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Nebraska head coach John Cook

Opening statement:

“I just think of all the places we could have been sent, we’re excited about being here because we had such a great tournament here two years ago. A lot of familiarity, we know this gym, half of our team was in that regional two years ago. We’re excited and we’re really looking forward to the opportunity to continue to build on the season that we’ve had.”

On whether playing a former Big 12 rival means anything to the team:

“It does with me and our older fans and people who have been around a while, but this team, there’s no - they don’t understand, all the way back to Bill McCartney and all that stuff. It goes way back. All of that has been lost on this generation, since we moved to the Big Ten.”

On Colorado:

“They are good at serving and passing. They’re well-balanced. They’ve got two nice outsides that manage the game really well. They can set the middle. (Joslyn) Hayes has been there, I think she’s a senior, seems like she’s been there a long time. They’ve obviously played good competition.”

On whether the backups have made the starters better in practice:

“No question. I probably am on those guys about being good every day more than I am the other side. I have been talking to them all year about that, how important it is. The freshmen, before practice today, I gave them a lecture before practice today that, ‘OK, we’re taking it up another notch today and you guys have to be really good,’ and they did a great job today. They are the ones, they’re not used to playing in December. They’re (usually) playing basketball right now or getting ready for Christmas shopping. I always have to keep reminding them, but they did an awesome job, they’ve been really good.”

On if this seems like a new experience with two new assistant coaches:

“A little bit. The only thing that’s different is that you have the NCAA telling you what to do. You have to make sure you have the right shoes and socks and whatever. But, going through the Big Ten, this is like this every weekend. So, for our preparing and our coaching staff, we’re in the groove with that and it doesn’t feel different than going to Michigan. Same type of feel, same type of week, same type of preparation, same way of trying to get this team rested but prepared and go in there fresh.”

On Kentucky head coach Craig Skinner:

“Well, I’ve hired Craig twice. I hired him when I was at Wisconsin and I hired him when I took the Nebraska job in 2000 and obviously, I thought enough of him to hire him twice. We won a national championship in 2000 and he was a big part of that. I helped support him to take this job because he thought there was a lot of potential here and obviously, it’s paid off and he’s done an outstanding job. I also want to mention Lee Maes for Colorado, who was on my 2006 national championship staff. So, the boys are reuniting here in Lexington.”

On being on the road instead of playing at home this weekend:

“Like I already told them, the NCAA is having a party, we got an invite, so we’re happy about that. They determine where we play and where we go. We’re just happy to still be at the party and look forward to playing.”

On what he took from losing first two matches of the season:

“We had a chance to be really good. We played some really good volleyball. Kelly (Hunter) didn’t play and we weren’t quite solid enough to win close games. We had a lot of close games, but I knew after that weekend that we had a chance to be really good. Sometimes you learn more in losing than you do in winning. That’s why we play in that tournament because you find out a lot about your team every year. Last year, we swept that tournament. We played Texas and Florida, and we learned a lot last year and learned a lot this year.”

Kelly Hunter

On what Colorado does well:

“When they’re playing well they have a really fast offense and a really balanced attack and that’s always hard to paly against. That’s how we try to be. They don’t really ride one player and give just one player 60 attacks a night, so they have a really balanced attack. For our blocking defense, we have to be on block and read really well. Serve and pass, obviously, is going to try and take them out of that offense.”

On challenges playing in this gym presents:

“It’s just so big and white. My first serve, I tossed the ball up and kind of lost it just because it’s so high. We’re used to kind of playing in a bigger gym but it’s packed with people and they’re right on top of you, but here the walls are white so everything just kind of feels further away than it is. So I guess for serve and pass that could affect it a little bit.”

Annika Albrecht

On the team’s mood at this point in the season:

“Well, coach was just telling us after practice that this is one of the best practices that we’ve had serve and pass wise, energy wise, and we took it up another level today. I think we got better today which is important and we’re still trying to get better as the season goes on. I think the team is really excited for tomorrow just to have another opportunity to play the game.”

On challenges playing in this gym presents:

“Well, those doors aren’t really ideal for passing, but the great ones adjust.”

On teammates on B side who have contributed to making her a better player:

“I think all around, the servers are all really good. For example Hayley (Densberger), Sydney (Townsend) and Hunter (Atherton) have just been challenging us passing wise. As far as blocking, Anezka (Szabo) puts up a huge block so it challenges Mikaela (Foecke) and me. Every time we go up against her we have to kind of get creative because she’s huge and she puts up a solid block. Those are just four people that stick out right now but as a whole they’re really good on that side.”


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