Hambly, Stadick talk with Illini Drive

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Editor’s note: The following is a partial transcript from an Illini Drive interview with Illinois volleyball head coach Kevin Hambly and freshman Katie Stadick

Illini Drive: Illinois volleyball is coming off a big week I should say, not a weekend, but a three-game winning streak you guys are on, and four of the last five.

Kevin Hambly: Four of the last five and more importantly we’re at .500. Ranked. We’re 12-12 and we’re ranked, that’s crazy. The schedule’s tough. I was actually looking up some RPI stuff just versus the top 25; they have that in there. We have 17 matches against the top 25, we’re 7-10. The next closest of the matches played versus the top 25 is nine. So yeah, I did that. I like the way we’re playing right now, I like the way we’re competing. I think we’re where we should be at this time of year where our offense is really coming in. We’re getting in a good rhythm. We’re passing the way we want to pass. We’re defending the way we want to defend. It’s paying off; we’re starting to play the way we want to. More importantly the attitude is where we want it to be. We’re feeling good, we’re confident, but we’re asserting our will on opponents.

ID: Katie, how do you feel right now about this team and about where you guys are?

Katie Stadick: I agree with Coach. I also just think we’re coming together as a team. You can feel it from the bench to the court and we’re just playing well and playing as a team together.

ID: What’s been the biggest adjustment that you’ve had to make this freshman year?

KS: Just balancing schoolwork and volleyball and everything and learning to manage it all.

ID: Coach, what have you thought of Katie’s play so far?

KH: She’s had some spot duty here and there, and she’s started a couple matches. She comes off the bench and always brings a ton of energy. Offensively, when I think about what she’s going to be, she’s going to be outstanding. She’s one of the few middles that I’ve coached that will be able to block the middle at a high level, can hit in front of the setter and behind. Anna Dorn right now can hit in front but she’s not very good behind and Maddie (Mayers) can’t hit in front at all, she’s all behind. (Stadick) has the ability to do both. I think she’s going to have a great career for us. The thing that has nothing to do with her technique or her skill is that she’s really competitive, really tough and brings a lot of energy to the floor. When things kind of dwindle a little bit we throw her out there and she brings the fire and puts a couple of balls away. She’s done a nice job of turning some matches and some sets around for us.”

ID: When you were down 2-0 against Michigan, what was the team like and what was going through your heads there?

KS: We just didn’t come out very strong at all. It just didn’t feel like we were clicking or anything was working but when we came out that third set we wanted to protect our home, so we wanted to come out and fight for it.

ID: Coach, did you see anything different from your team in those last three sets?

KH: I saw, like I said, the will, a will to win. That’s mostly what we talked about, just play with a will and do your job. That (Michigan) is separating themselves because they’re outworking us, they’re out-competing us and they’re just willing things to happen. We were just being passive and letting things happen. That’s something we’ve been trying to get through their heads that they have to play this way and we came out and it changed. The best part about it was that it continued three days later, on a Saturday, when we played Michigan State, which was really important for us.

Illini Drive can be reached at [email protected] and @IlliniDrive.