Weekly Coach Jordan Interview

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/ on line 33. 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 >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/08/14 You opened up conference play two weeks ago with a sweep, then you won two five set matches where you had to come from behind at 2-1, then you went up to Seattle, fell behind 2-1 but weren’t able to rally this time and the third set you lost 29-27 and if you win that set, it’s probably an entirely different match.
Mike Jordan: It’s frustrating when you’ve got a 24-20 lead and a good rotation to side out in and you don’t get it done. We missed a couple of defensive assignments. We just didn’t play assertively enough or aggressively enough. Part of that is youth, part of that is getting the ball to our experienced players. You’ve just got to make the right plays at crunch time and Seattle, you give them credit, they stayed aggressive. They were taking big swings when they needed to and we played patty-cake with a couple balls we should have hit. We missed those defensive assignments and it cost us. The fourth set, it was 20-all and the referee blows a call, it cost us a point and it shifts momentum but you still have a lot of time as a team to recover and make plays and we just didn’t do that. Again, we got a few good opportunities and we tipped balls we should have hit. We walked out after a timeout after being told to take aggressive swings and we tipped the next ball. I think we got what we deserved in that match. But hopefully we’ll learn from it and if we don’t you’re not paying attention. I’ve seen a lot of good things. I think when we’re playing well, which certainly isn’t consistently enough, but when we are playing well, it’s the best volleyball in the conference. We can beat anybody and unfortunately we just have to develop that consistency. We haven’t done that yet and that’s the goal right now is to put it together, play well in long stretches, miss fewer assignments, make the right decisions at crunch time and become the team we’re capable of becoming. It’s harder this year because we are young. We’re probably the youngest team in the conference. We’re in a 6-2 and we’ve got a rotation of 10 or 11 player we use on a consistent basis, really 12, and five or six of them can be freshmen. I’ve looked out on the floor quite a few times in the last few weeks and seen four freshmen on the floor at the same time. It’s not an overnight fix. It’s going to take us a little while but as long as we keep working and paying attention, we’ll get there.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/23/14 You had a very good weekend in New Hampshire, maybe one of the more complete weekends that you’ve had win a while.
Mike Jordan: The competition was decent, it just wasn’t nationally ranked opponents. It was the Pac 12, that kind of thing. I thought we did some good things. We were physically dominant at times which was good to see. I thought we got a little bit better connection in the quick attack than we’ve gotten and we hit for better percentages there because of it. That’s a positive. And we continue to play good defense. We hold teams to low percentages and you’ll give yourself a chance to win when you do that. I’m fairly happy with the results. On the topic of defense, you swept all three matches and in only two of the nine sets did the opponent get past 20 points.
MJ: Yeah. We served well and got teams out of system and if you’re out of system against us because of how hard our defenders play, the fact that we block fairly well, it’s going to be tough to hit for a good percentage against us. We took some pretty decent transition swings. I was certainly happy with the fact that we were able to be dominant at times.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/16/14 Another weekend of tough competition for your team, two really good teams in Colorado State and BYU. I thought your team played really well against Colorado State and had some unfortunate luck at the end of the first two sets in trying to close them out.
Mike Jordan: Yeah, we served it terrible in the beginning of the game. We missed six in the set and that cost us. It was a really close match all the way through but if you get that first set win then you get that confidence starting to brew a little bit and we unfortunately shot ourselves in the foot at the service line early in the set. Colorado State’s got a tremendous team obviously and they have a more veteran presence than we do and they were just better at making plays when they needed to. When you look at the numbers you would think that we won, if you look at the box score. We outhit them by 40 points and out blocked them almost 2-to-1, the digs were similar. We just made some unfortunate errors when we couldn’t make errors and made some bad choices and you just can’t do that against a great team like Colorado State. The good thing is that I think we’re going to learn from this type of thing. It’s great fuel for the fire in practice. You can show them the video and say look, here’s where we went wrong, here’s the bad choices that we made. Here’s where we were unprepared and it cost us and you can hold it over their head to prepare better in practice every day and stay more focused and pay more attention to scouting reports and things like that. It was a very, very good match with two really good teams and I saw a lot of things that I was pleased with as well.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/09/14 Your thoughts on what you’ve seen from your team through the six matches?
Mike Jordan: I certainly feel as though we are making strides every day. The first weekend we were very high error. We minimized that a little bit this past weekend. I still think it’s in us to be a little to high error but we definitely were better. It was a big focus during the week, making better decisions, especially out of system, shot choices, that kind of thing. I thought we did a nice job there. I’ve been really happy with our passing. It’s probably one of the better passing teams we’ve had in years and we’ve got a few players that can do it. I don’t have to have the same three for instance all the time. I can rest people. We can put a better defender in who is maybe just as good a passer as an outside hitter, give her a breather which we did with Bradley some recently. I feel good about our progress. There’s still a lot of room for improvement obviously.

Offensively, we’re still trying to figure out how we want to play deepening on the lineup combinations. With some outside hitters we may take a little bit more of the perfect passes and go their way with others we may try to go middle or right more. It depends on who’s in the game as to how we’re going to play and what we’re going to do.

I’ve been very happy with us defensively, I think we dig the ball very well. Maybe one of the better digging teams we’ve had in a long time. So those things have been great. I still think at crunch time we’ve still got to be a little stronger mentally, we’ve got to be a little bit more prepared to take responsibility and make a play. We sat back a little bit against Cal and didn’t create the same type of service pressure in the fourth and fifth sets that we did the in the first three and it cost us. They were able to get their middles involved and their middles are great. If their middles were bad it wouldn’t have been that big a deal but their middles are great. That was a little frustrating.

But from what I’ve seen with so many new players and so many rookies playing on a regular basis, I’m pretty pleased with what I’m seeing so far.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 12/04/13 :: NCAA Tournament Preview The championship match you took on Bakersfield and you mentioned that their team was good at everything and that their weakness was that they were just smaller. Your team came out and really took care of business.
Mike Jordan: We got an overpass, Desiree crushed an overpass on the first play of the game and then we stuff blocked straight to the floor three of their first four swings and so I think we just got in their head right away. We did a good job of executing, we were aggressive and we really played like we wanted to win that title as opposed to trying not to lose. I know that’s a cliche but you’ve got to play to win and we did. I was very impressed with what we did. Brown was one of four Aggies to make the All-Tournament team. What does that honor mean for a player like Brown especially as a senior?
MJ:Obviously she doesn’t get a lot of credit for what she does. She’s not the best athlete in the lineup, in fact she’s probably the worst athlete in our lineup but she tries really hard and she’s passionate about the team and winning and she’s worked hard to get better. I think for her to get some recognition is a great thing and it’s well deserved. Interestingly enough one of her weaknesses since she’s got here is that she just doesn’t serve the ball tough enough. She gets four aces against Idaho and I don’t know how many she got against Bakersfield but she served that first point of the game where they had the overpass and she had a long run. I think she probably got the all-tournament nod because of what she did at the service line more than anything else. For Desiree to hit .400 with Ciara setting her primarily speaks a lot to the things that Ciara can do for us. drew Arizona in the first round of the NCAA tournament. What were your initial thoughts when you saw their name go up on the board?
MJ:I think it’s a good draw in the sense that we’re familiar with them. They’ve got a great team obviously and they’ve got a Pac-12 schedule under their belt. They’re very, very good and they’re well coached. I think because we have played them a lot in the spring we have a familiarity with them. While I think they’re great athletes, I don’t think they’re out of our class athletically. We’re looking forward to the challenge. Obviously it’s not going to be easy but it’s a winnable match if we play very well. I’m hopeful with a veteran team that we will.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/27/13 :: WAC Semifinal Recap/Championship Match Preview You knew last night wasn’t going to be an easy match and you got quite a fight from Idaho.
Mike Jordan: Yeah we did and we expected it. They’ve improved and they did a good job slowing us down a little bit early on. I didn’t think we were playing very well and we made some silly mistakes early in the first set which happens when you play your first match of the tournament, I don’t know if it’s jitters or you’re just not settled into a rhythm yet. We left too many points out on the floor with defensive mistakes and bad swings. We certainly didn’t pass very well in the first set and Idaho finished it from some missed calls late. There were three missed touches on Idaho that were obvious. That was frustrating but if we had not made our mistakes we would have won the first set. Set two, kind of a carbon copy of set one, actually the first three sets were very similar. We just didn’t seem to have a very good rhythm. We made some good plays, we looked like we were going to take over at points but then we’d do something silly or Idaho would make a play and stop the run. I thought Idaho did a good job. They competed hard and they’ve got pretty good balance offensively. It was a tough match. You’ve talked a lot throughout the course of the season about wanting your players to play aggressively especially in late game situations. When you were at the point that you were at after set three, trailing 2-1 with your backs against the wall, what did you think about the way your team responded to that situation?
MJ: Well we were asking our outside hitters in particular to be more aggressive the entire match. I thought we took a lot of tentative swings, made some bad attack decisions. Our setters were doing a pretty good job of getting the ball in good spots for us but we were making poor choices attacking. I didn’t feel like we were as aggressive as we needed to be for sure and I kind of lit into our outside hitters after the third set, challenged them a little bit and they responded, especially Stephanie. She was great after that. She made some adjustments and made a lot of plays for us.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview ::11/26/13 Your thoughts on the regular season finale against Utah Valley?
Mike Jordan: I thought we played pretty well. We didn’t serve it very well at times but we were good defensively. To hold a team like that to almost a zero hitting percentage is a good feat. They’ve got some good athletes. Hopefully with it being November, our team understands that every time they take the floor they need to play a championship caliber level. I thought we did that for the most part. Going into the tournament this week, just about everyone that’s on the team this year was there last year when you won the WAC tournament and knows what level of play is required to win a tournament title. How much of an advantage is that for your squad this year?
MJ: I don’t know how big an advantage it is. I think it helps to have a lot of players that have been in the situation before. You’re less likely to have a lot of nerves so from that standpoint that’s good. But the teams we’re playing, Idaho has a match under their belt and so their nerves are gone too. I don’t know that it’s a big benefit but I’d certainly rather have experienced player than inexperienced players.  Continue Reading This Post >>