bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview

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bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/06/17

bleedCrimson.net: You picked up a pair of wins over the weekend and it was the best offensive performance you've had from your middles all season and I'm sure something you've been waiting to see for quite a while.
Mike Jordan: Yeah, we're working hard at point scoring in other spots besides Sasha and our outside hitters. When Brielle Sterns was in the lineup before she got hurt and obviously Jordan Abalos before she got hurt, we had five players right away that could score points. We knew Lia Mosher would eventually get to that point this season where she could score more for us and that's starting to happen. But obviously you want as many players in the lineup that can score as possible. It just makes life so much easier. To our players' credit, they're all working hard at adjusting their games and making themselves more available, especially in transition in the middle. We're finding them and they're doing good things.

bc.net: Megan Hart had arguably the best back-to-back games that she's had maybe in her entire time at NMSU. What allowed her to have, I don't know if you want to call it a breakout but certainly her best weekend overall?
MJ: It's been part of the goal of this group, to make everyone a little bit better offensively, to do a little bit more. She's working harder at attacking with more pace and she's put some heat on the ball and she's done very well. There's a reason we recruited her. She's 6-4, 6-5 and she has arm speed. She's just got to be more aggressive and make herself more available more often and she can score. We're happy to see some progress. I'm hopeful that it'll continue.  Continue Reading This Post >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/31/17

bleedCrimson.net: Last week you talked about wanting to see your team go on the road and play consistently well. You picked up a pair of sweeps but did you see the consistency that you were looking for?
Mike Jordan: I think in some aspects of the game we did. I thought we were pretty efficient offensively all weekend which was great. We passed the ball fairly well the majority of the time. Really the only issue that we had passing it was Carvajal's serve at Chicago State. She has a pretty tough jumper that gave us fits in just one stretch where they were able to go on a couple of point runs in the second set. I thought we did a pretty good job at the service line. There were a couple of people I would have liked to have served it a little tougher but we were pretty solid in those aspects.

We could have blocked it better in a couple areas and defensively we missed a couple of assignments against Chicago State in the first two sets but other than that it was a pretty good weekend and any time you can go on the road and come away with a couple of sweeps and nobody gets hurt, you've gotta be overjoyed. Especially when it gets you back into first place.

bc.net: It was a pretty low error weekend for you offensively, especially the Chicago State match. Are you starting to see your players have better recognition of the decisions they should be making offensively?
MJ: I think it's going in the right direction. I wouldn't say we're great at it yet. We've got some younger players who still have a long ways to go. Every match presents a different dilemma. Teams play different defenses, they have different blocking schemes. Sometimes they change and you have to be adaptable all the time. I think that's the next step in the growth. One team on Thursday will do one thing and another team on Saturday will do something else and you've got to be on point and pick it up quick what they're trying to do to you and work your way around it. Truthfully, I don't think there are that many college volleyball players out there that are great at it. I think there's a large percentage of volleyball players that can physically outmatch their opponent but tactically still have a long ways to go and our players are no different. A lot of it is new to them and it requires a lot of effort on their part in preparation and getting outside your comfort zone or outside the norm. I think we're working at it. I see small change and small improvement and that's a positive.  Continue Reading This Post >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/24/17

bleedCrimson.net: You picked up a good win on Saturday over UTRGV, your thoughts on the match?
Mike Jordan: There was a lot of emotion in that one. Obviously we were looking forward to competing and then a few points into the first set and Hannah Combs goes down with a dislocated knee and that changes things dynamically for us. We went from, "Hey, let's get after it and compete, we think we're gonna win," kind of attitude to, "Okay, now how do we piece this together in her absence, already being shorthanded." I know some of our players were really upset about Hannah getting hurt and felt terribly for her and the impact that can have on you when you see one of your teammates go down like that. You have to manage that as a team. I was pretty happy with our response. We didn't play all that well for a little while but we kept ourselves in the game and managed to go on a couple of point runs in the first set and snuck away with a 'W' in game one and I think that helped quite a bit. Game two we made a lot of errors, we didn't get some production out of a couple of people that we needed to get so when we dropped that set we decided to make a couple of changes, not only to the lineup but to what we were doing. The players did a good job. They came together, executed better and it was a good win.

bc.net: As a coach, how do you focus your team after something like that. It's something that you've had to deal with several times througout the past 10 years or so. You had Stephanie Ziegler go down at the beginning of a match at the beginning of a season, you had Krista Altermatt went down in the fifth set of a WAC title match against Hawai'i. Unfortunately, you've had experience with this type of thing. How do you deal with that with the team?
MJ: Well in the moment it's really just about getting them to understand that injuries are a part of the game and they'll be back eventually and they'll be okay and they're going to get taken care of and now we've gotta push the restart button and get going again. Easier said than done. You really rely maybe on the adrenaline and the competitiveness of your team. They're the ones that really have to help each other and find ways to compensate for the loss of a teammate. I think the players have done a good job of that in the past. It's certainly no fun. You start to feel a little bit paranoid or snakebit sometimes when you have things like this happening to the team. You get in there and again, it's a opportunity for somebody to step up and do a little bit more to help their team win.  Continue Reading This Post >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/17/17

bleedCrimson.net: 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.

bc.net: 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 >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/11/17

bleedCrimson.net: 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.

bc.net: 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 >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/02/17

bleedCrimson.net: 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 >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/28/17

bleedCrimson.net: 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 >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/19/17

bleedCrimson.net: 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 >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/12/ 17

bleedCrimson.net: 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.

bc.net: 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 >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 11/23/16

bleedCrimson.net: 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 >>