Weekly Coach Jordan Interview

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/ on line 33. 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 >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/25/16 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/25/16 The team picked up a couple of wins last week, a five set win over Utah Valley and then a sweep of Seattle.
Mike Jordan: To go on the road against two quality teams and get wins is great. Again, two different matches. A high error match with Utah Valley and then our outside hitters did a much better job against Seattle in making attack choices and we located it a little bit better and really did a good job defensively and at the service line in both matches. I saw a lot of really good things and any time you get two wins on the road to pad your lead a little bit down the stretch is great. Tatyana Battle had an outstanding night against Utah Valley with 26 kills and she was really dominant in that fourth set and even though you didn’t win that set she had nine kills and three more in the fifth and carried that over against Seattle. What did you see from her this past weekend?
MJ: She started the Utah Valley match and she made some pretty bad errors and then she got better quickly and that’s key. She didn’t struggle for long. I think after about the middle of the second set she was getting it going pretty good. Obviously we’d like to see somebody play well the whole match but I think the sign of really good players is that they make mistakes sporadically and not in bunches. I was happy to see her bounce back maybe a little quicker than she has sometimes. She made a lot of key plays for us and not just attacking it but at the service line and she made some good digs. She’s an improving player and her upside is pretty good.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/18/16 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/18/16 Your team picked up two wins last week against UMKC and Chicago State but lost at UNM. In the UMKC match you were playing out of system due to an injury to setter Crash Parker. How do you feel your team handled that situation?
Mike Jordan: It was a difficult adjustment. This team is not built for a 5-1, we’re built for a 6-2. We’ll scrimmage every once in a while with the setters in the front row but offensively we’re not really built for a 5-1. It was difficult at times but we got better as the match went on. We figured a few things out. Adapting to injuries is part of what athletes and teams have to do and we did an okay job of it. I don’t think we played great, I don’t think we were as sharp as we needed to be but I thought we made plays when we needed to. How do you think Brianna played with having to play all six rotations and having to play in the front row with the additional playing time from playing full time and playing a five set match?
MJ: She’s in pretty good shape and I think she handled it physically fine. It changes your decision making so that was a difficult adjustment but I thought she got better as the match went on and made some good plays for us.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/11/16 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/11/16 You picked up a pair of wins last week, a sweep against UTEP and a sweep against UTRGV. The UTEP match was a lot of the same stuff we’ve talked about the last two or three weeks where you have a huge advantage in kills but are playing close sets and then the UTRGV match you have a match where the kill numbers are close but the set scores look more like what you would have expected from the UTEP box score.
Mike Jordan: Yeah, they were two completely different matches. Both were sweeps but the UTEP match was a lot of the same for a couple sets which is us scoring our points and theirs for them as well and making it closer than it needed to be until the third set. Again, it’s not an overnight fix. We’re not going to go from one week to the next and show huge improvement. We’re just hoping to limit the number of sets in which we get high error. I think if you start seeing us go from nine or ten errors a set to six and seven more often, if that’s our high watermark, then we’re making progress. We do that some sets. We can have as few as two or three unforced errors but it’s consistency throughout a match that we’re looking for and we just haven’t reached that yet.

UTRGV we did a lot of things right for two sets and they were a little bit more high error than normal. We did a good job of defending them and giving ourselves transition opportunities to score. I think a few of our players offensively played well and I think pretty much everyone played well defensively. I was happy with that effort. The third set they made a switch which kind of threw us for a loop for a little bit. We finally got it figured out and made the adjustments we needed to make but I think it was a pretty good performance. Not unbelievable. We had a couple of players struggle offensively but I think we did what we needed to to get a win against a good team.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/04/16 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/04/16 You picked up a pair of wins on the road this past weekend at Bakersfield and Grand Canyon. You talked about Bakersfield being one of the most competitive teams in the WAC and I thought the Aggies played well particularly in closing out the sets.
Mike Jordan: Yeah, I challenged the team last week. Part of the growth process is learning how to compete. Sometimes we have a tendency to think Division I athletes are going to be competitive people all the time and that’s really not true. I think being competitive is something some of them have to learn. Many of them grew up the best player on their team and were never really challenged that much or come from backgrounds where nobody really challenged them that much. Learning how to compete is very important. I had a conversation with Don Ball our former tennis coach and Don said he thinks that those who grow up playing individual sports such as swimming or tennis, track and field, have a leg up in learning competitiveness early on. I think that’s true. I challenged them because I think the Bakersfield team is always excited to play and perform. They know that we’re a good team and they get up for us and I think they get up for everybody. I think they compete against everybody. They understand their deficiencies that they’re not real big but they play their butts off. They’re fun to watch. I think you can come out on top if you’re a super competitive group and win some games that maybe you’re playing against better talent. I challenged us to rise up to their competitive level or try and surpass it. I told them I’m not sure what I’m going to see but I’m looking forward to seeing something different from us. I think they took that as a challenge and did a good job with it.  Continue Reading This Post >>