girls might consider them one of their main rivals, all of the matches have the same value at the end of November. So what do we have to do? We have to have better service pressure. We have to get a little better tempo to the pins and we have to have a really good compete level in this conference, because everybody’s good. Everybody has players who can score. [Iowa’s Taylor] Louis on Saturday night — if they’re 20-20 against anybody in the Big Ten, she’s gonna win some games. We have to have our marquee players playing well at the end of games and we have to play well as a team to put us in a position to be competitive at the end of the game.
Question: How have your seniors done in terms of being leaders?
I think part of being leaders for some of them is just doing their own jobs, but certainly there needs to be a conscious effort by everybody in uniform to maintain the team and the importance of the team, and what the culture should be about and what positive interactions are about. I think they are knowledgeable because of their experience, but that doesn’t mean they are competitive in their experience.
Question: What is Dennis [Hohenshelt’s] role during a match and has he been an asset this season?
Dennis was here for a number of years with the men’s team and the women’s team before he went to Virginia, so I have great confidence in his commitment to the team and the players. He’s an outgoing guy, so I’m comfortable with him interacting with the players and talking about the game plan and talking about technique and trying to improve the quality of what we’re trying to do. I have great confidence in Dennis.
Question — on preparing the team for Illinois and Northwestern
I’m not preparing them for toughness. We saw Illinois play because we were in the same tournament with Stanford and Colorado, and they haven’t lost since we saw them play. They are very good. I think Illinois has the best setter in the conference [Jordyn Poulter] and arguably the best blocking team, and Ali Bastianelli might be the best middle in the conference, so they’re very good. And Northwestern is very competitive. They’re still going through a phase with the second or third year of a new coaching staff, but they had some great wins in the preseason, and they have some players on their team that we all recruited and we know how good they are. I think every weekend is going to be a challenge in women’s volleyball.