bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/19/17

bleedCrimson.net: Kind of a mixed weekend out in Tucson. What did you see over the course of the whole weekend from the team?
Mike Jordan: Illinois State with their sweep of Arizona and their sweep of us, they're a pretty good volleyball team. We knew that going in. They're a little bit streaky like a lot of teams early. They have the ability to play poorly but they've played a lot of good matches and they were really good this weekend. I was impressed. They have two great middles and they gave us fits. In addition to that, we were our own worst enemy in a lot of ways. It was a real failure to execute in the scouting report in trying to stop them and we didn't serve and pass as well as we normally do. I think you give Illinois State a lot of credit for some of that. I think they had a pretty good serving strategy and they hit some really tough serves. It sort of kept us off balance and we gave them too many easy balls back and they were able to get the ball to their middles. We were not in the right spots nearly often enough.

The Arizona match, I felt like going into it that our teams were pretty similar in styles of play. Physical, athletic, can take some real highlight reel swings. Obviously their bodies are a little longer, taller, athletic versions of ours but I felt like it was two similar volleyball teams in styles of play and that proved to be the case. It was back and forth. It was a fun match in a lot of ways. We were really on the verge of knocking off a PAC-12 team. When you go up 8-4 at the turn in the fifth set and you've got some seniors on the floor, there's an expectation that they'll close it out and unfortunately we didn't. We made a lot of really bad swings when we needed to step up and get kills. It's frustrating but it happens. Unfortunately it happened that night and what could have been a win against a quality opponent turned into a loss. I'm past the stage with this group of any kind of moral victories. This team's gotta start finding ways to win late and make plays late. We don't have a true go-to attacker in a sense, a superstar like Gwen Murphy from two years ago or a Desiree Scott, Kayleigh Giddens, Lindsey Yon, Trinia Cuseo, Stevi Adams, you name them, we don't have that kind of player but we've got a lot of good, solid players and some upperclassmen who I'm hoping will do their best to fill that role.

William & Mary, I thought we played really well in stretches. Our serve and pass game was pretty good. We were the more physical team and I think that showed. We were pretty efficient, especially in the first and third. We kept our unforced errors down and won our fair share of long rallies. I was happy with that. We were able to get a few younger players in the match. We're trying to get some people healthy and get them a little bit more experience. I think you'll see Bridgette Lowe play a little bit more and Megan Hart's doing better from that ankle injury. We've got a little more depth to use so that's great.

bc.net: In the first match against Illinois State you saw Brielle Sterns go down with an injury. What's her status?
MJ: It's just an ankle sprain. She has yet to practice, I don't know that she'll be available tonight. It was a tough loss for us losing her. She gives us a good offensive option and she's a very quick side-to-side lateral blocker. I really feel like had she been available versus Arizona that would have really helped us. Injuries happen, you've just got to work through it. We've got some depth and Sasha-Lee was able to play a little bit of middle for us and Megan Hart. She'll be okay and we'll get her back in pretty soon. I think it's likely she'll be available for Saturday.

bc.net: Talk a little bit about your young middle Lia Mosher. Would it be fair to compare her to maybe a young Kelsey Brennan type?
MJ: Well, they're different style attackers. Kelsey was a slide hitter, that's not Lia's strength yet. Kelsey wasn't a great middle blocker, I think Lia's strength right now as a player is her blocking ability. They're two different offensive type players and Lia's just scratching the surface. Kelsey came in a fairly polished player. She had a good idea of attack patterns and spacing. They're a lot different. But I think a similarity they have is that both are really competitive and they work hard. I think Lia with her 6-2 frame and really long arms, there's a lot of reason to be really optimistic about her.

bc.net: Tonight you take on UTEP, what do you know about them?
MJ: They've got three pretty good arms. They challenge low seams a lot. I think they're a fairly athletic team. We went five at their place last year. They might be a little bit better than they were last year. I think we are too. Rivalry matches, everybody gets excited for those, obviously the players do. I think they've got enough athleticism to compete and stay in the match. It's really going to be on our shoulders to execute and make plays when we need to make plays.

bc.net: On Saturday you open up conference play at UTRGV. They've got the preseason player of the year and current WAC Player of the Week in Bojana Mitrovic. How much has their team changed if any from last year?
MJ: They haven't changed a lot. I think they do a lot of the things they did last year. A lot of the names are the same. They're a good team. They've played a very challenging preseason schedule. They saw a lot of great teams. They're not going to be awed by anything we do. I'm sure it'll be a competitive environment. Their crowd is going to be loud and somewhat obnoxious probably and that's okay. It's going to be a tough road match for us but we're very capable of winning. I we can play clean, follow a game plan and keep the errors to a minimum, I like our chances.