bleedCrimson.net: You had a bit of a rough road trip last week losing 3-2 to Utah State and 3-1 to Idaho. When we talked at the midway point the number of road matches in the second half was a bit of a concern for you. What were some of the issues you had in the two matches last week?
Mike Jordan: Well you have to credit Utah State and Idaho for playing well. I think they do things that give a lot of teams problems-- they block well, they serve well, they played very hard and they played well at home. I was disappointed in our performance. The games we dropped at Utah State were disappointing because the number of errors we made. We were Jekyll and Hyde and you can't be, especially in a fifth set, and expect to win. We made nine attack errors in the third and the fifth sets. They got some help by a couple non-calls that were terrible and they won. Give them credit for playing well but I'm looking at us and saying, "Why are we so inconsistent?" Sometimes that happens on the road but at this stage of the season, we've got to rectify that.
Real tough travel, four hotels in four nights and there were some issues with the practice facility at Idaho, we didn't get much of a workout in. But we still should have been very very ready to play. I didn't feel like we competed at all. We won set one, didn't play that well, they didn't play that well either. Then set two when they started to pick it up a little bit we didn't have much of a response and we had some upperclassmen that didn't make plays in crunch time in set two and it cost us. Sets three and four I kind of felt it was the same thing and I didn't like what I was seeing and decided to start subbing and give people a chance. If you work hard, you deserve a chance. We gave a few people some opportunities. It didn't work out for us, Idaho played very well, it was their senior night, they played with a lot of emotion and started to build some confidence and it was pretty disappointed in that performance for sure.
bc.net: How much of an impact did the return of Josselyn White from injury for Utah State have in that match?
MJ: I think she settles them down quite a bit. She's a good blocker, she handles the ball fairly well. She didn't have a great night attacking but she's still someone you have to pay attention to. I'm sure that's a good lift for them and I would expect them to be a contender down the stretch.
bc.net: You return home this week for the final two home conference matches of the regular season and with the two losses you've put yourselves in a bit of a must-win situation with just a one game lead over Idaho who is in third place and a road trip to Hawai'i next week.
MJ: I don't know how much must-win they are. What we want is to be the two or the three seed. Obviously we'd prefer to be the two because in the conference tournament you get that bye but either way the two or the three is going to be on the other side of the bracket from Hawai'i. We're still in a pretty good position. We're in second place, to a certain degree we control our own destiny in terms of seeding but more importantly I'm just looking for us to play well, play with consistency and a lot of passion and hopefully that'll happen this weekend at home.
bc.net: You talked a little bit after the Idaho match about seeing some regression from some of your players. What are some specific things that you're seeing that you want them to clean up?
MJ: We went weeks and really decreased the number of attack errors and service errors and then we got sloppy again this weekend and we can't go scoring points for the other team. It's ridiculous the amount of points that we scored for our opponents this weekend. We can't be that team and expect to beat anybody good and I think both of those teams are good. It cost us. We need that to change. We certainly need more of a presence from a couple of players offensively, in particular we need more kills from a couple of them and we're going to work at it. I think the most pressing need for us is that we block and defend better. We just can count on siding out at 70 or 80 percent all the time, which we've done quite a bit. We can't count on that. We've got to do a better job of digging. I was very unhappy with the lack of defense. In particular the digging was just terrible. We had a lot of balls that defenders just looked at or watched go by or fell in front of us. We're working hard right now at changing that.
bc.net: Thursday night you take on Fresno State what are your thoughts on that match?
MJ: They're a solid team. We don't take anything for granted, we know they can play. We're really focused on making changes ourselves. We don't want to stay the same and stay inconsistent. If we take care of business, we should win.
bc.net: Then on Saturday you take on Nevada for Senior Night.
MJ: It's a little bittersweet obviously. You start to realize that the end is coming for those players and this particular team will never get to play together again pretty soon. It's also nice to honor them after the match and spend a few minutes just showing them how much we love them and care about them and what they've meant to us. It's nice to have all the families in town. In some ways we're really looking forward to it but in some ways you wish you could have another year. It's always a nice night for sure.
bc.net: What has this senior class, Michelle Kuester, Jennah DeVries, Kelsi Phillips, Kelsey Brennan and Brynja Rodgers meant to the program?
MJ: I'm a big fan of Michelle Kuester. I think she's a great young lady. She's got a great personality, she competes hard, she's worked hard to improve and really has improved. She's a lot of fun to be around and we'll really miss her.
Brynja has seemingly been around forever, except for her one semester out in Florida. She's real special to us. She was a part of some really good teams and just a lot of fun to be around. I think all of them are.
Kelsey Phillips has really become a neat young lady and grown and matured so much in her time here.
Jennah and Kelsey have just been so stable and steady and besides being really good players, they're really good people. They're fun to be around, just really fun to be around, a neat class.