We’re speaking with Talking Head, who played D1 volleyball and has coached the sport for many years, about the Howard match and thoughts on the team moving forward in the NCAA Tournament.
Dignittany: So that was an odd match — three sets in which Howard hit .000 and one in which it hit .355 — not surprisingly, that’s the set they won. Your thoughts?
Talking Head: It got a little bit messy, and a lot of it has to do with two things. Without a doubt, you have to give credit to Howard. They passed very well. They handled that first contact very well. They dug a lot of balls and brought a lot of balls back. I think in game 2, Penn State maybe was trying to be a little too perfect — thinking “We should be beating this team,” and then “why aren’t we beating this team.” You can’t get caught up in that.
Dignittany: Would you pinpoint any particular area where things went wrong?
Talking Head: It was a collective thing. It was on the players, and maybe even on the coaches a little bit too — making sure the team settled down, relaxed . . . .
Dignittany: Coach Rose gave a lot of credit to Howard, as you did. Can you expand on that?
Talking Head: We hit right at them, but they dug every ball, and they handled every ball. Which is a testament to their coach and their players. I love their setter, and their libero did a really nice job [her first year filling the position]. And their two DSs [both freshmen] got their hands on a lot of balls.
Dignittany: Many observers were commenting on how surprising it was for Howard to win even one game. Your thoughts?
Talking Head: Howard’s RPI was in the 200 range, I think. But it’s the NCAA Tournament — you’ll have some “interesting” games, where teams drop a game when people think they shouldn’t.
Dignittany: Does this change your outlook for the team at all moving forward?
Talking Head: No, it doesn’t. We’re still home. All things being equal we’ll play three more matches at home (including the match against Pitt, tonight). I’m hoping the fans bring a little more to the match tonight. We’re playing Pitt — a very respectable team. I think we match up very well against Pitt. I think next week (assuming we beat Pitt) the energy level is going to be through the roof. I think people need to keep in mind what a big deal hosting a regional final is. It’s huge. Massive. I think everybody — including the team — has got to bring their energy level up to “10.” I expect the team to be very good tonight.
DigNittany: From your lips to the volleyball gods’ ears. Thanks, as always, for your time. We appreciate it.