September 18th Quotes: Coach Rose, Allyson Cathey, Gabby Blossom

Check out the highlights from Penn State volleyball’s Tuesday media availability at Rec Hall. Russ Rose, outside hitter Allyson Cathey, and setter Gabby Blossom spent some time answering questions before practice.

The fourth-ranked Nittany Lions (9-1) open conference play on the road at No. 7 Minnesota Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET in a televised match on Big Ten Network.

Coach Rose on Allyson Cathey’s weekend:

Allyson Cathey

“I thought Allyson did a nice job. She does some things really well. She’s a confident net player. She didn’t get an opportunity in the Howard match, so I wanted to make sure she had an opportunity in the other two matches.”

Coach Rose on trio of D.C. matches:

“Playing at Howard was a really interesting match because it was a small gym and they had a real enthusiastic crowd. Howard had a great opportunity to win the first game and play better in the next couple of games. The next day, I thought we played really well against Buffalo in the morning, then had a real tough, grind-it match with American later in the evening. American’s a team that traditionally wins their conference and has a good collection of international players.”

Coach Rose on Big Ten play:

“The Big Ten is just a whole different set of challenges. I think the younger players will have their eyes open when they play Minnesota tomorrow night. They don’t know what it’s like to play in front of 4-to-5 thousand people at Minnesota. The older players have experienced that. We’ve won matches there and we’ve lost matches there. This is a new team and we depend a great deal on girls that a year ago were playing high school volleyball. That’s a pretty tall task against a team that, two weeks ago, was ranked No. 1 in the country.”

Coach Rose on Minnesota:

“We both played in the same tournament at Stanford. They’ve got three or four terrific players. They have a senior setter, [Samantha Seliger-Swenson], that’s one of the top setters in the country. [Stephanie] Samedy was a first-team All-American last year on the right side. I think they run the fastest offense in the conference, so if they control the ball, they really can dictate what it is they want to do. We’re going to have to hopefully have some good service pressure and hope that that can slow them down a little bit.”

Coach Rose on Brooklynn Hill:

Brooklynn Hill

“I thought Brooklynn had a really good preseason. I think she’s physically strong, she has a good serve. I thought she had great confidence. She hasn’t maintained it, I don’t think, through the first two or three weeks of the season, but I thought she was really good in the preseason, so hopefully she can regroup and get herself back into that mindset so that she can help us. Her strength is that she’s physically stronger than a lot of kids her age. Her skillset is good, her knowledge of the game is good. She’s played as a back-row player, she’s played as a libero, so she knows the demands of the positions.”

Coach Rose on expectations for his players:

“Every match is different. I don’t think anybody’s played great in every match up to this date, other than maybe Kendall [White]. I think she’s probably been our most consistent player. I think it’s more expected that younger players have ups and downs. You’d like to think that the older players are going to be able to maintain the level of their work over the course of time, but when you have so many young people in the mix, a lot of times their performance is impacted by the skills of the other players.”

Allyson Cathey on her performance last weekend:

“I think my biggest thing, when coach puts me in, I make sure I’m focused and ready to make positive contributions. Now that it’s Big Ten season, I’ve got to be more focused because it can come down to any point.”

Allyson Cathey on where she’s grown the most:

“For sure physically, but I think I’ve grown a lot mentally. During club, I used to get down on myself a lot, but now I think, with my teammates and coaches, they tend to get me out of my head and move on to the next point if something doesn’t go my way.”

Allyson Cathey on when she knew she wanted to play college volleyball:

“As soon as I started playing in the fourth grade. I played basketball and [ran] track, too, but I knew volleyball was what I wanted to do.”

Allyson Cathey on why she chose Penn State:

“Definitely the coaching staff and then just the culture and the expectations to win and to fight and do your best.”

Allyson Cathey on what she’s working to improve:

“I would say definitely my volleyball IQ. I tend to be more aggressive than smart on the court, so definitely swinging high off the block and making shots instead of just feeding it in the block every time. I think the whole freshman group, just because we’re here and we’re the No. 1 recruiting class, there are big expectations for us. I think my biggest thing is living up to that expectation.”

Allyson Cathey on what she likes about Gabby Blossom:

“She’s really loud. She’s always in my face and always making sure I’m uplifted and not frowning.”

Gabby Blossom on setters she admires:

Gabby Blossom

“Definitely Micha Hancock. She was a huge reason why I wanted to come here. I love the style of game [Samantha Seliger-Swenson] plays. Alisha Glass. Those are definitely setters I’ve watched for different reasons.”

Gabby Blossom on Bryanna Weiskircher:

“Bryanna is awesome. B is another coach to me. I remember when I first got here, she was the one that was helping me with classes. She’s the one I text if anything’s ever going wrong. In volleyball, it’s been incredible learning from her. This is her fifth year. She’s a baller, she knows what she’s doing, so having someone like that to look up to and learn from has been incredible.”

Gabby Blossom on her Under Armour All-American experience:

“That was really fun. I was roommates with Jonni [Parker] and that was the first time we really got to hang out. Adanna [Rollins] and CC [McGraw] were there, who we’ll play Wednesday, and we’ve been texting them, like, ‘It’s so exciting to meet up with you guys.’ To have friends from all over and all different programs has been really cool.”

Gabby Blossom on how she’s grown:

“The college game is faster. You get stronger and you get bigger, but definitely the mental side of it can be a lot. That’s something the coaches and [Bryanna] have been super helpful with. And then defense, because setters don’t love playing defense.”

Gabby Blossom on what Big Ten play will be like:

“Even when I was younger, I was like, ‘I want to play in the Big Ten. I want to play with the best. I want to play against the best.’ Every game’s a battle. No matter what people are ranked, the Big Ten is going to be a battle. Just being mentally prepared to be in other people’s gyms. When we’re in there in serve-pass, just getting really focused on controlling what we can control.”

Gabby Blossom on how she was introduced to volleyball:

“My mom played. My sister is older than me and she played club, so I was always in the gym with her.”

Gabby Blossom on when she knew she wanted to play for Penn State:

“As soon as I knew I wanted to play college volleyball. Penn State was my dream school. I never thought that it would happen. I was lucky enough where it did end up happening. As soon as they offered me, I committed.”

Gabby Blossom on singing in her spare time:

“I love to sing. I sing all the time, but I’m tone-deaf. Today in the locker room, Taylor [Leath] was like, ‘That’s the best I’ve ever heard you sing.’ I love Taylor Swift, she’ll always be my favorite.”

Gabby Blossom on Kendall White inspiring her:

“Oh, for sure. You watch Penn State play, like the tradition of it, we go hard. Kendall is a prime example of that. Her being our libero and her being out there all the time, you want to bust your butt because she’s busting her butt for every ball. That’s kind of how our team is. We want to give 100 percent, because we know our teammates are giving 100 percent.”

Gabby Blossom on the volleyball culture in St. Louis:

“It’s growing. We have beach in St. Louis now, which we never had when I was there. My club team, [Rockwood Thunder], was always pretty good, but it wouldn’t be like California. I loved my experience playing club.”