bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the two matches last week against Hawai'i and San Jose State?
Mike Jordan: Hawai'i is a great team obviously and you have to play consistently well in order to have a chance at beating them and I thought we put up a good effort, we competed well. We were probably just too error prone in game five and made a lot of what I would deem uncharacteristic mistakes that gave them a lot of points. I think we had our chances to win the second set and the third set. Those games were close for long stretches until later in the set and Hawai'i just executed a little bit better. I like the way we competed. There's really no moral victories at this point. It's about winning and we didn't do that. We're a little frustrated but we can take away some positives from it.
As far as San Jose, they didn't pass all that well, we did and we were able to stay in system quite a bit. We're a more physical team in most spots and they really couldn't stop us when we were handling the ball well. I was a little bit worried about an emotional letdown and San Jose State's got enough weapons to beat you so I was a little nervous about it. I was pretty happy with the way we played in general.
bc.net: Stephanie Ziegler has been playing well and continued that with a big night against Hawai'i and showed a lot more pop than we've seen from her in the past.
MJ: She's improving her range as an attacker. She's making better decisions as an attacker, she's harder to figure out and because of that her kill percentage is going up and at the same time, she's lowering her errors. So her numbers have been really good the last two or three weeks and hopefully she can continue that. I'm very impressed with what she's done the last couple of weeks, playing the best volleyball of her career so far.
bc.net: How much has that helped take the load off of Meredith?
MJ: I think it's helped some but where I think it's really helped is taking the load off of our middles and Kelsey Brennan. I think Stephanie has become a little bit more of a go-to attacker in certain situations and because of that, teams are having a more difficult time figuring us out.
bc.net: On Saturday you take on Louisiana Tech, you beat them in three in Las Cruces but they gave you a pretty good game in the first two sets of that match.
MJ: They're struggling a little bit but we have typically struggled a little bit there. We're going to have to play well, we can't afford a letdown at this point. We'll prepare the same way we prepare for everybody else. I think LA Tech can do some things that give us problems and road matches are important, you've got to win on the road if you want to win a title.
bc.net: You talked about being a little worried about an emotional letdown against San Jose State after the match with Hawai'i but your team was able to come out focused against the Spartans. Are you seeing a different mindset this year from your team versus last year?
MJ: I think this team has a more competitive side to it than last year's team. I think we've got better chemistry. This team enjoys playing together a lot and they play hard for each other. I've been pretty happy with what I've seen from that respect.
bc.net: This is about the midway point of the conference season. What are your overall thoughts on the first half of conference play, things that you liked, things that you know the team will need to improve before you get to the conference tournament?
MJ: I think we've really decreased the errors attacking for one, we've improved our serving. I think both of those things are a work in progress but we've definitely made strides in those areas and if I've got a complaint right now, I think we've got to get better on the defensive side. We've got to dig more balls and work a little harder defensively and improve our quality of dig and if we do that, we're going to take better swings and score more points in bunches. If we can do that, I think we're going to be a tough team to beat.
As far as the second half goes, we've got way more road matches than we do home and that's a concern. Going on the road, back-to-back trips here that are pretty hard and we've got to go take care of business.