Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/14/17

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept. Picked up a couple of wins last week and were able to win the regular season title. In the win at Grand Canyon you picked up your first five set win of the season. What were your thoughts about that win?
Mike Jordan: We were a little Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We really made some silly mistakes. Grand Canyon was pretty consistent throughout, dug a lot of balls, extended a lot of rallies and I thought served it pretty well. It's tough to win on the road. Teams play so much better at home in this league than they do on the road. We were inconsistent but we found ways in the end to make it happen. I was really disappointed in the fourth set. We had 20 kills in the set and lost. That's hard to do. I don't know that that's ever happened in my time here. We had five more kills than they did but we netted twice, we got called for two ball handling errors, just all these unforced errors came out of nowhere. We didn't serve it very efficiently. That fourth set was really the one where I was shaking my head when I was looking at the numbers at the end of it. I felt like it was a set we maybe should have dominated but fortunately we played well in the fifth, other than missing a couple of serves a little past the midway point. I think we missed back-to-back. That was frustrating but we were able to finish them off in the end. You had 10 kills and only one attack error in the fifth set. Fifth sets that you've played this year, you've had leads or been close in all of them and not been able to close out down the stretch of those sets. What was different in this one?
MJ: You're right, I was a little nervous about it and like I mentioned the serving, we had a lead and then we go back and miss a couple of serves and I really felt like, uh oh, here we go again. We've got to manage this game and not start making errors and fortunately I don't know that we made an error past that point, maybe just one. I was pretty happy with how efficient we were and we scored consistently in a couple of spots and that was a big deal. The match at Bakersfield, you talked last week about it being a tough place to play because of the gym and also because of the way Bakersfield plays. What were your thoughts about that match?
MJ: I thought we competed well. We were consistent and efficient the whole match pretty much with the exception with the start of the third. We got aced a couple times and made a couple errors. It was a good performance. I don't think it was our best performance but it was a good performance. Bakersfield, tough place to play, it was their Senior Day, they play with a lot of emotion. To go in there and get a sweep was pretty impressive. That match in particular, you had already wrapped up the regular season title and the 1-seed and as far as the WAC tournament goes didn't have anything to play for and Bakersfield was still playing for a chance at the 2-seed. How was your team able to match Bakersfield's motivation level?
MJ: We talked about it before the match. I felt like we were a little too loose, it just seemed like we were a little more relaxed than normal. Maybe that's a good thing, I don't know. But I did bring up before the match that it's November and it's playoff time. Bad performances aren't acceptable this time of year. It doesn't matter if you're playing in a scrimmage, a practice, a match that doesn't really have any impact on the standings or a championship match. You've got to bring your best and I thought we tried to do that. The team did a good job and we played well in long stretches. Heading into the tournament you're either going to face Bakersfield or Seattle. If you face Bakersfield you will have just seen them on Saturday, if you play Seattle you faced them a couple of weeks ago. What are the challenges of having to face a team that recently?
MJ: I think there's a lot of familiarity. When you play double round robin like we do and all the video access all the teams have, I think we're all pretty familiar with each other now. No on at this point is going to go rebuild their team and do it differently. The challenges are that we've got to make sure that we're ready to compete, not take anything for granted. I don't think we will. I'm sure this team remembers last year when we got upset in the conference tournament. Just keep our eyes on the prize and I think we'll be fine. You're in a very similar situation this year as you were last year. The number one seed but going into last year you were pretty banged up heading into the tournament and this year you're the number one seed again but you're down three players.
MJ: It's frustrating. It's certainly not the lineup I envisioned back in August when we started but that's the nature of sports. You play with the hand you were dealt. We're working hard to improve our younger players and players of less skill who are having to play a lot now. We're spending a lot of time making adjustments and improvements with them and making them a bigger focal point with what we do. I think some of them are doing exceptionally well. A couple of others are still struggling. I just think that the team has persevered pretty well and we're continuing to improve and that's a good sign. Last year we didn't have a senior on the roster, we didn't have the leadership because of it and I feel like we plateaued and physically we were hurting at the end of the year and players were not playing their best at this time of the year because of the injuries. The group we do have is pretty healthy. We're resting them a lot, especially the veteran players. I'm hopeful that they'll be able to play two great matches in a row back-to-back. Is there a player or two who you think might be ready to have a breakout performance for you in the tournament?
MJ: Megan Hart and Lia Mosher in particular have had some really good matches in the second half and are showing themselves more and more capable of putting points on the board for us. I think those two in particular are doing really well. Then we've got the big three in Sasha, Tatyana and Kassie, they've been putting up consistent numbers all season long and I'm sure they'll continue to do that.