bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on this past weekend's tournament where you picked up a couple of good wins over Cincinnati and Drake and had a competitive match against Northwestern?
Mike Jordan: We were disappointed in the loss to Northwestern. We didn't defend very well particularly in the first set and they were able to score some points that I don't think they had to work too hard for unfortunately. It was a winnable set. Set three we made a couple changes and started playing a little bit better. Set four we're up 24-22 with an opportunity to push it to a fifth set and made some mistakes you just can't make in crunch time. A couple bad passes in serve receive, our setter's shoe comes off in the middle of a rally. Kind of a comedy of errors. I think I heard carnival music playing the background. But it was a loss against a pretty good team.
The Drake win, you take the 'W' but I don't feel like we defended well in that one either. The Cincinnati win is a solid one. After the first game we picked it up a notch tempo-wise offensively and did some good things against what I think is going to be a solid Big East team. So 2-1 is not bad but 3-0 was the goal and we didn't quite get there and so we move on.
bc.net: What were some some lessons that the players were able to take away from Saturday's matches?
MJ: Well I think defensively we've got a long ways to go. We've got to become a better blocking team. We have the size to be a good blocking team. We've the got the athletic ability to be a good blocking team. We've got to understand the systems better, we have to improve the technique. It'll come with time but we've got to be sure we give it the time it needs. From a digging standpoint we've got a long way to go. I think this team needs to understand that defense comes first. Players at this level sometimes become so offensive minded. Their game revolves around what they're doing attacking the ball and they forget that they can have a huge impact defensively as well. There are definitely some points we left on the board over the weekend that I wish we could have back defensively. We've made a big push at that this week in practice.
bc.net: Nathalie Castellanos played some good minutes for you this weekend in the tournament. What did you like about her play?
MJ: She's a great athlete and she's learning. She gives us a little extra pop offensively on that right side. I think she's a good defender in terms of her athletic ability and the effort level. She can definitely make an impact and I think we'll see her play more and more as the season goes on. There are parts of her game that need to improve for sure but she's pushing for time and I think she'll continue to earn it.
bc.net: A lot of times from week one to week two you see a marked improvements. What were some things you saw that were improvements over week one?
MJ: I think we served the ball fairly well consistently from match to match. Northwestern might have been an exception. We've gotten off to a good start from the service line and we've seen improvement from some there. Our serve receive game has been steady for the most part. We're starting to settle in that way. Offensively we've got a better idea of what we want to do from week one to week two. I just think defensively we've got to make strides and make them pretty fast.
bc.net: This weekend you're at the Colorado State tournament which is more than likely going to be your toughest weekend of the season. What are you looking for from your team this week?
MJ: We've got to take care of business in the first match. We're going to play one at a time, it's a cliche but it's important. We'll try to take care of business with FIU and then we'll worry about Pepperdine. Pepperdine along with Colorado State pose a real threat. They're athletic, they're experienced, they're winning programs with great tradition. They're used to winning a lot of matches and they've got the talent to do so but so do we. I think if we just prepare ourselves well and take care of ourselves, we've got a good shot at winning.
bc.net: With the three teams you're facing this weekend in FIU, Pepperdine and Colorado State, what are the differences in the style of play from the three?
MJ: Pepperdine and CSU I think are going to be fairly similar, big, physical teams. Pepperdine has had some great ball control teams in the past but I'm not sure how good a ball control team this one is yet. FIU, we don't know a whole lot about; we've just started watching them on video. They're not going to be as physically imposing as Pepperdine or CSU but they're still going to be a solid ball club with experience and we're going to have to play well to win.