May 5, 1999
Press Conference Notes - BYU
NOTE: 1st-team All-Americans Ryan Millar and Ossie Antonetti were not available for the press conference due to illness.
BYU Head Coach Carl McGown:
"In our league championship game against USC, Ryan Millar had intense intestinal distress. The doctor gave him a shot which made him drowsy, but he still played well. Now Ryan and Ossie (Antonetti) are both down with intestinal distress. In terms of overcoming the bug, Ryan's a little better, but no matter what, they both still have to play."
"I remember a few years back when the (Chicago) Bulls were playing the (Utah) Jazz in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and Michael Jordan came down with the flu. I told Ryan (before the USC match) that here's your chance to be Michael Jordan."
(Asked if the team had a contingency plan if Millar and Antonetti could not play): "We don't have a contingency plan. Play - that's our contingency plan."
"The most difficult thing in building a championship program is overcoming two hurdles. One is getting past Long Beach State. The second is our league has UCLA in it. We play UCLA two times every year. They've won 17 national championships, so clearly that's the most formidable hurdle."
(On Penn State): "Their offense is much more deceptive than ours, and that's going to cause a lot of problems for our defense."
(On comparing Ryan Millar to other BYU greats): "Ryan is competing against a group of nice players. In terms of his overall game, Ryan is the most complete player. He's a great quick hitter; he leads the nation in blocking, and he's the BYU record-holder in blocks per game. He's probably our best player ever, but we have a very young program."
"Both semifinal matches are going to be very, very difficult. I'm having a hard time picking a winner of the IPFW-Long Beach State match. I see a couple of five-game matches. It's going to be close."
Press Conference Notes - IPFW
IPFW Head Coach Arnie Ball:
"We're excited about being here. We haven't been here for a while. I have to tell you - the airplane ride was pretty exciting. It was like a roller coaster ride, and we had some guys get sick from the plane ride. We're excited about being in the sunshine, and it's been a wonderful year for us."
(On Hector Soto's sprained ankle): "It's one of the most severe ankle sprains I've ever seen in my 30 years of coaching. It's a day-by-day thing. I think he's about 80% right now."
"We've been fortunate enough to recruit kids who can play the game. We're a large team, tremendously athletic. Our setter Chris Gisslen is a very good server. We have a very athletic team right now."
(On Long Beach State): "We played Long Beach State two years ago. We know a great deal about at least four players on that team. But the difficulty is that we have not played them or seen them in person this year. They're a very balanced team, and that makes it hard."
"The prime reason we coach is to win a national championship. Period."
IPFW's Hector Soto:
(On his sprained ankle): "My ankle is just fine; it's getting better. As for playing, I won't know until tomorrow. We'll have to see how it goes."
(Asked what the keys to victory are): "We just have to want it more. And that's all there is to it."
IPFW's Ryan Perrotte:
"Our reason for playing is to get a national championship. We're not here as tourists. We're here to play, to compete hard and to win a national championship."
(Asked what the keys to victory are): "The key is if we can play IPFW Volleyball - with aggressive service, being able to block, hitting and playing defense. We're going out to play our game and execute, and hopefully things will go well for us."
Press Conference Notes - Long Beach State
Long Beach State Head Coach Ray Ratelle:
"It's great to be back. It's been eight years since we've been here. I've really felt that we've had some teams that were able to qualify, and we haven't been able to do it. We're extremely pleased to be here."
(On whether or not the strength is on the West Coast): "The five teams in the Midwest are all very very good teams. UCLA found that out last year when they had to beat Lewis (in the NCAA semifinals). They barely scraped out a win in that game. There are too many good volleyball players out there, and not many opportunities. The Midwest and the East field very very good teams."
"It's going to be very difficult because IPFW is a very good team. They're very athletic and big, and they're going to be a handful."
"The big thing is the size of their team. Across the board, they're the biggest team in the tournament. Generally, on big teams you'll have one or two guys who are not very athletic, but these guys are all athletic. We were not able to handle Hector Soto the last time we played them."
(On the school's support): "Long Beach State has been awfully good to volleyball. Part of that is due to the success of the women's volleyball program (which won the NCAA title in the fall). From the president of the school on down, they've been very supportive. The president and his wife traveled to BYU, and they'll be here tomorrow night for us. It's very enjoyable."
Long Beach State's Chris Seiffert:
(On playing 25 miles from home): "We played here (in Pauley Pavilion) earlier this season and won, and we are familiar with the environment. I guess that's an advantage."
Long Beach State's Matt Prosser:
(On playing 25 miles from home): "We haven't had to travel, which I guess is an advantage because we haven't had to deal with jet lag and traveling sickness."
"We get tremendous support from the community and from the school."
Press Conference Notes - Penn State
Penn State Head Coach Mark Pavlik:
"For us, it's nice to be back after missing Hawaii last year. It's been a year where we should shoot the guy who scheduled for us. We went 0-7 at the start of the season against some really good teams, but it may have served to inspire us through the rest of the season."
"We have a mix of widely-seasoned veterans and guys who are making their first trip out here (to the NCAA Championships). All year long, we've received good contributions from people when we needed it the most."
(On keeping the team's confidence level high after the early losses): "I think I've got good captains, and I push it over to them. I usually have one question for them - are we all right? And their answer is yeah, we're going to be fine. There are no real bells and whistles and gimmicks. It's more a credit to their leadership and this team."
(On BYU): "I saw a bit of tape on BYU, and it got to a point where I wish I hadn't seen any tape. Any team that Carl (McGown) coaches is not going to shoot themselves in the foot. We have to make sure we can run the offense and be less predictable.
"When we're insistent, our offense runs pretty well. Our blocking has developed nicely. Over the past two months, we've taken steps above what we've expected. I don't think they're dominating strengths, but they are strengths."
(On the tournament field): "I'm seeing a field that is battle tested. No teams are in uncharted waters. They can say in their huddle before the fifth game, 'We've been here before.'"
Penn State's Dan Schall:
"That taste we had of being in a past Final Four makes us want it more."
(On NCAA Championship experience): "It starts out at 0-0 whether you're here for the first time or for the third."
Penn State's Tony Mazzullo:
(On being at the Championships): "It's exciting every time. We have to make sure when the whistle blows, we're focused and ready to go."