Q: What’s your first impression?
McLaughlin: They’re a good team.
Q: Is it correct to say UW’s blocking was not so good tonight?
McLaughlin: It wasn’t effective in some areas where we’ve been good. We couldn’t stop their quick hitter. That had a little bit to do with their serving. We finally kicked it up in game three and served tougher, but our serving wasn’t good, so our blocking is tougher. Then when they were going outside we were hurrying and reaching and just opening up space instead of getting over the net. That was an issue that just put more pressure on us. In a tough match like this, those things are exposed. It was killing us.
Q: In the history of the UW-UCLA series, UCLA is now 35-5 when winning the first set and 7-14 when it loses. What is the importance of losing first match to you?
McLaughlin: It was big, but it just can’t be. Instead, it’s just got to drive us to the next game. It’s close and we don’t win it, but we had a letdown after that. Then we get going again in game three. We’ve got to mature and understand we’re in a battle. They’re playing well and we’ve got to push back at them. We didn’t do that in game two.
Q: What were the key factors that disappointed you?
McLaughlin: Serving, and we dug a lot of balls tight to the net that we just couldn’t get swings on, and UCLA dug balls off the net. I think that was the biggest factor.
Q: Why replace Jenna Orlandini with Kelly Holford at libero for the third set?
McLaughlin: Kelly’s been playing well in practice and she deserved a shot, and Jo wasn’t her normal self. I just made a change. All these kids can play.
Q: UW swept UCLA in Seattle. Why did things change here?
McLaughlin: They’re good, and we’re on their home floor. They’re just a good team.
Q: Is there a prevailing factor that has surfaced in UW’s losses to ranked teams?
McLaughlin: The ability to stay on task and stay focused on the things that tell us what to do. Just stay on task. Keep our heads in the game. If we can do that, we’ll be in better spots to put more pressure on them. Bottom line, we didn’t do it for a long enough period of time.
Q: Bianca Rowland had a good night, (14-0-21, .667).
McLaughlin: She came up to me in the last game [vs. Arizona] and said she wanted to be in there the whole time and wanted to start in the match. I love it when kids say that and do that, and she answered it.
She played well. That’s a good sign.
Q: Are you getting production you need from your young OHs?
McLaughlin: They’re learning how to play. They’re learning how to take better swings. Digging the ball and then converting the ball is the deal in a good, tight match like this. UCLA converted off our block better than we did [off theirs].
Q: Is it tough to stop a powerful hitter like UCLA’s Rachel Kidder?
McLaughlin: You can’t stop her. You just have to get in good spots, have discipline and slow her down. Take advantage of the opportunities that they do give us. We had some good swings. We just didn’t put it away. We’ve got to do that.