LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Oregon Ducks volleyball team had their final press conference Friday afternoon before they take on the Texas Longhorns tomorrow night at 4 p.m. PST to see who will be crowned national champions.
Seated at the podium with head coach Jim Moore were three Oregon seniors who have gone on quite an athletic journey since they arrived in Eugene four years ago. Starting libero Haley Jacob, outside hitter Katherine Fischer and defensive specialist Kellie Kawasaki were the three players chosen to field questions from the media the day prior to the biggest match of their lives.
Alaina Bergsma, named the AVCA National Player of the Year earlier in the day, had lost her voice and was unavailable for comment.
Moore started the press conference by discussing how today was not a time to relax and revel in the accomplishments of his team.
“The one thing I keep emphasizing to myself, and to them, is we don’t get too reflect right now,” Moore said. “ It’s not time to look back; it’s not time to look anywhere. Everyone’s like, ‘really enjoy yourself.’ — No. We’re here to play. Practice today and play tomorrow night… There’s nothing other than the first play against Texas.”
As the conference wore on, the players were asked what the Longhorn team brought to the table and what challenges they would face in the national title match tomorrow.
“I’d say they have a lot specimen,” Jacob said. “They’re going to be able to do things that many teams we’ve faced cannot do. But they are human on the other side. They’re going to make the same mistakes or do the same things that other teams do so I guess it works on both sides.”
Jacob also discussed the need to improve tomorrow and how last night, even though they were victorious, Penn State did not get the best the Ducks had to offer.
“We weren’t at our best, and we really didn’t play that well,” Jacob continued. “We didn’t pass as good as we could. I thought we played well defensively, I thought we did pretty good there, there’s just little things we could do a lot better that hopefully we’ll do tomorrow.”
Also brought up during the conference was Bergsma’s big award, and Moore said while it was exciting for the Chandler, Ariz., native and a tremendous accomplishment, it truly was a team acknowledgment.
“The one thing that I can say, and I mean this seriously and I told all of them, without the three, and without my eleven others, Alaina doesn’t get that award,” Moore said. “Everybody has contributed to that.”
With the final question of the press conference, a reporter asked Moore if he believed his 2012 team was a team of destiny.
Moore looked at him and gave a half smile.
“First play against Texas,” Moore said simply. “And I mean that seriously … Right now it’s focus on the task at hand.”
However, if the Ducks are able to knock off Texas tomorrow evening and become national champions, Moore might have a different answer to that question.