May 4, 2013
Championship Match Press Conferences
UC Irvine Head Coach David Kniffin
(Opening statement) "We came into the season with this as our goal. There was no question in our minds that this was the place we wanted to be in. A lot of us had a feeling that BYU is the team that we would be playing in this moment. All season has been around playing BYU at the end of the season. I'm incredibly proud of the guys tonight for capitalizing and executing on what I think was a pretty great game plan by the staff. We've got some experience and we've got some perspective put together. This is part of the experience. This is a part of the journey of being a UC Irvine athlete, this is not the entire experience. It's exciting to hoist up this hunk of wood, but I am incredibly proud of the kids and the journey.
(On second set comeback) "I think we had some comebacks tonight, didn't we? Our conversation in the huddle was just very simply that we don't need to close the gap right now. We don't need to get 11-11 and we don't need to get to 24, what we need is to get the next point. The guys were confident and that's what allowed us to truly play one point at a time."
(On strategic moves) "It had less to do with me and more to do with the personnel on the court. You don't really get to see Connor Hughes until you see Connor Hughes in a championship run and he becomes what he was tonight. We have some guys that the lights go on and they perform and you can't show that during the season. I thought our middle blockers were good, patient and disciplined tonight more than they have been all season. You don't get to see what UCI athletes can do until you put them on the big stage."
(On blocking) I think blocking is one of those things that comes down to familiarity with the team. There's something about actually seeing someone across the net - we can actually learn how they play. When they get out there and they are able to adapt during a match, that's when you see our blocking numbers go up."
(On character of the team) "The beauty of our team is that we have some depth. It speaks a lot to the character and quality of a student athlete at UCI. I like to think we are really a hidden gem, it's a special institution.
UC Irvine Player Scott Kevorken
(On third set) "It was a pretty big moment. We've been there before, but for me it didn't feel like last year. It didn't feel like a championship point it just felt like any other point in the game. We had a great game plan and I felt like we executed well."
UC Irvine Player Connor Hughes
(Second set comeback) "I feel like it was a pretty big turning point. We've been playing point to point all year and that's kind of what we did. At that time I wasn't' even looking at the scoreboard I was just focusing on who's serving, what do I need to do, how do I need to execute it. Thinking about all of those different aspects helps you take your mind of what the actual score is."
(On being clutch) "Going through my head right now I am just so excited. It's these types of moments throughout my whole career. You really just have to live in the moment and I really took that to heart. Live in the moment in these championship settings and I love it."
UC Irvine Player Zack La Cavera
(On what it means to him) "Winning this is so great for me. I definitely struggled this year finding my place on the team and learning how to contribute."
BYU Coach Chris McGown
(opening statement) "We were, as you can imagine, disappointed in the result. I thought that UCI played inspired volleyball. They were just as good as anyone we've played this season in serve and serve receive. That kept us out of it all match; we never could get in an offensive rhythm. They were really good in serve receive and ultimately it comes down to who could execute serve and serve receive. They for sure won that part of the game. To our part, we were struggling offensively all night. I told the boys in the locker room what wonderful season it's been. It was a remarkable run by these guys. I'm so proud of our team for what they represent and the way they represent BYU and the way carried themselves all season and battled. I figured we were in for a long match, and until the last ball went in the stands, I thought for sure it would go to five, but it didn't end up that way."
"They (UCI) just executed. They served us well. We passed actually okay for the first few points, but they're big guys and got in good position and executed, and we weren't able to. What we've been able to do all season was execute in big points, and we weren't able to do that tonight. They were better tonight than anybody we've played."
(on using his time outs early) "Points are points. They were making runs, and I was trying to break some momentum there. Ultimately it would have been nice to have some time outs down the road, but I don't regret taking them early. If they're scoring early, it counts the same as when they're scoring late."
(on the difference between earlier matches against UCI) "The difference for me was in their serve receive. They served really well. They've got some guys who are great jump servers, but their float serves got us in trouble. We never really found our rhythm defensively or offensively. They ran a nice offense - it was well-distributed."
(on the difficulties of winning back to back) "Just thinking about how hard it was to get to this point for us, unless you're in it, you have no idea how hard these guys work every single day, how much of their soul they commit to being a good volleyball player. I know how hard we worked to get to this point, and how much blood, sweat, and tears it takes to do that. For them (UCI) to do that, for them to stay with it and do it again this year is a tribute to how hard they work. They're a deep team. They can summon guys three-deep from the bench we've never seen before, and suddenly there's a 6-9 outside who's out there hammering balls. How deep they were was a part of how successful they've been."
"We didn't pass as well as we wanted to, so our offense became predictable. They got in good spots. I was surprised that they blocked 17 balls. That's unreal."
BYU OH Taylor Sander
(on UCI's blocking) "They're big guys, like Chris said, and they made some big moves."
(on what he's feeling after the loss) "I'm disappointed. It's so hard to get this far into the season and not come out with the win. Anyone would be. But I wouldn't trade any of these guys on the team for any of those guys. We've had such a great season. I'm so proud of my guys, my team, and my program. They just showed up tonight, and we were caught off guard. Hats off to them; they played a wonderful match."