bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the past week's matches at Utah State, a loss, and San Jose State, a win?
Mike Jordan: Utah State of course has a good team and we're disappointed that we lost. I'm more disappointed the way we played. If we were standing on a beach we couldn't hit it in the ocean. That's how bad we were. We were just so error prone, made a ton of attack errors, a ton of service errors, some at crucial points. We had sizable leads at different points in the first two games and we would just hemorrhage points at times and let them back into it. It was difficult to watch, it was frustrating. It's uncommon for this team to be so error prone. It was by far the worst match we've had from an attack error standpoint that we've had. Lou Henson told me a long time ago that your team is going to play bad three times a year and there's not much you can do about it. That just happened to be one of those nights. You've just gotta get past it and move on.
We did a pretty good job of preparing for San Jose. We played very well for the better part of the first two sets. We were dominating the second set and we let them score some points late which drew my ire a little bit. It seemed like we took our foot off the gas pedal so to speak which is frustrating because we've done that a lot this year. But games three and four were pretty good volleyball. I think San Jose State played really well and we were good in stretches. Not consistently so but good enough to win on the road against a solid team. From a bounce back standpoint I'll take it.
bc.net: Aside the attack errors was that a self-inflicted issue or was it something that Utah State was doing that caused the girls problems?
MJ: I think they were mostly self-inflicted. Utah State served it fairly well, not super tough. We didn't pass well which created a lot of bad sets and a lot of bad swings and when you're doing that, you're going to run the risk of making attack errors. The one thing you've gotta give Utah State credit for is they block well. They're long, they do a good job of fronting and making you change direction. When we did unfortunately we made a lot of errors and that's disappointing.
bc.net: This week you're back home against UTSA and Texas State. This will be the first time you're facing both of these teams in league play.
MJ: I think they're both solid teams. UTSA has been playing well other than a match with Idaho a couple weeks ago. They've won six of their last seven. They're playing well, they've got some nice athletes. McKenzie Adams is one of the more physical players in the conference. Playing at home is always a nice thing, get the crowd behind you again. It helps you through the rough spots a little bit and with this young team I think it's something that we need. We're going to have to play well for sure.
bc.net: This isn't the first time you've played Texas State so you're familiar with their style of play. Other than their personnel, is there anything different from the last time you played them?
MJ: They're using a two setter system. They have a transfer setter from Cincinnati who I think is a solid player. I don't think a lot has changed, they've got quite a few players back from last year's team. Teams can change a lot from year-to-year in terms of their style of play though so we'll make sure we've got a good scout on them and that we're not taking anything for granted.
bc.net: Obviously you want to win all the matches at home but in terms of keeping pace with Utah state and you have two straight weeks on the road, does it make these two matches any more important than they might normally be?
MJ: No. They're all important. We're at the midway point of the conference season and if you want to win the regular season title then you've gotta obviously try to win every game. Each one is equally as important as far as I'm concerned. The old cliche, "You've gotta take it one day at a time," is very true. You can't look past anyone otherwise you're gonna get beat.
bc.net: One of the things you had talked about a lot in the offseason was the non-conference scheduling and the RPI numbers have come out and were a bit surprising in that over the last two weeks you've been 99th and 96th. Were you surprised to see yourselves that low?
MJ: Before the season started if you had told me we were going to be that low I would have been surprised. But Cincinnati has struggled out of the gate with one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country. A big part of the RPI is your opponent's winning percentage and they just haven't been winning until recently. Now that they're in conference hopefully they'll start to win and hopefully their RPI will start to climb. As theirs climbs our climbs. Drake has had a really bad year, they've only got one or two wins. I knew they wouldn't be a strong team this year but you always hope they'll win at least a handful of games. North Dakota State has had a real down year. Northern Illinois isn't as strong as last year. From an RPI standpoint some teams that we thought were going to be pretty good have struggled so far and it's affected our RPI. Once we get a few more weeks under our belt and see where everybody's at maybe it'll climb a little bit. But at this point we're not really focused on that. We're focused on improving ourselves and winning the automatic bid.
bc.net: Coaches talk every year about parity in a league but really this year maybe more so than any other year and definitely more so than I've ever seen in a conference situation, there's a lot of parity among the teams. Seattle is second to last in the league but has gone five with everybody they've played in the WAC except the two Texas schools you face this week.
MJ: Yeah there's a ton of parity and it's certainly that way across the country. The other day Iowa who is at or near the bottom of the Big Ten knocks off Purdue who is probably by most people's accounts one of the top three teams in the Big Ten. So yeah, it can happen on any night. That's why I say you can't look past anyone. You've gotta prepare really well each time out and when you go on the road you've gotta be ready to go or you can get knocked off. I think the same holds true in our conference but we're also seeing that across the country.
bc.net: In terms of your team and getting better on the road is it just a matter of getting more experience playing on the road?
MJ: It's a combination of things. You need experience but you also need leadership. Veteran players take over and they take over in crunch time but they also take over when things aren't going real well. We haven't really seen anyone step up at those particular times. So it's part of not having a senior who plays. Part of it is we graduated five players, all of whom played. We've got new faces on the floor getting their feet wet all the time. There are literally times when we've got two freshmen and two redshirt freshmen on the floor at the same time so you're gonna have some headaches. There will be some bumps in the road.