Weekly Coach Jordan Interview

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/ on line 33. Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 08/24/16 :: 2016 Season Preview Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 08/24/16 :: 2016 Season Preview The big hole to fill this season is in the middle replacing Gwen Murphy but this is something you’ve had to do before, it seems like about every three or four years you have to replace an all-world player and this is no exception.
Mike Jordan: You try to do it with balance. You don’t want to have to ask someone to do the impossible and carry the same kind of numbers that Gwen had for instance. I think at 23-all it was pretty clear that we were going to try to set Gwen. This year this team is going to be tougher to figure out for opposing teams. We’ve got four arms that are I’m pretty impressed with. I think Sasha [Thomas], Jordan [Abalos], Tatyana [Battle] and Kassie [Tohm] are all high kill percentage type players. We’re just trying to add one or two more in the 6-2 and see what they can do. They’re new players, a lot of them, that are vying for those spots. They’ve got some physical ability and some pretty good competition right now. Kassie Tohm is a player that got some playing time last year and there were some things you wanted to see her get better at. Has she gotten better at those things in the offseason and what do you expect from her this season?
MJ: She has. She played more as a freshman on that team that was really young a couple years ago and then last year with Nash moving to the right and of course having Nathalie Castellanos there, Kassie wound up on the bench, not because she wasn’t capable of putting up numbers but she just wasn’t as well rounded a player as those two were. She’s developed, she’s a better blocker, she handles the ball better, she’s a more functional player which is the word we like to use. She can do multiple things. We’re expecting her to have a good year. I think she’s got the competitiveness and the confidence is growing all the time. We should see a pretty good effort from her on a daily basis.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 12/18/15 :: Season Wrap Up Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 12/18/15 Now that you’ve had some time to decompress and take a look back at the season, what are you overall feelings about the season?
Mike Jordan: First off I think it was one of our better years. Certainly the best one since ’08. I think the thing that stands out the most for me was that this was just a fun team to coach. This is a hard working team with really solid leadership at the top. Just a lot of great people and it was just one of those teams that you wish you could have a group like this every year. As far as the team and the season and reaching the potential that you felt your team could reach this year in terms of things that you could control, how do you feel like the team did with respect to that?
MJ: I feel really good about it. This team was exceptional offensively. We had great balance. I doubt you’ll find a more balanced offensive team in the country. We had a superstar attacker in Gwen Murphy and tremendous balance around her offensively. Defensively we worked hard digging and keeping the ball off the floor. We were not a good blocking team. I think that was the one weakness this team had. It was exposed against the big physical teams like Stanford in the NCAA Tournament. We just had trouble getting stops, especially late in games against programs and teams like Stanford. That was more of a size issue than anything else. It wasn’t that we didn’t work hard at it or give it a good effort, we were just limited in size in a couple of spots. I think this team did a very good job of trying to get to their potential.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/30/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/30/15 The team found out their destination and opponent on Sunday, give me your initial thoughts on facing No. 8 Stanford?
Mike Jordan: Well, the first thing that I think that needs to be said is that I’m not happy, and it’s not just me, it’s many of the coaches in our sport who are not happy with the way that they select and seed and place teams in the tournament. When you look at what we’ve done this year, you can easily make a case that we’re every bit as good as Colorado State. Our results against common opponents are actually a little bit better and the same with Loyola Marymount, both very, very good teams. But we wind up playing Stanford in the first round because of our RPI number and because of geographically based selection choices. If you seeded this team 1 to 64 and you got rid of the RPI which was never meant to rank teams, it was only meant to group them. It’s been proven to be faulty and it’s easily manipulated by many conferences, ours is not one of them unfortunately. If you threw out the RPI you could easily make the case that we’re somewhere in the middle of the pack in this tournament. Yet, we wind up playing the 8th seeded team. That’s frustrating. All the work that we’ve done over the course of the season should be rewarded and yet in a couple of brackets you’ve got a couple of teams that barely got in who are playing each other with a chance to win an NCAA Tournament game and that frustrates me. That aside, the opportunity to play Stanford at Stanford is a great opportunity and it’s an opportunity to showcase ourselves a little bit. They’re a great team. It’ll be a great environment and those things in and of itself are a reward and I know the players are happy about the opportunity. Going back to the RPI and the selection process, obviously coaches know the RPI is weighted a lot heavier that what you’d like and you in particular have done what you can from a scheduling standpoint to counteract that. This is to specifically address people who might think that your low RPI number is based on you playing a weak schedule, you look at your schedule this year and you played against seven teams that are in this year’s field. You’ve done what you can.
MJ: That’s the frustrating part. This flawed system is weighted so heavily to conferences that have the ability to manipulate the RPI. Our conference, even before Hawai’i and everybody left, our conference often times hurt us. I’ve talked about this before but in 2006 at the end of the non-conference season our RPI was 16th because of what we’d done and we went 15-1 and split with Hawai’i and our RPI fell all the way down to 33. We still got in because it’s still a good RPI but we went 15-1 and split with Hawai’i and dropped almost 20 spots. It’s frustrating because once non-conference play is over we really don’t have the opportunity to improve ourselves (in RPI), we can only go down, even if we win a ton. If you have one bad night against the 120th team in the RPI like Bakersfield or Seattle who are decent teams, you drop even more. It’s a no-win situation for us right now and it’s very frustrating. But you’re right, we did everything we could. We can’t control a large portion of our schedule and that’s just the way it is.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/24/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/24/15 With the kind of season that you’ve had, running the table in the regular season but going into the tournament knowing that you would likely need to win the tournament to get into the NCAA tournament, how do you feel like your team handled that? They looked like they were as focused as they’ve been all season.
Mike Jordan: Yeah, unfortunately with RPI being such an important part of the selection criteria even though it shouldn’t be, it should be tossed out completely. Our players are very aware the fact that our RPI now stands at 64 which puts us outside of the bubble if they go exclusively by RPI or if the majority of the choices are made by RPI. The committee says that they’re not but it obviously is. I think they understood that and it adds pressure but a senior laden group that we have should be able to handle a little bit of pressure and they did and I’m proud of them. Andrea Tauai had a big match in the championship match against Bakersfield and was a big key as to why you were able to win that match.
MJ: She played even better against UMKC and has been playing very well the last half of the season. She’s a really competitive kid and coming in as a transfer from the junior college ranks a year ago, it takes a year to acclimate for sure. Last year was hard for her to go from the junior college level to the Division I level but she’s really made a lot of progress and she understands what we’re doing a little bit better and she’s a much more skilled player than what she was when she got her. All of that is starting to pay off. You add that to her competitiveness and you’ve got yourself a really good player.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/17/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/17/15 Your thoughts on the two conference wins last week, a hard fought victory over Seattle in five sets and a relatively quick win against Utah Valley.
Mike Jordan: Both teams have a lot of good players and they’re solid teams. We felt like playing on the road was going to be difficult, especially back-to-back weeks of traveling. But I think the Seattle match, they’ve got the length and the serving ability to give us problems and they were doing that for a while. We were in control early in sets and then we’d have passing breakdowns and get a little high error and they took over and were in control. We were struggling to put point runs together basically because we weren’t handling the ball well enough. We finally made a decision to go to a three person serve receive in set four and it paid off. It settled us down. We were just able to control the match from there. Did you play Jordan Abalos as your libero in set four?
MJ: Jordan played libero for one of the sets but then we switched her to left back in set four. We followed that up at Utah Valley with Andi Tauai and Jordan Abalos on the left and were able to pass real well against Utah Valley and that’s the key for us. I think in system we’re the best team in the conference but out of system, it’s a little bit of a crapshoot and we’ve got to make sure that when we’re out of system that we’re low error and that hasn’t always been the case, especially at Seattle. Against Utah Valley we did a better job of making good decisions when we were out of system and I think we were in control most of the way.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/10/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/10/15 Congratulations on winning the WAC regular season championship. I’m sure it was one of the team’s goals entering the season. What are your thoughts on this team being able to accomplish that goal?
Mike Jordan: We felt like certainly if we were healthy that we would be the favorite. UMKC obviously was picked to win in the preseason but I think last year with the difficult year because we had so many injuries and we were young, I felt like we had the most talent. We just needed to stay healthy and improve the offseason. I felt like this was possible, what we’ve done. Players have to go out and do it. You’ve got to work hard to get those goals and fortunately they did and they’ve earned what they’ve done so far. What are your thoughts on the two matches last week against Bakersfield and Grand Canyon and your team’s play?
MJ: We were solid. We’ve been pretty good offensively most of the year. We were a little high error in the first match on Thursday but did some other things pretty well. I thought our defense was solid and we served the ball pretty well. Saturday we were very good offensively in stretches. The one set we dropped we were really bad defensively. In fact I told the team we played two types of defense in that set, bad defense and no defense. We just had to get it together and get after it defensively again. We did that in the third set and it obviously changed how we attacked the ball too. We hit for a big percentage and we did fine. Obviously in November you’d like to see some but at this point of the season you just take them as they come.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/02/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/02/15 Your thoughts on the wins over UMKC and Chicago State last week?
Mike Jordan: The UMKC match was a little bit up and down. I feel like we were really, really good at times and then we’d fall to pieces a little bit. The inconsistency is what bothers the coach right? But at the same time when you go on the road and beat a pretty decent team and hit for a decent percentage you have to be happy. We accomplished our goal and it wasn’t always pretty but I don’t know of any rules that say it has to be or it’s gonna be all the time. The UMKC match, you outdug them and they’re one of the better digging teams in the league. We’ve talked a lot about your team’s floor defense and this being one of your better teams in that respect.
MJ: I thought we played solid floor defense. I was not happy with the way we were blocking. We missed a lot of assignments, especially early. I think we only had one block after the second set. That’s a problem obviously. We talked about that at the break and we got better from there. Our floor defense definitely kept us going where we needed to. Not only did we dig the ball but our quality of dig was pretty good and it led to some good transition opportunities. How did you feel about your team’s serving in the match? Do you feel like they’re serving tougher over the last couple of weeks?
MJ: No, not really. I don’t think we’re serving tougher. I think we’re serving okay. I think we’re locating serves fairly well but I’d like to see us bring it with a little more pace. I think we served it okay. I don’t think it’s a strength. I don’t think it’s hurting us but we could do more to help ourselves for sure.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/27/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/27/15 You had a lot of travel difficulties getting to UTRGV, arriving in Edinburg around 3:30 in the morning for a noon match. Given those issues, how did you feel your team played?
Mike Jordan: I thought we played reasonably well until the second half of the last set. We got real error prone. Gwen was hitting around .440 going into the third set and finished hitting .135. She made four errors or something in that set alone. We shanked a couple of balls and I think we made nine or ten errors in the set so that was a little frustrating. With the travel circumstances and how little sleep we got, I was happy to get a sweep on the road. You don’t expect your play to play poorly but with the travel issues is that something you have to take into account?
MJ: Yeah you basically just tell them “Loo, suck it up.” This is why we’re here, we’re here to win. Let’s play well and let’s not make excuses for ourselves. I think once a team starts talking to themselves that way, then you’ll be fine. They’re young. They should bounce back from stuff like that pretty well. You obviously don’t want to have them in that situation but it is what it is and I thought they did fine.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/21/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/21/15 Your thoughts on the wins over Utah Valley, Seattle and UTEP?
Mike Jordan: Utah Valley came in playing really well. I think they have a lot of confidence right now in what they’re doing. They’re a pretty balanced team so it’s not like you can avoid people. You have to work at stopping people a little bit. I thought it was a good match when we were low error. Seattle had been struggling a little bit but the talent is unquestionable. They’ve got the length you need, they serve it really tough. We had some issues in serve receive with Jordan Abalos having sprained her ankle in the Utah Valley match. We were a little limited from a passing standpoint and Bradley Nash stepped up in both of those matches and passed for us and settled us down in the Seattle match when we needed it. Seattle is a good solid ball club. I was expecting tough competition from both teams and we got it and obviously it made it a little bit harder with Abalos not being able to play and getting us that extra pair of forearms that are so important to us. UTEP is struggling. They’re just not a physical team right now. Any time you’re on your home court with a good-sized crowd and you’ve got a physical advantage you should win and we did. I wasn’t too pleased with the serving in the first set but we settled down after that and did a nice job. You had a little bit of trouble in the first set against Seattle serving as well. What was your assessment of the first set against Seattle and the first set against UTEP serving-wise?
MJ: We’re just not consistent and that’s something we have to keep working at. We have people who are missing a lot and that’s forcing their teammates to back off a little bit. You don’t want to miss two in a row or two out of three, that kind of thing. When your teammate misses in front of you, you tend to back off a little bit. That’s a struggle we have to work at avoiding. You have to go back and hit your tough serve and not think about the fact that your teammate missed. That’s difficult to do. Their whole lives they’ve been taught not to miss after a teammate but the reality is that at this level of volleyball you have to serve tough and misses are a part of that. Look at how well SeattleU serves. They’re at almost two aces per set, probably top ten in the country and they miss a lot. But that’s okay. When you’re serving lame or easy, the other team is going to side out quite a bit as it is. You’ve got to take those chances and go for it and we’ve got to do a better job of that ourselves.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/13/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/13/15 Your thoughts on the Grand Canyon and Bakersfield matches?
Mike Jordan: Two road wins, you’re always happy with. I think we were very good in stretches. I don’t think we were great from beginning to end obviously. We dropped a couple of sets. The set we dropped to Grand Canyon we were just very, very high error and actually one of the sets we won against them we were very high error. That’s a rarity for this team. It happened again a little bit against Bakersfield. I think that revolves around decision making, especially out of system. We’ve got to make better attack choices. But when we were making good choices and in system, we were clearly the better team. That Bakersfield match, the set you did drop. Usually when your team has 15 kills and hits .306, you figure you’re going to win the set. That wasn’t the case and you just couldn’t quit get untracked in that set.
MJ: No and they played very well that set. We started it out by passing the ball terrible and gave them a lot of easy looks and they converted. They’ve got good arms. When you look at them statistically they’re right up there in kills per set so you can’t give them easy stuff all the time or you’re going to pay for it and we did.  Continue Reading This Post >>