Weekly Coach Jordan Interview

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/ on line 33. Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/17/17 Three matches in five days for a shorthanded team and you came out with three wins. Your thoughts?
Mike Jordan: Obviously being at home is a great thing. We were able to get some great practice time in during the week and we knew we had a couple of big opportunities in front of us. Obviously Thursday against Bakersfield and the rivalry match on Monday night, we were looking forward to those two matches in particular. Obviously playing without two of your key players, Jordan Abalos and Brielle Sterns, in the Bakersfield match, were you surprised with the way you were able to win?
MJ: I don't know that surprised is the right word. I didn't think Bakersfield played very well. They struggled handling the ball. If you're out of system a lot against us, you're going to lose. One of the things we do exceptionally well is convert mediocre to bad swings into really good swings of our own. You're back on your heels immediately if you don't come out and give us something with heat on your first attempt. We were able to capitalize on that. I thought we did a really good job defensively of digging the ball and we just got on a roll and Bakersfield seemed to struggle to find a way back in it.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/11/17 Last week you took a trip out west to take on Seattle and Utah Valley. You picked up a sweep of Seattle and it looked like the team played pretty well.
Mike Jordan: We did play well, especially defensively. I felt we were really solid. Brielle Sterns sprained her ankle in the second set, about midway through it and we continued to play well even without her in the lineup. It's the third set that was a little bit more of a struggle because she's becoming a pretty good offensive option for us. Losing her has been tough. I like the defensive effort we made against Seattle. I thought we served it pretty well, did a good job of blocking and our outside hitters played great. All of our pin players played really, really well. That was a bonus for sure. You had a five set match against Utah Valley, you were up 2-1 and the fifth set was a lot like every other fifth set that you've played this year where you're real close or leading right around the nine or ten point mark and the other team goes on an extended point run or wins five out of six or six out of seven.
MJ: Yeah, we got stuck in a rotation in that fifth set late and made a lot of attack errors unfortunately. We had seven attack errors in the fifth set alone. We had ten in the fourth. We were up 2-1 and then the fourth set we really started getting error prone again and we weren't getting anything out of the quick attackers and our other opposite attacker. Sasha played well, Tatyana started well but finished poorly. Kassie played well throughout attacking. We were scoring there but we weren't scoring other places and we had a lot of opportunities and we just didn't get it done. It's frustrating but until we learn to make plays late in games or we find offense somewhere else, we're going to wind up struggling a little bit at times and that's what's happening. You can look at it two ways, we're four matches in five sets, we're 0-4. We're really close to being 15-3 on the season and instead we're 11-7. Which team are we? Which are we closer to? Are we closer to being a 15-win team or an 11-win team? I think we're somewhere in the middle but with Jordan and now Brielle out, it's going to be much more difficult for us to win and we're going to have to wind up asking some people who don't have a lot of experience to make a lot of plays for us and maybe late in games. But it's an opportunity for other people to step up and hopefully they'll do that.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/02/17 A couple of good wins at home last week. Given the loss of Jordan Abalos, I know you were a little concerned about what you might see from your team and who might step up but the team took care of business both nights.
Mike Jordan: Obviously we'd still rather play with Jordan than without Jordan. Jordan perfect passes at a high percentage and that's a valuable thing. But the young women we've got in place, Kassie [Tohm] and Tatyana [Battle], our DS's that might step in and pass a little bit more in her absence, they're pretty good at it. It's not as though we're not a good passing team. I think we were the best passing team in the conference with her. I think we can still be the best passing team in the conference without her. It's just going to skew the numbers a little bit but I still think we're a pretty good receiving team and can get a pretty good first swing a high percentage of the time. That turned out to be the case against Chicago State and UMKC. Chicago State in particular has a couple of pretty tough servers and we handled it pretty well. Every day is different obviously. Every time you put on the uniform you're going to face different servers who are going to try different things against you. I feel like as long as we're competing hard that we're going to hold up in that aspect of the game.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/28/17 Last week you had a good win against UTEP (3-0) and a tough loss against UTRGV (2-3). What are your thoughts on the two matches?
Mike Jordan: I thought we played reasonably well against UTEP. We're a little bit more physical than they are and we played better volleyball for long stretches. I think rivalry games, there's a lot of emotion in them and I thought we handled it well. We seemed to be pretty confident in our ability to win the match. I saw some progress from some younger players too. We walked away from that happy that we got the win.

UTRGV, I feel the same way about that match as I do the Arizona match the week before and the North Dakota match the week before that. Here we've got a pretty good team on their home court and we're in control of the match and we're up 21-16 in the fourth with a chance to finish it and all of the sudden we stop making plays and start making errors and let them back in it. Then we're up 12-10 in the fifth and again we can't finish. And I didn't like the volleyball on the floor. It seemed to be more of panic and uncertainty than confidence in our ability to make plays which is frustrating when we've got a fair amount of upperclassmen out there, players who have been in these positions a little bit before. I feel like we lost the match more than UTRGV won it. Moving forward, we're trying to find ways to do the right things late game more often. Are we calling the right plays for the right people at the right time? X's and O's wise we are, we're getting people one-on-one opportunities attacking the ball but we're either not hitting it in the right spots or we're hitting it out of bounds. Then we get tight and that doesn't help. The players have to be confident in their ability to make plays in those situations and look forward to that responsibility and we seem to be looking at each other instead.

But again, we played really good volleyball again for long stretches. It's a tale of two teams really and we're expecting our veteran players to come through in these situations and those opportunities are going to keep coming. Hopefully they learn from those mistakes and get it figured out here pretty quick.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/19/17 Kind of a mixed weekend out in Tucson. What did you see over the course of the whole weekend from the team?
Mike Jordan: Illinois State with their sweep of Arizona and their sweep of us, they're a pretty good volleyball team. We knew that going in. They're a little bit streaky like a lot of teams early. They have the ability to play poorly but they've played a lot of good matches and they were really good this weekend. I was impressed. They have two great middles and they gave us fits. In addition to that, we were our own worst enemy in a lot of ways. It was a real failure to execute in the scouting report in trying to stop them and we didn't serve and pass as well as we normally do. I think you give Illinois State a lot of credit for some of that. I think they had a pretty good serving strategy and they hit some really tough serves. It sort of kept us off balance and we gave them too many easy balls back and they were able to get the ball to their middles. We were not in the right spots nearly often enough.

The Arizona match, I felt like going into it that our teams were pretty similar in styles of play. Physical, athletic, can take some real highlight reel swings. Obviously their bodies are a little longer, taller, athletic versions of ours but I felt like it was two similar volleyball teams in styles of play and that proved to be the case. It was back and forth. It was a fun match in a lot of ways. We were really on the verge of knocking off a PAC-12 team. When you go up 8-4 at the turn in the fifth set and you've got some seniors on the floor, there's an expectation that they'll close it out and unfortunately we didn't. We made a lot of really bad swings when we needed to step up and get kills. It's frustrating but it happens. Unfortunately it happened that night and what could have been a win against a quality opponent turned into a loss. I'm past the stage with this group of any kind of moral victories. This team's gotta start finding ways to win late and make plays late. We don't have a true go-to attacker in a sense, a superstar like Gwen Murphy from two years ago or a Desiree Scott, Kayleigh Giddens, Lindsey Yon, Trinia Cuseo, Stevi Adams, you name them, we don't have that kind of player but we've got a lot of good, solid players and some upperclassmen who I'm hoping will do their best to fill that role.

William & Mary, I thought we played really well in stretches. Our serve and pass game was pretty good. We were the more physical team and I think that showed. We were pretty efficient, especially in the first and third. We kept our unforced errors down and won our fair share of long rallies. I was happy with that. We were able to get a few younger players in the match. We're trying to get some people healthy and get them a little bit more experience. I think you'll see Bridgette Lowe play a little bit more and Megan Hart's doing better from that ankle injury. We've got a little more depth to use so that's great.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/12/ 17 You're four weeks into the season now, what have you learned about your team through the first three weekends of play?
Mike Jordan: I like the tempo we play at. We've been too high error at times. I think that's been the major bone of contention with the coaching staff. We've just got to take better care of the ball offensively better than we have but we're already seeing some progress. The first two weekends taught us a lot. I think this past weekend, we didn't get the same kind of pressure put on us. We didn't have anybody the caliber as UCLA for instance, but we still made fewer attack errors and better attack choices and I think those two things go hand-in-hand.

We're an improved blocking team from a year ago but we've still got a ways to go. We've got too many bad block touches. We're working hard at that right now, along with the attacking, those are the number one goals in practice. Defensively how is your team? The numbers look good and even the match against UCLA they hit .236 where a team of that caliber, you wouldn't necessarily be surprised to see them hit over .300 early in the season against you.
MJ: Yeah. I'd stack our defense up, obviously blocking is part of that, but as far as the floor defense goes, I would stack us up against anybody. I think we dig it really, really well. We give really good effort all of the time. I've been really pleased with that. We give ourselves a lot of transition opportunities to score because of how many balls we dig and I think we can get better at that too. We've got a couple of players, Natalie Mikels is just a freshman and she's learning every day. But athletically we're quick and I think what we're doing from a system standpoint is really beneficial for us.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/23/16 Obviously a disappointing loss in the conference tournament and an earlier end to the season than you'd hoped for. What did you talk with your team about after the match?
Mike Jordan: I congratulated them on a good season. Winning a regular season title and 23 matches up to that point is a big deal with the young team. We had a couple of people, Jordan Abalos and Sasha-Lee Thomas who battled through a lot of aches and pains to keep playing. There are some really important things that need to be mentioned. You have to applaud persistence. I think this team was pretty persistent. The downside obviously with the loss was the errors and that's been an issue all year long. We've just got a few people who are struggling getting outside their comfort zone and making the right choice attacking it. We made a lot of errors, 11 attack errors in the first set. Our setters doubled two balls. We netted. I think we gave them 14 points and we lose by two. And then we do the same thing in the fourth set and lose by two. You've got no one else but yourself to blame. I didn't think UTRGV played that great, they were just low errors. They kept the ball in play and gave it back to us and we errored out and that's not the way you win ballgames. They've got talent. UTRGV beat Baylor, that's no fluke. They've got talent, they have a couple of pretty good foreign players and they did what they needed to do to win and we just kept helping them and that's the downfall unfortunately. 

It's frustrating to keep going through that. One of the things I talked about yesterday at practice preparing for this match, at some point you take a hit over the head like that loss and you have to internalize why that's continuing to happen. As coaches we have two choices. We can either keep rolling them out there and hoping that eventually they get it or we say they've had enough time and it's time for someone else to get an opportunity. We're kind of at that looking into the offseason. It'll be an interesting offseason for sure.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/16/16 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/16/16 You closed out WAC play last weekend with a pair of wins. I'm sure if someone had told you that you'd get a sweep and play in a five set match you wouldn't have been too surprised but obviously who those came against were a bit of a surprise.
Mike Jordan: Yeah well at this point nothing is a surprise really. It's an up and down affair sometimes with this group. We played the first set okay against Chicago State and then just made mistake after mistake and Chicago State played very well and Juma [Armando] got hot and we struggled even getting good swings. We really made a lot of silly mistakes. In the five sets we played two of them well, one of them well enough to win and then two of them poorly. Obviously not a good night. As with anything you applaud the fact that we stayed persistent and came back and got our act together before it was too late.

UMKC I thought we played very well. We were efficient, we played good defense, we did a lot of things exceptionally well. I told them after that match it's hard to believe we're the same team that played on Thursday but that's the nature of this season. We're happy to be 2-0 on the road. Were you happy with the way the team bounced back against UMKC? What do you see different when you have a match like Chicago State and you have a match like UMKC where it's like you had two different teams take the court?
MJ: Our skill level with some of our players is not great, they're still learning. When you make the mistakes we make physically and you compound them with mental mistakes it can get ugly pretty quick. I felt like against UMKC we were pretty on task. We seemed to be ready to compete and we did that from set to set which we failed to do on Thursday [against Chicago State]. Maybe a bit better focus because we learned our lesson maybe on Thursday.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/08/16 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/08/16 The team picked up a win at UTRGV on Saturday and we talked last week about your team and your disappointment in their lack of competitive fire in the loss to Bakersfield. Did you see what you wanted to see from your team in the match on Saturday?
Mike Jordan: Yeah I thought we were more persistent and competed better. Some of that might have been the fact that we were feeling better. When we were playing Bakersfield we had three people that were sick and so you never know how that affects some people. We weren't 100 percent for sure. I think we had a little more energy against the Vaqueros and did a pretty good job of staying in sets. We had a chance in the second set to close them out, we were 24-22 and made a couple of silly errors and handed them over the set but we got back on the horse and started to compete a little bit again and just made more plays down the stretch when we needed to. Tatyana Battle again had a career match with 28 kills. We talked after she had the 26 kill night about how she kind of started off slowly but this one she was pretty consistent from the first set through the fifth set getting four, five, six, seven and six kills.
MJ: Yeah she put a lot of points on the board. I was surprised. When I saw the number at the end that she had gotten 28 I was a little surprised. It didn't feel like that many but she was efficient. Her kill percentage, not just her hitting percentage, was really high, close to 50 percent. She did that 28 on a pretty small number of attempts. A great match from her from sure.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/01/16 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/01/16 You had kind of a mixed bag of results from last week. You get a sweep over Grand Canyon and a four set loss to Bakersfield. Kind of a weird match with Bakersfield but what were your thoughts on the Grand Canyon match first?
Mike Jordan: Grand Canyon, they're just missing arms. THey don't have a lot of physical kids. They play a decent brand of volleyball. They can stay in sets. The first set we got a little high error again and kept it close. Then we minimized the errors and took care of business after that. We were the more physical team but you also have to play clean in order to win and we did that for the most part in the match.

As for Bakersfield that was one of the more disappointing performances I've been a part of. I could see the team somewhat relax after the first set and I've seen that before. Like I said, it's fairly commonplace but when you're playing for the opportunity to clinch the outright championship on your home floor, it's frustrating that you don't get a more competitive personality from your team. I watched us walk out on the floor in set two and look like we believed we were going to win instead of playing to win each point. I hated everything about that match. Maybe the worst thing that could have happened was the trouncing we gave them in the first set. We've been telling them all along that we aren't as good as our record indicates. When you make that many errors, obviously you put yourself in jeopardy. To make 32 attack errors in four sets is ridiculous. We hit balls out of bounds with no blocker in front of us and we hit balls out of bounds with one blocker and we got blocked by one blocker. The setting was atrocious and we just looked completely out of sorts and I didn't see a whole lot of fight in us when we got behind.  Continue Reading This Post >>