(Very late) Posting of Coach Shondell’s Presser from Monday 10/31/2022

DocRon

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Aug 15, 2001
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Summary of Coach Shondell's VB Press Conference 10/31/2022
I continue to be less than well so took awhile to get this done.

Interesting parts are his heart-to-threat talk with Colvin, the impetus on the turn-around after the first set in the IU match, comments on the remaining schedule, the thought process behind playing Meg Renner vs Grace Balensiefer, how he decides whether to use a challenge and he even suggested he might be open to playing some matches in Mackey Arena (which he has previously said he did not like to do.)

Dave’s Opening Statement:
  • We beat someone yesterday - it had been way too long
  • We played really, really well after a sluggish start against a pretty hot IU team that has played very well lately
  • They served us tough in the first set but we made some adjustments and played probably our best three sets of the season
  • Defensively we were really good holding IU to 0.057 hitting %
  • Meg Renner had her best match as a Boilermaker
  • Meg is a big piece of us becoming much better - not only blocking balls but serving the ball tough. The ball was coming out of her hands much better and she was making good decisions
  • It was nice to see the women play with smiles on their faces and enjoying what they were doing
  • Against Northwestern we had opportunities to win and were up 6-3 in the 5th set but could not do it
  • Northwestern is a Top 30 team and have an RPI of 28. They are the best Northwestern team I have seen in over a decade
  • We knew it wasn’t going to be easy
  • There were some good things that happened up there. Lourdes Myers played the last two sets and did the same things she has been doing in practice
  • And Eva Hudson & Raven Colvin played really well in both matches
  • And I believe Maddie Schermerhorn is back to full strength. When you have an injury like hers it is not easy to bounce back physically or emotionally. But she is back
  • Despite just going 1-1 this last week there were some positive things that happened and I believe we are getting better
  • And a shout out to our fans who have come out and supported us in every match. The gym has been louder than in all the seasons I have been here
  • We probably had half the crowd at Northwestern. We hope our fans show up on the road with our two matches in Michigan
Q: When you lose that many games in a row do you worry about the player’s confidence?
A: I think it is more just trying to hold the team together
  • When you lose it provides an opportunity for everyone, coaches included, to begin to feel sorry for themselves
  • The head coach has to look for those things and get ahead of the curve - talk about things they need to do, meet with to your seniors, talk to players who are not playing as much and help them understand why and what they need to do
  • You don’t want to have self-inflicted wounds because this league is tough enough as it is
  • We recruit really high-character people but that doesn’t mean there are not going to be days that they are not feeling good about themselves
  • We have good leadership. Maddie Schermerhorn has been really good and she gave me a call Saturday night. We talked about a half hour about some things she felt she needed help with
  • A win can solve a lot of those problems but it is still a long, long season. The coaches need to keep on their toes to head off those issues
Q: When you were 11-1 you said no one expected you to be in that situation. Now that you are 16-6 is that more where you were expected to be?
A: I don’t know what people think. It is impossible to know
  • What I want is for this team to make the tournament. If we get in the tournament we will be hard to beat
  • We will not be a team that anyone wants to see walk into their gym
  • We still have a chance to host here
  • We have 8 matches left. Obviously going to Nebraska will be tough and we have Ohio State here. They are in the Top 6 this week.
  • Outside of that it is a crapshoot
  • We play Michigan and Penn State twice. They are in the same position that we are
  • But we are going to be in every match. We want to first win enough to get in the tournament and then win enough to host the first round at Holloway
Q: Are you putting an emphasis on your MSU match where they have been struggling and it would make their season if they beat you?
A: Well they did that last year when they came in here and beat us, possible preventing us from hosting a regional. It was the only blemish on our record
  • We will prepare like we do every week. After we play the MSU game we will have a day, thank goodness, to prepare for Michigan
  • Michigan is loaded - a really talented team. Offensively they have great athletes. They are a very impressive team to watch
  • They are a little bit like Purdue in terms of their working thru some fresh setters that haven’t played a ton, they have some ball control issues
  • They run a two-setter offense so they don’t have a lot of subs to play - defensive specialists - so they count a lot on their left sides and back sides to pass etc
  • We always have great matches with Michigan and I am sure it will be another one on Sunday
Q: How much has Raven Colvin being on the Junior National Team helped her? She didn’t play a whole lot but she was around that.
A: I don’t know how big of a deal that was to be honest.
  • It should be a confidence builder. But there were 3 middles and she happened to be the third so she didn’t play much
  • I think what it did was motivate her - being the odd-woman out
  • She wasn’t with them long enough to be trained at a different level than what she is here
  • She was really good this weekend - probably the best she has been in a long time
  • We had a conversation after last weekend (after the Nebraska/Minnesota games). We want our setter and hitters to have a lot of communication and we don’t want it to just be one way. Like the hitters saying “I want to ball higher or over here etc.”
  • Of your an athlete like Raven, one of the best we’ve ever had here, you just go out and get the ball
  • Our setters are expected to put the ball in a window, not just on a tee like when you were playing tee-ball
  • You don’t want to put pressure on the setters to put it in a perfect spot
  • I think she listened to that. It was a positive conversation. She is the best athlete we have on the team
  • Another thing was we watched when we played IU before and they were release-blocking away from our middles
  • We said “This is how much respect they have for you, Raven. So what are you going to do this Sunday to earn some respect from them?”
Q: What was the impetus for the turn-around after you lost the first set in the IU game?
A: (Smiles) We have been working really hard. This is a group that doesn’t like to lose.
  • I was surprised that we were as bad as we were in the first set (losing 18-25). But give IU credit - they served the ball really well and took us out of system - that’s what they do
  • I thought we would be more prepared to play. But what happens sometimes is that when you hear how good a serving team is and how important passing is, that gets in your head and it takes awhile to work through that
  • We didn’t give our offensive players a chance to do anything in that first set. But in the 2nd set we realized and started to pass the ball
  • Our defense in the 1st set was good and we were doing what we wanted to do but our passing was not
  • Basically our players just needed to stay calm. One thing I have learned is that taking them around the corner and giving them a “rip sandwich” is not going to accomplish anything.
  • If you stay calm and show your players you believe in them than your players will stay calm
  • We take pride in being a player-led team and in that situation they took control and just relaxed
  • And as I said, Meg Renner had the best sets of her career. She played with great confidence and poise and that made a big difference
  • This was a confidence builder for them. Every single Big Ten match is a season unto itself
  • For every game we create a plan. It doesn’t have to be great - we just have to believe in it and follow it
Q: How much of your decision to play Meg Renner vs Grace Balensiefer is related to practice, film, opponents or a game-time decision?
A: That’s a good question. We’ve tried to not go full-time with two setters because it puts us in a “substitution jam.” When you’re going with two setters that’s eating up maybe 6 subs of the 15 you are allowed.
  • So then I can’t play a Lourdes Myers or anybody else you might want to get in
  • The decision to go with Meg full-time (in the IU game) was that I thought she was playing at a higher level and I liked the look on her face - the poise and confidence that she was playing with
  • As a matter of fact, in the 1st set we decided to start Meg in the middle of the back row to save a sub (where normally we would start Grace and then take her out after two rotations. But when it came time for Grace to to in she didn’t realize and Meg just continued across the back row
  • It gave Meg a chance to get warmed up and play all six rotations
  • Meg is playing the best right now. The liability that Grace has is that she is not big and physical enough at the net so she is a blocking liability at times
Q: It has been awhile since a road win. Do those games present any additional challenges besides the travel and the unfriendly crowd?
A: No, you named the challenges right there. Most of our players have been in the league a long time
  • You try to embrace the opportunity. For the first time (at MSU) we are going to play in Breslin - we never played there before
  • You can look at that as “Wow, we’ve never played there before” or “Great, we get to play in this beautiful space where we see basketball teams play.” We can get excited and look forward to it
  • At Michigan we will play in their old arena which holds about 1800 but they also play in Crisler Center which holds probably 15,000.
  • A lot of schools are going to bigger venues which I think opens up questions when we are selling out all our games and people are calmoring for tickets. Is there a plan to put in place where we can get more people in Holloway or at least some matches played - possibly in Mackey so more of our fans can watch this team play?
Q: Can you talk about the progress that Maddy Chinn has made since her injury earlier this year?
A: I meant to mention her in my comments and passed over that. She was a huge difference-maker for this team and Maddy has quietly done her job for 4 years here
  • I am really proud of how she has responded to whatever situation she has been in
  • But I think she got a little tired of it (her injury?) and decided it "was time"
  • She had an ankle injury. It took longer than what she had hoped to bounce back from that - to get her jump back up
  • She doesn’t jump like Raven Colvin but she is a good athlete. An ankle injury can really affect an athlete like Maddy’s ability to play well
  • In the last 2 weeks she has been getting off the floor really well
  • At Northwestern it was her time and she played really, really well
  • Even though Emma Ellis has been great against IU every time we played them, I kind of felt we wanted to start like we did at Northwestern which was a mistake as we got hammered in the first set. But it wasn’t because of Chinn
  • We moved Chinn from the left to the right side and put in Emma on the left. And that group rolled pretty well
  • Maddy blocked 7 balls and she hit nearly 0.450. It was one of the best matches of her career
  • But she has had good matches - one against Kentucky when we went down and beat them
Q: Year 20 for you - every team is different. What would you say this team’s personality is?
A: That they are constantly learning. They realize they are not there yet and watch the teams in this league that are ominous. But they don’t back down from anybody
  • We’ve played some of our very best volleyball against some of the best teams in this league - Wisconsin, Minnesota and even Nebraska
  • I think they have learned a lot from the players that have been here before and they are always in the gym
  • Collectively this team is probably in the gym more when we are not with them than any other team I’ve had
  • It’s a tightly knit group
Q: You won all but one of your challenges in the IU game. When you challenge a call, how much of a democracy is that on your bench?
A: Well it is not a democracy on my bench. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to my coaches because I am closer to the court and have a better view than them. (And I think my eyes are better than theirs - smiles)
  • It is figuring out how much to believe from your players. Some players even if they know they touched the net or the other teams player did not touch the ball or whatever, they want to make you believe that they were not in error. And that cannot happen
  • But there are other players that you have a lot of confidence in. Whatever they say you believe them
  • Part of it is timing. If you don’t need the point critically because you are up 19-14 or whatever, you may not challenge it
  • If the other team has some momentum and you need to slow that down, you may challenge even on a borderline call
  • We were fortunate yesterday
  • A lot of the challenges are determined by who is looking at the video. There are some officials that if it is not smack in your face, they are not going to call it. Others look really hard and try to make the correct call
  • When I challenged the last one (in IU’s 4th set) we would get another one if it went to 5 sets. You can’t take them home and store them up
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Last edited:

cautiouslyoptimistic

Redshirt Freshman
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Feb 11, 2010
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Lafayette, IN
Summary of Coach Shondell's VB Press Conference 10/31/2022
I continue to be less than well so took awhile to get this done.

Interesting parts are his heart-to-threat talk with Colvin, the impetus on the turn-around after the first set in the IU match, comments on the remaining schedule, the thought process behind playing Meg Renner vs Grace Balensiefer, how he decides whether to use a challenge and he even suggested he might be open to playing some matches in Mackey Arena (which he has previously said he did not like to do.)

Dave’s Opening Statement:
  • We beat someone yesterday - it had been way too long
  • We played really, really well after a sluggish start against a pretty hot IU team that has played very well lately
  • They served us tough in the first set but we made some adjustments and played probably our best three sets of the season
  • Defensively we were really good holding IU to 0.057 hitting %
  • Meg Renner had her best match as a Boilermaker
  • Meg is a big piece of us becoming much better - not only blocking balls but serving the ball tough. The ball was coming out of her hands much better and she was making good decisions
  • It was nice to see the women play with smiles on their faces and enjoying what they were doing
  • Against Northwestern we had opportunities to win and were up 6-3 in the 5th set but could not do it
  • Northwestern is a Top 30 team and have an RPI of 28. They are the best Northwestern team I have seen in over a decade
  • We knew it wasn’t going to be easy
  • There were some good things that happened up there. Lourdes Myers played the last two sets and did the same things she has been doing in practice
  • And Eva Hudson & Raven Colvin played really well in both matches
  • And I believe Maddie Schermerhorn is back to full strength. When you have an injury like hers it is not easy to bounce back physically or emotionally. But she is back
  • Despite just going 1-1 this last week there were some positive things that happened and I believe we are getting better
  • And a shout out to our fans who have come out and supported us in every match. The gym has been louder than in all the seasons I have been here
  • We probably had half the crowd at Northwestern. We hope our fans show up on the road with our two matches in Michigan
Q: When you lose that many games in a row do you worry about the player’s confidence?
A: I think it is more just trying to hold the team together
  • When you lose it provides an opportunity for everyone, coaches included, to begin to feel sorry for themselves
  • The head coach has to look for those things and get ahead of the curve - talk about things they need to do, meet with to your seniors, talk to players who are not playing as much and help them understand why and what they need to do
  • You don’t want to have self-inflicted wounds because this league is tough enough as it is
  • We recruit really high-character people but that doesn’t mean there are not going to be days that they are not feeling good about themselves
  • We have good leadership. Maddie Schermerhorn has been really good and she gave me a call Saturday night. We talked about a half hour about some things she felt she needed help with
  • A win can solve a lot of those problems but it is still a long, long season. The coaches need to keep on their toes to head off those issues
Q: When you were 11-1 you said no one expected you to be in that situation. Now that you are 16-6 is that more where you were expected to be?
A: I don’t know what people think. It is impossible to know
  • What I want is for this team to make the tournament. If we get in the tournament we will be hard to beat
  • We will not be a team that anyone wants to see walk into their gym
  • We still have a chance to host here
  • We have 8 matches left. Obviously going to Nebraska will be tough and we have Ohio State here. They are in the Top 6 this week.
  • Outside of that it is a crapshoot
  • We play Michigan and Penn State twice. They are in the same position that we are
  • But we are going to be in every match. We want to first win enough to get in the tournament and then win enough to host the first round at Holloway
Q: Are you putting an emphasis on your MSU match where they have been struggling and it would make their season if they beat you?
A: Well they did that last year when they came in here and beat us, possible preventing us from hosting a regional. It was the only blemish on our record
  • We will prepare like we do every week. After we play the MSU game we will have a day, thank goodness, to prepare for Michigan
  • Michigan is loaded - a really talented team. Offensively they have great athletes. They are a very impressive team to watch
  • They are a little bit like Purdue in terms of their working thru some fresh setters that haven’t played a ton, they have some ball control issues
  • They run a two-setter offense so they don’t have a lot of subs to play - defensive specialists - so they count a lot on their left sides and back sides to pass etc
  • We always have great matches with Michigan and I am sure it will be another one on Sunday
Q: How much has Raven Colvin being on the Junior National Team helped her? She didn’t play a whole lot but she was around that.
A: I don’t know how big of a deal that was to be honest.
  • It should be a confidence builder. But there were 3 middles and she happened to be the third so she didn’t play much
  • I think what it did was motivate her - being the odd-woman out
  • She wasn’t with them long enough to be trained at a different level than what she is here
  • She was really good this weekend - probably the best she has been in a long time
  • We had a conversation after last weekend (after the Nebraska/Minnesota games). We want our setter and hitters to have a lot of communication and we don’t want it to just be one way. Like the hitters saying “I want to ball higher or over here etc.”
  • Of your an athlete like Raven, one of the best we’ve ever had here, you just go out and get the ball
  • Our setters are expected to put the ball in a window, not just on a tee like when you were playing tee-ball
  • You don’t want to put pressure on the setters to put it in a perfect spot
  • I think she listened to that. It was a positive conversation. She is the best athlete we have on the team
  • Another thing was we watched when we played IU before and they were release-blocking away from our middles
  • We said “This is how much respect they have for you, Raven. So what are you going to do this Sunday to earn some respect from them?”
Q: What was the impetus for the turn-around after you lost the first set in the IU game?
A: (Smiles) We have been working really hard. This is a group that doesn’t like to lose.
  • I was surprised that we were as bad as we were in the first set (losing 18-25). But give IU credit - they served the ball really well and took us out of system - that’s what they do
  • I thought we would be more prepared to play. But what happens sometimes is that when you hear how good a serving team is and how important passing is, that gets in your head and it takes awhile to work through that
  • We didn’t give our offensive players a chance to do anything in that first set. But in the 2nd set we realized and started to pass the ball
  • Our defense in the 1st set was good and we were doing what we wanted to do but our passing was not
  • Basically our players just needed to stay calm. One thing I have learned is that taking them around the corner and giving them a “rip sandwich” is not going to accomplish anything.
  • If you stay calm and show your players you believe in them than your players will stay calm
  • We take pride in being a player-led team and in that situation they took control and just relaxed
  • And as I said, Meg Renner had the best sets of her career. She played with great confidence and poise and that made a big difference
  • This was a confidence builder for them. Every single Big Ten match is a season unto itself
  • For every game we create a plan. It doesn’t have to be great - we just have to believe in it and follow it
Q: How much of your decision to play Meg Renner vs Grace Balensiefer is related to practice, film, opponents or a game-time decision?
A: That’s a good question. We’ve tried to not go full-time with two setters because it puts us in a “substitution jam.” When you’re going with two setters that’s eating up maybe 6 subs of the 15 you are allowed.
  • So then I can’t play a Lourdes Myers or anybody else you might want to get in
  • The decision to go with Meg full-time (in the IU game) was that I thought she was playing at a higher level and I liked the look on her face - the poise and confidence that she was playing with
  • As a matter of fact, in the 1st set we decided to start Meg in the middle of the back row to save a sub (where normally we would start Grace and then take her out after two rotations. But when it came time for Grace to to in she didn’t realize and Meg just continued across the back row
  • It gave Meg a chance to get warmed up and play all six rotations
  • Meg is playing the best right now. The liability that Grace has is that she is not big and physical enough at the net so she is a blocking liability at times
Q: It has been awhile since a road win. Do those games present any additional challenges besides the travel and the unfriendly crowd?
A: No, you named the challenges right there. Most of our players have been in the league a long time
  • You try to embrace the opportunity. For the first time (at MSU) we are going to play in Breslin - we never played there before
  • You can look at that as “Wow, we’ve never played there before” or “Great, we get to play in this beautiful space where we see basketball teams play.” We can get excited and look forward to it
  • At Michigan we will play in their old arena which holds about 1800 but they also play in Crisler Center which holds probably 15,000.
  • A lot of schools are going to bigger venues which I think opens up questions when we are selling out all our games and people are calmoring for tickets. Is there a plan to put in place where we can get more people in Holloway or at least some matches played - possibly in Mackey so more of our fans can watch this team play?
Q: Can you talk about the progress that Maddy Chinn has made since her injury earlier this year?
A: I meant to mention her in my comments and passed over that. She was a huge difference-maker for this team and Maddy has quietly done her job for 4 years here
  • I am really proud of how she has responded to whatever situation she has been in
  • But I think she got a little tired of it (her injury?) and decided it "was time"
  • She had an ankle injury. It took longer than what she had hoped to bounce back from that - to get her jump back up
  • She doesn’t jump like Raven Colvin but she is a good athlete. An ankle injury can really affect an athlete like Maddy’s ability to play well
  • In the last 2 weeks she has been getting off the floor really well
  • At Northwestern it was her time and she played really, really well
  • Even though Emma Ellis has been great against IU every time we played them, I kind of felt we wanted to start like we did at Northwestern which was a mistake as we got hammered in the first set. But it wasn’t because of Chinn
  • We moved Chinn from the left to the right side and put in Emma on the left. And that group rolled pretty well
  • Maddy blocked 7 balls and she hit nearly 0.450. It was one of the best matches of her career
  • But she has had good matches - one against Kentucky when we went down and beat them
Q: Year 20 for you - every team is different. What would you say this team’s personality is?
A: That they are constantly learning. They realize they are not there yet and watch the teams in this league that are ominous. But they don’t back down from anybody
  • We’ve played some of our very best volleyball against some of the best teams in this league - Wisconsin, Minnesota and even Nebraska
  • I think they have learned a lot from the players that have been here before and they are always in the gym
  • Collectively this team is probably in the gym more when we are not with them than any other team I’ve had
  • It’s a tightly knit group
Q: You won all but one of your challenges in the IU game. When you challenge a call, how much of a democracy is that on your bench?
A: Well it is not a democracy on my bench. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to my coaches because I am closer to the court and have a better view than them. (And I think my eyes are better than theirs - smiles)
  • It is figuring out how much to believe from your players. Some players even if they know they touched the net or the other teams player did not touch the ball or whatever, they want to make you believe that they were not in error. And that cannot happen
  • But there are other players that you have a lot of confidence in. Whatever they say you believe them
  • Part of it is timing. If you don’t need the point critically because you are up 19-14 or whatever, you may not challenge it
  • If the other team has some momentum and you need to slow that down, you may challenge even on a borderline call
  • We were fortunate yesterday
  • A lot of the challenges are determined by who is looking at the video. There are some officials that if it is not smack in your face, they are not going to call it. Others look really hard and try to make the correct call
  • When I challenged the last one (in IU’s 4th set) we would get another one if it went to 5 sets. You can’t take them home and store them up
______________________
Hope you are feeling better after the Boilers good wins against IU and MSU. I miss your excellent analysis and balanced feedback in your postings, since I have moved over to the ON3 site. I think you would enjoy the volleyball threads on the new site even though Alan does not have a specific thread for volleyball. My Rivals subscription will last through February 2023, so I can continue to wander over to the Far Side to be able to read your postings.

BOILER UP!!!
Go Boilers!
Hammer Down!
 

DocRon

All-American
Gold Member
Aug 15, 2001
7,860
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Sheridan , Michigan
You are right. I did enjoy reading that thread. But… I had to do a search to find it.

My subscription here runs through June. I will wait and see what I do then. I still really like the structure here, rather than trying to find anything on their Knucklehead Board. And i bet that gets worse during WBB season in which in the past most premium board members have next to no interest.
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