Nov. 30, 2005
Coach Barry Goldberg talks about the upcoming match with Duke, which takes place Friday at 5 p.m. (CST) and 6 p.m. (EST) in Lincoln, Neb. These quotes are an excerpt from the teleconference put on by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln sports information department.
Barry Goldberg: "We are excited for the competition and it will be a great challenge for our program to play Duke and get a shot at playing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Lincoln."
On the top American athletes and who the crowd should look out for:
BG: "I think as soon as we show up, the crowd will notice one player. We had a girl break her nose about a month-and-a-half ago. She broke her nose when our defensive specialist kicked her in the nose in one of our matches. Her name is (sophomore libero) Logan Striebel. Our top player is Cutrina Biddulph from Reseda, California. She's been playing for us and starting for four years. She's a middle player, about 6-foot-4. She jumps pretty well, I think she touches about 10-foot-six-inches. She came in pretty raw out of high school and has developed a lot here. We've used her in the back row a little bit to try to open up our offense, and we may use her in the back row a little bit in the tournament, we'll see if we get the opportunity."
On what you are anticipating about playing in the Coliseum:
BG: "I don't think it's like anything we've experienced this season, or in the last three or four seasons. Last year we played Penn State and there were maybe a couple of thousand, but it was in a bigger hall where the capacity was around 8,000. I'm from Pittsburgh, so I've been to Penn State many times. Personally, I've been to Nebraska when I was at Pitt in 1985, and Terry Pettit was the head coach. We came out to Nebraska and played them in the first round of the NCAA Tournament then. So I'm familiar with the area. It wasn't quite the same scenario which I assume it will be this week with a jammed crowd. Nebraska was up there in the top, but I don't think they were No. 1 at the time. It's going to be a fun environment, I know. You're used to it, but it's going to be fun for our players. The fortunate thing for us is that it will be new for Duke also, because they don't really play in front of those types of numbers. And we're both traveling, and it's not easy to travel during this time, because you're wearing down towards the end of the season here, and it's been three months of the season. But Duke is going through the same thing, so there are no real advantages or disadvantages in our match. Certainly if we're fortunate enough to make it through the match and get to play Nebraska in the next round, there will be a major advantage for Nebraska there, not only because of their size and play level, but that they are just used to the environment. But that's who they are, and that's what we're getting into, and we're excited for that kind of challenge."
On how American will prepare for the possibility of playing for Nebraska:
BG: "We're doing all the things we normally do to prepare for a match. I don't think we're doing anything that different. We're going through the scouting report, we're watching the films and looking at the tendencies of Duke, and we're trying to get some of their weaknesses and see if we can't be successful in going after some of their weaknesses. I'm sure they're doing the same thing as well. I can't really think of anything that's that different. Our practice regiment has been the same. We'll taper down this week. We go hard usually Mondays and Tuesdays and start to taper down as we get into Wednesday and Thursday so that we're fresh for the Friday match. I'm sure we'll be excited, so I can't see us being that tired for this match. We're just doing all the normal things that we routinely do with all of our matches throughout the season. I think the scouting report might be a little bit more elaborate in this case, because our conference matches, we know the players very well. By the time you play them the second-go-round, you have a good idea of what you're getting yourself into. Here, we're playing a team we haven't played this year so we'll try to get a little bit more in depth on the character of each person, what their tendencies are and things like that. The big challenge for us in the match against Duke is going to be at the net. This team blocks very well, I think they are one of the better blocking teams in the ACC. Our hitting percentage has been higher, but it's difficult to tell on that statistic simply because we're playing a different caliber team in our conference. So even if we're hitting .270, and they're hitting .220 or .230, the real logic is going to depend upon the defense we can play to force them into hitting .200 or less, and if we're able to step up our game and hit the ball that effectively against what we think will probably be a little stronger block and a better defense."