bleedCrimson.net will be conducting weekly interviews with Aggie head volleyball coach Mike Jordan during the 2008 season. This week we talked with Coach Jordan about last week's matches and their importance to keeping routine and the NCAA tournament draw against St. Mary's.
bleedCrimson.net: Talk about last week's two matches against VCU and New Mexico, playing after the WAC tournament for the first time, how has that helped with your routine and not having that long break?
Mike Jordan: I think it's been good for us. To sit longer than a week without playing a match would be probably detrimental to us. You need to have that competitive thing going on and so it's been pretty much status quo for us right now which is good. At the same time, after Friday night's match we were able to take the whole weekend off which was good, relax and rest up a little bit. I think playing those matches, obviously they were competitive and kept us in our routine so we got what we wanted out of it.
bc.net: Amber Simpson was named Player of the Week, talk a little bit about her play.
MJ: She played well, especially in the UNM match. She took 44 swings which is a lot for a middle. She was pretty tired. We had the problems trying to get to the match [Ed. Note: The Aggies arrived at the match just before the scheduled first serve time because of a wreck on I-25 and didn't get a chance to warm up] . Amber didn't get a chance to eat, she didn't want to eat right at 5:00 so she was pretty worn out by game four. I thought she played well, she competed hard. Her offensive number were obviously solid but she blocked well and served well which is what we want.
bc.net: You drew St. Mary's out of the West Coast Conference in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The West Coast Conference is sending five teams to the tournament, one of the best conferences in volleyball, the PAC-10 is sending six, so obviously the WCC is a solid conference. What can fans expect from St. Mary's?
MJ: They're a good team. They run a faster tempo to the antennas, they play hard. I think they're well coached and obviously to be successful in that conference they've got a good team. There's no doubt about that. We're gonna have to play well to win.
bc.net: St. Mary's played well to end the season, they essentially beat four ranked teams in their last eight matches and three of those were on the road but when the two teams take the court on Friday, they'll have had two weeks off.
MJ: I don't know how that will affect their team, everybody's different. They may have needed more time off. They played well in the second half of their conference, they played their way into the tournament, did a great job. They obviously showed they can win on the road too, that's great. That's what great teams do. I'm pretty impressed with the season they've had.
bc.net: St. Mary's as a team hits .255, their opponents are hitting .203. As a team you're hitting .219 and you're holding opponents to .129. What do you need to do defensively against them?
MJ: It comes down to serving tough. If we can get them out of system and kind of get them out of stuff they want to do with the quick stuff, then we're gonna be okay. We're a team that understands if we want to win we're going to need to play great D. Our offense can be fantastic at times but it can also be error prone at times. If we've got a consistent defensive effort, if we're working hard all the time, then we're a threat to win.
bc.net: Kelli Goodan has played well in the last five matches, talk about her importance and the importance of Whitney Woods on the right side?
MJ: They've been getting better all season. Neither one of them played club ball so they're really thousands of reps behind kids their age. So when you look at the players on our team, they have the most room for growth and in a lot of ways they should be making bigger strides than everyone else and they are. I'm happy with their progress and what they're doing. They're a big reason we're as successful as they are.