bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/31/17

bleedCrimson.net: Last week you talked about wanting to see your team go on the road and play consistently well. You picked up a pair of sweeps but did you see the consistency that you were looking for?
Mike Jordan: I think in some aspects of the game we did. I thought we were pretty efficient offensively all weekend which was great. We passed the ball fairly well the majority of the time. Really the only issue that we had passing it was Carvajal's serve at Chicago State. She has a pretty tough jumper that gave us fits in just one stretch where they were able to go on a couple of point runs in the second set. I thought we did a pretty good job at the service line. There were a couple of people I would have liked to have served it a little tougher but we were pretty solid in those aspects.

We could have blocked it better in a couple areas and defensively we missed a couple of assignments against Chicago State in the first two sets but other than that it was a pretty good weekend and any time you can go on the road and come away with a couple of sweeps and nobody gets hurt, you've gotta be overjoyed. Especially when it gets you back into first place.

bc.net: It was a pretty low error weekend for you offensively, especially the Chicago State match. Are you starting to see your players have better recognition of the decisions they should be making offensively?
MJ: I think it's going in the right direction. I wouldn't say we're great at it yet. We've got some younger players who still have a long ways to go. Every match presents a different dilemma. Teams play different defenses, they have different blocking schemes. Sometimes they change and you have to be adaptable all the time. I think that's the next step in the growth. One team on Thursday will do one thing and another team on Saturday will do something else and you've got to be on point and pick it up quick what they're trying to do to you and work your way around it. Truthfully, I don't think there are that many college volleyball players out there that are great at it. I think there's a large percentage of volleyball players that can physically outmatch their opponent but tactically still have a long ways to go and our players are no different. A lot of it is new to them and it requires a lot of effort on their part in preparation and getting outside your comfort zone or outside the norm. I think we're working at it. I see small change and small improvement and that's a positive.

bc.net: This is not a question that relates specifically to your team but you faced Chicago State and you swept them both times but this is a Chicago State team that took UTRGV to five sets in both times they faced them. What is it about Chicago State that gives UTRGV such trouble?
MJ: Well this year they've got really good arms and better balance and they serve it really well. When you've got those things, you're halfway home. The only discernible weakness that Chicago State has compared to the rest of the conference is their ability to stop people. They don't have the length or physical ability to be a good blocking team so teams typically hit for a pretty good percentage against them. If you go high error as a team and give Chicago State points when you should be siding out, they're likely to beat you. They kind of have to rely on you being high error in attacking it in order to win and I think UTRGV has done that a couple of times, as have we. A lot of games in our conference, that's going to happen. But they're a legitimate threat, especially at home. They played a lot more comfortably and aggressively at home than they did on the road against us and they were in those first two sets. We hit .455 or something in the first set and they hit .405. Only because we were so efficient offensively did we win those first two sets. Had we attacked a few balls out of bounds, they would have come away with a 'W'. I can see how they can give a lot of teams fits, not just UTRGV.

bc.net: This week you take on Utah Valley and Seattle, what do you expect to see from them?
MJ: I'm sure it's going to be competitive. We're in the last two weeks of the season now. The conference race is up for grabs. Seattle still needs to win a couple of matches to ensure they're in the conference tournament, I think they will be but you've gotta go out and get it done. There's a lot riding on these matches so I'm sure you're going to see pretty good effort from all teams involved. UVU and Seattle are both physical teams that do a lot of good things and I think they present difficult matchups in a couple of areas for us. Utah Valley in particular is a really good blocking team. They're tough to deal with in that aspect. They're an improved team in a couple of areas offensively so it's going to be tough going.

Seattle's got a couple of great players they're leaning heavily on right now that are as physical as anybody in the conference. We're going to have to stay low error and be efficient in order to win.

bc.net: Saturday will be Senior Day for your team. Talk about this group of seniors and what they've meant to your program?
MJ: They're really very different in so many ways, just in their personalities, their backgrounds. It really is a unique group of seniors in that they're so vastly different. But they're all really good people and have grown quite a bit, I think more so with this group they've grown as human beings more so than as volleyball players and we're proud of that too. I think that's an important element. They've got a better work ethic and they're better communicators and they're more prepared for life than when they got here and obviously they've accomplished some good things on the volleyball court too.