This week: The New Mexico State volleyball team opens the 2012 home schedule with the La Quinta Invitational, Friday, Aug. 1 and Saturday, Aug. 2 at the Pan American Center. The tournament features the Aggies, Cincinnati, Drake and Northwestern. NM State takes on Cincinnati in its first match of the tournament, Friday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. (MT) before facing Drake, Saturday, Sept. 1 at 12:30 p.m. (MT). The Aggies conclude the tournament with a match against Northwestern, Saturday at 7 p.m. (MT).
Radio Coverage: The Aggie Sports Network is producing 15 matches on KSNM AM 570 this season, along with any matches in the post season. Both matches on Saturday are scheduled to air over the radio waves with Kyle Doperalski giving the play-by-play action, although Friday's match is not.
The matches airing over the radio waves produced by the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces can also be heard from anywhere around the world on the Internet by logging onto www.NMStateSports.com. Just click on the live events link to access the coverage for a fee.
Television Coverage: The NM State volleyball team will have six matches on TV this year. The AggieVision Production team has the following matches scheduled to air on TV: Louisiana Tech - Sept. 20; UTSA - Oct. 11; Texas State - Oct. 13; San Jose State - Nov. 1; Utah State - Nov. 3.
Matches produced by AggieVision will also air on ESPN3.com (free of charge) and fans should check local listings for airtimes in their area. Fans can also go to www.AggieVision.tv for channel listings.
Live Stats on the Web: Live stats will be available for fans at www.NMStateSports.com at no cost all season long. Fans can click on the Live Events link at the top of the NMStateSports.com home page to access the live stats.
Twitter/Facebook: Get all the updates of Aggie Athletics on Twitter and Facebook. Get in-game statistics and in-game updates on Twitter @NMStateAggies. Find out about all Aggie Athletics promotions and events on Facebook @NMSU Athletics.
About NM State: After finishing last year with a 23-10 record, the Aggies were picked the win the WAC in the league preseason coaches poll. The Aggies return starting outside hitters Meredith Hays and Stephanie Ziegler, while losing three-time honorable mention All-American setter Jennah DeVries and three-time All-WAC selection middle hitter Kelsey Brennan. NM State also lost libero Kelsi Phillips, who is in the top 10 in the Aggie record books for digs per set in a season.
Head coach Mike Jordan, who is in his 15th season with NM State, is anxious to see what redshirt freshman outside hitter Bradley Nash can bring to the court after she went down with a season-ending injury in the first match of the 2011 season (vs. Nebraska).
NM State opened the 2012 season with three consecutive wins to bring home the NIU Invitational title. The Aggies posted a .244 hitting percentage last week and held their opponents to a .140 hitting percentage. NM State is averaging 12.92 kills and 14.08 digs per set heading into this weekend's tournament.
Good Start: The Aggies started their season 3-0 for the first time since 2009. That year NM State finished with a 20-9 record and just missed out on the NCAA tournament. NM State started 4-0 in 2007 and finished the year with a 26-6 record, while reaching the NCAA Tournament and falling to LSU in the first round.
WAC Player of the Week: New Mexico State sophomore outside hitter Meredith Hays has been named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 20-26. This is the first-ever WAC Player of the Week honor for Hays.
Hays, a native of Hereford, Texas, tallied 63 kills, 29 digs, five assists and five blocks over three matches en route to earning MVP honors at the Northern Illinois Invitational last week. She averaged 5.25 kills on .348 hitting, 2.42 digs, 0.42 assists and 0.42 blocks as she led New Mexico State to the tournament title with wins over Wichita State, North Dakota State and Northern Illinois. Hays opened the week with 20 kills, eight digs and two blocks in a win over Wichita State, which received votes in the AVCA preseason poll. Against North Dakota State, Hays posted a double-double of 25 kills on .400 hitting and 10 digs. She closed out the tournament with 18 kills, 11 digs and three blocks at Northern Illinois for her 14th career double-double. She posted the match-high in kills in all three matches.
NIU All-Tournament: Sophomore Meredith Hays was named the NIU Tournament MVP, while juniors Desiree Scott and Preslie Alexander joined her on the all-tournament team. Scott finished the tournament with 18 kills and 16 total blocks while Alexander averaged 2.42 kills per set in 12 sets played. This is Scott's third year with the Aggies, while Alexander is a transfer from Blinn Junior College.
Aggies vs. Cincinnati: The Aggies are 1-1 all-time against Cincinnati. NM State defeated the Bearcats 3-1 in Las Cruces on Sept. 3, 2005 and got swept by them on Sept. 6, 2003.
Jordanne Scott leads the Bearcats offensively with 4.25 kills per set and Madison Lang and Rachel Rohlfs are splitting the setting duties posting 8.71 and 9.50 assists per set respectively.
Aggies vs. Drake: NM State is 1-0 against the Drake Bulldogs. The Aggies won the only match on Sept. 6, 2002, 3-0 in Green Bay, Wisc.
Aggies vs. Northwestern: The Aggies are 0-2 against Northwestern, falling to the Wildcats both times in Evanston, Ill. This will be the first meeting between the two teams in Las Cruces.
NM State dropped its second match of the day losing in three sets to Northwestern, 25-18, 25-22, 25-19 in the 2011 Wildcat Classic being held in the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., Sept. 17, 2011. NM State struggled throughout the match and ended the night with just a .100 hitting percentage. Northwestern finished the evening hitting .217 as a team. Freshman Meredith Hays came up with her sixth double-double of the year as she was the only Aggie with double-digit kill figures marking 12 on the night to go along with 10 digs. Senior libero Kelsi Phillips had a team-high 14 digs, while sophomore middle hitter Desiree Scott led the way with six block assists and added four kills.
WAC Preseason Poll: The WAC volleyball coaches selected NM State to win the WAC regular season title in 2012. The Aggies received eight of the 10 first-place votes with Idaho earning the other two. The Aggies earned 79 total points, followed by Idaho with 67. UTSA was picked to finish third with 58 points, followed closely by Utah State in fourth with 57 points and Texas State in fifth with 52. Denver was picked sixth with 43 points, while San Jose State was selected seventh with 34 points. UT Arlington, Seattle U and Louisiana Tech rounded out the poll with 27, 18 and 15 points, respectively.
Preseason All-WAC: NM State placed the most players on the preseason All-WAC team with three, including sophomore Meredith Hays as Preseason Player of the Year, while Idaho, UTSA and Utah State had two apiece.
Joining Hays on the preseason team are teammates Lauren Loerch and Desiree Scott, Idaho's Alex Sele and Allison Walker, UTSA's McKenzie Adams and Whitney Walls, Utah State's Shay Sorensen and Joselyn White, Denver's Faimie Kingsley, San Jose State's Alex Akana and Texas State's Amari Deardorff.
Hays, was a 2011 first team All-WAC member as a freshman and was also the 2011 Freshman of the Year. She was only the second Aggie ever to earn that honor. She led the WAC and ranked 18th in the nation in both kills per set (4.42) and points per set (4.94). Hays also led the WAC with 500 kills on the season. Scott played in 98 sets as a sophomore last season, ranking second on the team in blocks per set (0.78) and third in total blocks (76). She was a perfect six kills on six attempts during a sweep of Utah State on Oct. 1, 2011. Loerch, a cousin of former Aggie great Stevi (Adams) Maytubby, comes to NM State as a transfer from California. She was a part of the 2010 Bear team that reached the NCAA National Championship match against Penn State.
Returning Top Stats Leaders: The Aggies welcome back outside hitter Meredith Hays, who not only led her team but led the WAC with 4.42 kills per set. Redshirt junior Stephanie Ziegler was third on the team in 2011 with 2.17 kills per set. Unfortunately, NM State lost Kelsi Phillips who led the team in service aces (35) and digs (4.13/set) and will look to some newcomers to replace her. Hays was third on the team last year in digs (2.53/set), while junior Desiree Scott was third in total blocks (76).
Jordan Back for 15th Season: Head coach Mike Jordan enters his 15 year with NM State and heads into the weekend with a 311-138 overall record, and 89-21 in WAC play. He earned WAC Coach of the Year honors in 2005, 2006 and 2008 and also earned Coach of the Year honors twice in the Sun Belt Conference (2003 and 2004).
Jordan is the only NM State volleyball head coach to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament, which he has done five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008). He is also the only Aggie head coach to ever lead his team to a conference title as he led his team to titles in both the Sun Belt Conference and the WAC. NM State is the first team to either share or hold the WAC regular-season title since BYU and Hawai'i shared the Pacific Division title in 1998.