Weekly Coach Jordan Interview

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/ on line 33. Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/05/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/05/15 You picked up three wins last week, two of the in conference. What did you see from your team in those two conference matches that you liked?
Mike Jordan: I think the fact that we got a win over a very good UMKC team is a good thing. I wasn’t happy necessarily with the way we started the match. I thought we were not ready to dig balls and play ‘D’ and it cost us a lot of points. We got out-served and passed pretty much the whole set and didn’t look very good in set one. You can’t just drop sets like that to good teams. That’ll come back and haunt you. I just want us to be a little more prepared. We changed that around a little bit in set two. Offensively we were solid, we weren’t great but we were low error and hit for a great percentage. They really didn’t have an answer for us. After set one it was all us. It was nice to see us dominate at home like that. If there has been one thing with this year’s team it’s been occasionally having slow starts. You talked about the defense against UMKC in that first set. Has there been a common thread or a common theme to the slow starts?
MJ: I think defense is part of it. We’re typically a pretty good digging team but it seems like in first sets we haven’t been. We’ve gotten off to slow starts. We’ve let a lot of balls get to the floor without making defensive effort for them. You’ve got to make teams work to get kills. I don’t think we’d done that too much. We didn’t do it against UNM, we didn’t do it against UMKC in the first set. After that we were fine. Who knows what it is. Sometimes players have a tendency to try to feel the other team out a little bit and maybe we’re trying to do that too long, maybe I’ve got the wrong starters on the floor or maybe I need to look at a lineup. In both instances we made changes after set one and responded well. I’m glad we do that but if you’re capable of dominating a team, do it in three, don’t drop a set and do it in four.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/30/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/30/15 A good win last night against UNM. Those matches are always battles and a lot like a conference match.
Mike Jordan: Yeah. On paper and just having seen them and our results and their results, I felt like we were the better team but that doesn’t mean a lot in a rivalry game. We had the better team two years ago here in our place and lost to them. Anything can happen in those games so you just have to stay happy that you got a win against a good team and the fact that it’s your rival makes it a little bit better. You had a couple players come back from their injuries. Andrea Tauai and Briana Ainsworth. Andi didn’t play much past the first set but Briana was a factor for you. What does she bring to this team?
MJ: She’s a pretty cool customer for a freshman. She listens well, she’s a good defender, she communicates pretty well especially for a freshman. I think those things she does better than the average freshman. Her [set] location is solid, it’s not great. She’s not real deceptive. There’s a lot of things she will improve on in her time here but she can set the things we’re running pretty well and she has those other intangibles that I talked about and it makes for a pretty good player, especially in our system.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/22/15 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/22/15 Your thoughts on this past weekend?
Mike Jordan: Obviously I was very happy with a lot of the things that we did. To take Arizona and Texas to the brink I think says a lot about the level that we’re capable of playing at. I think I was much happier with the Texas match than I was the Arizona match. I felt like against Arizona we didn’t pass the ball very well. They aced us nine times in the four sets and that’s just to many. Our littles, as I like to call them, have to produce better numbers passing serve receive and had they done that I think we could have gotten a win there. That was a very winnable match.

The Texas match, obviously their talent level is tremendous. The number two ranked team in the country for a reason. We did a much better job passing and serving than we did against Arizona and we were actually able to level the playing field a little bit because of it. I thought our littles played exceptionally well against Texas. Moving forward we just need them to be consistent. We had just as many kills as Texas, we had as many blocks, we out dug them. They were just a little bit more late set savvy is the best way to describe it. They went to their big guns and they sided out a little bit more efficiently when they needed to late in sets. We were right there. We were two sets from going up 2-1 on Texas and we did a lot of very, very good things. One thing the team was able to do in the Texas match that you weren’t able to do in the Arizona match is you were able to get out to good starts and even though the team got down you were able to fight back and in the set you won you were able to fight back from a six or seven point deficit.
MJ: Yeah, I like that about us. I keep saying we have a lot of fight in the dog which is great. Mostly, we’re a physical team and we attack it well and we’re hard to figure out. Teams have a difficult time dealing with us. We’re capable of setting away from the big guns and other people producing offensively and I think you see that a lot with our team. We’re pretty balanced and we’re balanced with good kill percentages and that’s a good thing.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/16/15 Your thoughts on this past weekend? You had another agonizingly close five set loss but were able to bounce back and get a pair of sweeps on Friday and then had a five set battle with Denver on Saturday.
Mike Jordan: The Oklahoma match was a tough pill to swallow. I think once we adjusted to their size, made a couple of adjustments ourselves defensively and started attacking, we got the better of them. It just took us too long to get going in the first and second set. We got down early and just struggled with their length. They’re a long, tall team and they do some really good things. They’re very good. I think they’re Top 25 caliber. It was a good match. In the fifth set, anything can happen. You never know.

The next day, two matches in one day is difficult but we were able to work through it physically. We were able to get some people off the bench which was good and we were just physically better than both of those teams, both Robert Morris and Brown. Unfortunately we had a couple of injuries happen on that Friday. Andi Tauai dislocated her pinky and we lost Bri Ainsworth earlier in the day. She broke open the bursa sac in her elbow so she’s going to be out a couple of weeks. That didn’t help us against Denver obviously having two starters out. Then because of a scheduling problem we were playing our fourth match of the tournament against Denver, in 40 hours, and they were only playing their second match. So they were a lot more fresh than we were and not having the two starters made life a little harder on us. We just kind of grinded it out, We switched lineups a lot, went back and forth from the 6-2 to the 5-1 and we were able to do enough to get the win against a very good Denver team. Denver went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year and they’re picked to win the Summit League again and I think they will, they’re very good. To get a win against a team like that under those circumstances says a lot about our team.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/05/15 Looking at Sunday’s match against Texas A&M, even if you hadn’t come back and pushed the matched to five sets, anyone who watched the match would agree that you were right there with them and that the two teams were evenly matched. Your team did a great job of serving them tough and for the most part keeping them from doing what they wanted to do.
Mike Jordan: It’s a match we could have won in four. We really could have won it in four. In the first set we got called for two net violations and we missed five serves and we were guilty of some poor attack choices too. Once that set was over, we had that lead the whole way, I think we had two set points in the first set. It was a little disappointing to not have finished that set. Set two, again we had some attack choices that didn’t make a lot of sense and we made some errors we shouldn’t have made but we were right there. Really the difference for most of it was how good they were on the fast slide. We just couldn’t get there. It’s not something we can replicate in practice or rehearse for. They’re just very good at it and their middles are All-American caliber. They’re really good. We just didn’t have an answer for that. In game five it was the same thing. They passed it a little bit better than they had in three and four and they were able to get what they wanted and we just couldn’t hold up. We netted twice, once on an overpass where we had an easy opportunity. Again, I think it’s a match we could have won. I feel good about the way we play for long stretches but to beat great teams on their home court you’ve got to play a little bit cleaner and hopefully next time we’ll finish off that first set.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/25/14 :: Season Wrap Up Your season can be broken up into really three or four different sections: non-conference, conference play before the injury to Hannah Walker, post Hannah Walker injury and then post the Sasha-Lee Thomas injury.
Mike Jordan: Going into the season I felt as though we would have some growing pains for sure. We graduated five players from last year’s team. They all played so even in a 6-2 system like ours where you’re playing high number of people, we’re having to replace three-quarters of our lineup. Seventy-five percent of your lineup is difficult to overcome, especially when a majority of them were really big pieces of the puzzle. But, we were all very excited about the level of athletic ability on our team. The incoming players all have a lot of athletic ability and as a coach you realize it’s going to take a while before their skill develops, some more than others. You realize it’s going to take a while for them to understand the systems and what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. The hardest part of this season for us was trying to create a balance between the amount of skill work and the amount of system stuff you do in practice every day. We want them to develop their passing skills, that attacking skills, etc., but we also have to make sure that when they’re on the floor, they know how to play with the person next to them, that they understand the blocking system, that they go the right way defensively. When you’ve got a young team you have to rely heavily on upperclassmen to help you get the young players going in the right direction. So we knew going into the season we were going to have some bumps in the road early, especially with the strength of our non-conference schedule. It was not a surprise to me that we weren’t able to beat BYU and CSU, a couple of those teams we dropped early matches to, Montana State, we probably beat them 99 times out of 100 if we played them. Those things weren’t that much of a surprise to me. But along the way I think we were all pretty happy with the way we were developing. We were seeing good performances from players at time. Some of our players were getting more consistent week-to-week. Not noticeable changes necessarily sometimes but they were definitely improving. Then once the injuries started, and side note, Audra Jones was hurt all year, our number three middle, our backup middle, a 6-5 sophomore, was not available to us this year because of the [ACL] injury in basketball. To lose Hannah [Walker] who as a senior and the libero and the toughest kid on the team bar none, Hannah was the heart and soul of the defense, she was the one who was the one helping the young players, pointing them in the right direction, motivating the team a lot, holding people accountable. Losing her was a big blow.

When you play another young player, Ariadnne Sierra at the libero spot or Andi Tauai moves to libero and has never played it before and you put a younger player in her place at outside hitter, you’re getting a little bit at a lot of spots, not just the one. We were still overcoming it. I felt like we were making some progress and even with that going on I felt like we could win the conference tournament. Then when Sasha [Thomas] went down with the injury, that was really, really a tough blow and not just because she was really starting to develop as a freshman and from a physical standpoint one of the premiere middles in the conference already, to lose that blocking ability and have to have an outside hitter because of Audra’s injury, having to play middle, it’s like taking a guard and trying to make them play center. It weakens you. It got harder and harder as the year went on. We just couldn’t catch a break in some respects. To lose those players off a team that was already young to begin with made our skill level and our volleyball IQ, our understanding of the systems, was really not there. We were playing hard and I appreciate that about this team. We were playing hard, we just weren’t playing efficiently at times. It was difficult but not completely unexpected. The injury part was the tough part to swallow. You just have to suck it up. It is what it is.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/11/14 You had one match last week, a win against UTPA. How do you think your team did adjusting to the changes you’ve had to make because of the injuries?
Mike Jordan: We did fine. We had one bad set and some up and down play here and there but I think the thing that’s interesting about this group is we have some versatile people and I’m not afraid to change things. For instance we had Andi Tauai at libero for two sets and felt like we needed to make her a left. We put Ari Sierra at libero and they both did a good job. We’re fairly versatile at this point and I think the group understands that they need to compensate for the loss of the players we had and they’re willing to do whatever is asked of them. How would you rate the play of Andi Tauai now that she’s gotten a little more time under her belt at libero?
MJ: She’s doing well. She’s a competitive person which is half the battle and she wants to be good at it so she’s working hard. I think the serve receive has been very solid. She’s serving the ball tougher now. Defensively she’s improving and quality of dig is what we’re looking for now. I think she’s touching a lot of balls but we’re looking for quality of dig and she’s doing a good job.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/04/14 You picked up a pair of wins last week in two competitive matches. What did you see from your team last week, you mentioned wanting to see them compete consistently for an entire match.
Mike Jordan: I’m proud of them because we’re playing without starters. Hannah’s been out for a while now and she’s toughness in our team. We lost Sasha Thomas to injury on Friday, probably for the season. So it’s frustrating but Kassie Tohm stepped up and played middle for us and she hasn’t done that since early in her high school career. It’s a little frustrating. It’s her first time ever playing middle in college and it’s tough for her. But together we worked through it as the match went on. You started Andi Tauai at libero against Seattle. What did you see from her performance?
MJ: She did fine, especially for having never played there before. She’s a competitive kid and we just felt like we needed a little more competitiveness on the floor. I think Ari Sierra and Kayle Paniepento are going to be very good liberos but they’re freshmen and freshmen don’t tend to communicate as well as upper classmen and so Andi, she did a nice job. There are a few plays I’m sure she wished she had back but she did what we expected of her and asked of her and it was a big part of the win.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/29/14 Your team has hit a bit of a speed bump in the late middle of the year. What’s your assessment of what’s been the issue for the team?
Mike Jordan: I think our confidence is a little shaken mainly because of the inconsistent play. Our ability to score points in bunches has really been hampered by a lot of inconsistent play. Some of it you understand. When you’ve got five freshmen that are playing a lot, sometimes four on the floor at the same time, you’re going to have some skill issues. There’s some things with experience that they don’t know yet. Those problems you can work through, you understand them. The problems I’m most upset with, the things that drive us nuts as a coaching staff is the missed assignments, defensively in particular. At this stage, whether you’re a freshman or not you should understand what we’re doing defensively. You shouldn’t miss blocking assignments. You shouldn’t go the wrong way defensively. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not an easy system. We change defenses a lot and very few teams do that. So it’s difficult to catch up but it’s been long enough now. I think what we have is a lack of effort from our team on understanding the systems and making it a priority to do the right things all the time. Communication between points is a big part of that. When you’re young you don’t do a very good job of that. No one does when they’re young. But our veteran players need to take a little more responsibility for it and do more work in that area. In between points they need to do a little more hand holding so to speak and get the rest of their teammates prepared for the next point.

We also have some issues with attacking. Offensively, a couple of our players when they make an error they back off and they’ll sort of half-a** the next swing and that’s frustrating. When you have a lot of athletic ability you should use it as often as you possibly can. That just shows a little bit of a lack of mental toughness and young players go through that. It’s just part of the learning curve, it’s something we have to work our way through. Unfortunately we have more young players playing than ever before so we’re dealing with it more often. We’re making more mistakes than we can. We wind up in a rotation where if everybody did their job defensively, we could score three, four, five points in a row, we end up getting just one. That sort of thing. We’ve got to work our way through it and there’s no overnight fix. We’ve just got to keep working.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/15/14 You had the one match last week, you were able to get a sweep over UT Pan American. They played you tough in the first set which I’m sure you probably expected. What did you see from your team in the bounce back win?
Mike Jordan: We’re physically better than UTPA so we thought if we played clean, minimized the errors, we’d win. I think we did that from an offensive standpoint. Where we made too many errors was in the blocking. They run a slower slide tempo and we were early. We had trouble on the timing of it. They kept catching us on the way down. We’re just used to playing a faster tempo slide and so we had trouble adjusting. Give them credit. They did a good job but our timing on the block, we never did really adjust at all. We were early pretty much the whole match. They got some kills that you wouldn’t expect them to get normally. I just expected us to block more balls. At the same time, we sided out fairly efficiently and the quality of dig was decent. We served it okay. There were positives. You got a lot of playing time for Ari Sierra in the match. What did you think about her play?
MJ: We wanted to give Hannah a little rest. Hannah throws her body around every day and she’s starting to get a little beat up and we felt like it was a match where we could win without her and that also Ari does a lot of good things and as a freshman we want to get a little bit more playing time. We think she’s a candidate to be our libero next year so we want to get her as much experience as possible. She’s got a great motor, she plays super hard. She’s very quick, she sees the floor very well and she does a lot of good things for a freshman. She did a solid job.  Continue Reading This Post >>