bleedCrimson.net will be conducting weekly interviews with Aggie head volleyball coach Mike Jordan during the 2008 season. This week we talked about the matches against Fresno State and Nevada, the road trip to Moscow to face a good Idaho team and the big showdown with Hawai'i in the Pan Am.
bleedCrimson.net: Talk a little bit about the Fresno State match.
Mike Jordan: Well, we're definitely more athletic than they and the homr court advantage and the fact that we played a really tough schedule I think we're just a little bit more ahead of the game than they are. They relaxed and played a little bit better as the match went on which was good. We finally got a little bit of competition against them in game three. We attacked the ball real well on the right which is great. Both our rights did a good job. That was nice for us to see, we needed that confidence builder.
bc.net: You also got a big night from Lindsey and Krista as well.
MJ: Yeah, they're both capable of putting up big number and they do a good job for us. They took advantage of some mismatches and really did a good job.
bc.net: Talk a little bit about the Nevada match.
MJ: Nevada is a little bit more athletic than Fresno I think. But they're a little bit smaller on the left than we are obviously. Again the rights didn't put up big numbers but we were able to keep them off balance. We had really good balance offensively and they really had a difficult time trying to block us and stop us. And we passed the ball exceptionally well. I think we're the best passing team in the league. Nevada competed hard but we've just got a little bit more confidence than they do.
bc.net: In both matches you held both teams' top two attackers well below average. Talk a little bit about that.
MJ: Well that's something we take a lot of pride in. That's something we've been able to do most of the year. Even against Texas, their outside hitters hit well below what they normall hit. Texas and Stanford hit below their season averages. We think we're a pretty good defensive team especially when we're playing hard, digging balls. We do a good job blocking, it's probably one of our better blocking teams.
bc.net: In the last four matches you've had 10, 13, 9 and 12 blocks. Has there been anything that you've been able to teach the kids from playing the great blocking teams that you have in Texas, Stanford, Illinois and Oregon?
MJ: We haven't learned anything about blocking from Texas or those guys. The fact that we've blocked as well as we have is the fact that we've got athletic kids and they're working hard at it. They're making more assignments as the season goes on and once you do that you do a good job at the service line and you've got a good chance of blocking a lot of balls.
bc.net: Up next you've got Idaho on the road. They look to be a lot more improved. They went on the road and took the first set from Hawai'i and played them tough in the second set before tailing off in the third and fourth sets.
MJ: Yeah, they're a good team. They return most if not all of their starting lineup from a year ago. They're really tough to beat at home. Every time we go up there it's a tough match. I wouldn't expect this to be any different. Idaho right now is showing itself to be in the top three with us and Hawai'i. We expect a really good match. I think they're well coached and they do a lot of good things. Any time you've got a lot of seniors you've got a chance of winning.
bc.net: You've got Hawai'i coming in here on Saturday. Obviously Hawai'i is Hawai'i. Talk a little bit about them.
MJ: I think it's the best Hawai'i team we've seen since we joined the WAC. I think they're more versatile. Probably the best passing team they've had since we've been in the WAC. Kanani Herring is a great freshman and playing not like a freshman, well above her years. They're loaded with talent and they've got a lot of experienced players too. So it's obviously going to be a real tough match for us. But we're at home and we play well at home and we've got a lot of good athletes too. So we'll play hard and see what happens.
bc.net: Talk a little bit about defending Hawai'i, they've got five of the top ten attackers percentage-wise in the league.
MJ: Again, a lot of great athletes, and they're pretty balanced. They've sped things up a little bit offensively which has helped them. With that kind of talent you should see a lot of their players up statistically and they're doing a good job.
bc.net: What does your team need to do to get a pair of wins this week?
MJ: Well, we need to continue to side out better. We've been getting better as the season goes on and hopefully win the serve and pass wars.