On December 8 in the NCAA Elite Eight, Penn State lost to Stanford in four sets. On Friday, the exact same result happened when the two powerhouses met again.
No. 4 Penn State played No. 1 Stanford in Rec Hall in front of a packed crowd, and the Nittany Lions lost in the same fashion they did in 2018: winning the first set, and then succumbing to the opponent in the last three little by little.
Although having the ability to play one of the top teams in the country in a place of comfort is an opportunity that one could see the silver lining in, win or lose. Coach Russ Rose only sees the end result.
“It is about the results. It is not about the fight. If you do not get the results, the fight does not really seem to have the same impact,” Rose said.
Being in a program that is known for dominating and producing some of the best volleyball players in the world, Rose does not reason with a loss. Even though there are weeks of preparation leading up to important matches such as Stanford, but if it does not end in a win it does not matter.
Rose sees a coach’s job is to win matches, tournaments and titles. To get there, it takes something beyond skill and talent. The mindset of each player has to understand what it takes to become the best in the nation, and embody a winning mentality.
“So I got players that I am saying you should bust your tail to do it or go find something else to do. Do not waste my time or the school’s time and media. Maybe someone would look at it in a more positive light,” Rose said.
“My goal was just to go out there swinging and win the match because I know we have it in us to win the match like that. Unfortunately, it did not work out for us the way we wanted it to,” Hord added.
Building off its performance against Stanford, Penn State defeated No. 10 Oregon in straight sets Saturday night, and had the mentality of not letting this weekend progress from one loss to two. The focus was switched to the next opponent and the opportunity to learn from this new set of skills.
Rose has maintained the belief of no moral victories, and his team takes after their coach’s approach to matches against competition at the highest level.
“I have been doing this here for 41 years, and I want to win every match,” Rose said. “I do not look at it like, ‘Oh, we were so close,’ I look like it as, ‘If you are going to do something, either do it the best or you should not do it at all.”