This week: The New Mexico State volleyball team takes on two WAC opponents on the road this week facing Utah State and San Jose State in their arenas. The Aggies face Utah State, Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. (MT) in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. NM State then faces the Spartans in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. (MT) in Spartan Gym. The Aggies (5-0 WAC) head into the week atop the WAC standings, while Utah State (5-1 WAC) sits in second and San Jose State (3-3 WAC) is currently in fifth.
Radio Coverage: The Aggie Sports Network is producing 13 matches on KSNM AM 570 this season, along with any matches in the post season. Both matches this week are scheduled to air with Jay Sanderson giving the play-by-play action.
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 and The Aggie Student-Athlete).
About the Aggies: The Aggies are 11-4 on the year after going 1-1 last week. NM State had a 14-match winning streak going against its rival, UTEP, before falling 3-2 last week in El Paso. The Aggies, however, bounced back and swept Denver in WAC action on Saturday.
The Aggies are out-hitting their opponent .237-.178 with middle blocker Desiree Scott leading the way with a .322 hitting percentage. Sophomore Meredith Hays leads the way with 4.22 kills per set, while junior Lauren Loerch adds 2.37 per set and junior Preslie Alexander tallies 2.08 per set.
NM State runs a 6-2 offense using two setters with junior Ciara Brown marking 5.69 assists per set and freshman Taylor Livoti posting 4.75 per set. Sophomore Maggi Jo Keffury gets in on occasion and is averaging 3.36 assists per set.
Outside hitter Preslie Alexander: Junior Preslie Alexander marked a career-high .706 hitting percentage in a sweep over Denver, Sept. 29. That day she tallied 13 kills on 17 swings with only one error. Alexander has posted double-digit kill figures in six different matches including a career-high 14 against Northwestern, Sept. 1.
Middle blocker Desiree Scott: Junior middle blocker Desiree Scott posted a .545 hitting percentage last week as the Aggies fell in five sets in a non-conference match before sweeping Denver in WAC play. Scott marked a career-high 14 kills and three errors against rival UTEP, Wednesday, Sept. 26 to finish the evening with a .550 hitting percentage, while she added four total blocks and a dig on the defensive side of the net. She posted eight kills and one error on 13 swings against the Pioneers for a .538 hitting percentage. Scott heads into the week hitting .415 in WAC play with 36 kills and only nine errors on 65 attempts. She has posted 29 total blocks averaging 1.45 per set in league play.
Outside hitter Nathalie Castellanos: Freshman outside hitter Nathalie Castellanos posted a career-high nine kills and a career-high 21 attempts in a five-set loss to rival, UTEP. She also tallied a career-high four digs that day and is averaging 1.49 kills per set on the year. Castellanos is hitting .238 on the year and has put up 18 total blocks for her team. She has marked at least six kills in the last five matches.
Defensive specialist Hannah Walker: Junior defensive specialist Hannah Walker marked career-high three service aces as the Aggies swept Denver, Sept. 29. She now has 14 on the year, which ranks second on the team. Walker tallied a career-high 22 digs in a five-set win over Seattle, Sept. 13 and is averaging 2.63 digs per set this season. Walker has tallied double-digit dig figures in nine matches this year and has marked at least 20 digs in two matches (vs. CSU & Seattle).
Setter Maggi Jo Keffury: Sophomore Maggi Jo Keffury is the third setter for NM State and posted a career-high 23 assists against UTEP, Sept. 29. Keffury has seen action in 25 sets this season and is averaging 3.36 assists per set. She has marked double-digit assist figures in five matches this year, after she posted only seven assists during the 2011 season. Keffury also has two kills, three service aces and 24 digs on the year.
Aggies in the WAC: NM State is first overall in the WAC at 5-0 in conference play. NM State is 94-21 all-time in WAC play.
The Aggies rank second in hitting percentages at .237 and in service aces per set with 1.35. They are third in assists per set (12.10), blocks per set (2.51) and kills per set (13.23). In WAC matches, NM State leads with a .253 hitting percentage while holding their opponents at .136, leading the WAC. The Aggies rank second in blocks per set in WAC matches with 2.90. Individually in the WAC, Hays is ranked second in points with 4.82 per set and kills with 4.22 per set. She also is ranked No. 6 in service aces with 0.28 per set. Scott is ranked fifth in both hitting percentage with .322 and blocks per set with 1.15. She also leads in hitting percentage at WAC matches at .415. Brown is ranked No. 10 in assists with 5.69 per set.
Aggies in the Nation: The Aggies are 49th place in blocks per set with 2.51. NM State also ranks 57th in match W-L percentage at 0.733. In hitting percentage, the Aggies are ranked 68th with 0.237. In the nation, Hays is ranked 28th in points per set (4.83) and 29th in kill per set (4.22). Scott ranks 94th with 1.15 blocks per set.
Record Watch: Sophomore Meredith Hays has 753 kills on her career and still needs 430 more to jump into the top 10 for kills in a career. Former Aggie Alice Borden is No. 10 on the all-time list with 1,183 kills in her career (2003-06). Hays is averaging 4.35 kills per set on her career which is a top the all-time kills per set list at NM State.
Junior Desiree Scott has 221 career-total blocks heading into this week's play. She needs 98 more total blocks to enter the top 10 at NM State. Former Aggies Kelsey Brennan (2008-11) and Whitney Woods (2007-10) are tied for 10th in career-total blocks with 319.
This Week's Opponents
Aggies vs. San Jose State: NM State is 23-9 all-time against San Jose State. The last time the Aggies played the Spartans; they beat them 3-0 in Las Vegas, Nev., on Nov. 21, 2011. NM State also beat San Jose State in three sets when they last played in Las Cruces, NM, on October 15, 2011.
O'Reilly leads the Spartans in hitting percentage (.332) and kills per set (3.10). In assists, Leonard leads San Jose State and the WAC with 11.26 per set. Pieper leads in digs with 3.97 per set.
Aggies vs. Utah State: The Aggies are 40-27 in the series against Utah State. On Oct. 27, 2011, the Aggies played Utah State in Logan, Utah, and lost 3-2. The last home game was a 3-0 win for the Aggies over Utah State on Oct. 1, 2011.
Brainard leads the Utah State Aggies with a .309 hitting percentage and 1.55 blocks per set. White leads Utah State in kills per set with 2.97. In digs per set, Rogers tallies 4.04 for Utah State.
WAC Tournanment Tickets Now on Sale: Tickets for the 2012 WAC Volleyball Tournament are on sale now. The tournament will be held Nov. 19-21 at the Convocation Center in San Antonio, Texas, on the campus of UTSA. The 2012 tournament will consist of seven matches in three sessions (one session per day). Ticket prices are as follows: All-Session: $21 Single-Session Adult: $10 Single-Session Senior/Youth: $7 Single-Session WAC Students: $5 Children two and under do not need a ticket. Tickets can be purchased online at goutsa.com or by calling (210) 458-UTSA.
2012 WAC Tournament Schedule:
Monday, Nov. 19 (Quarterfinals)
Match 1 - No. 6 seed vs. No. 3 seed, noon
Match 2 - No. 7 seed vs. No. 2 seed, 2:30 p.m.
Match 3 - No. 5 seed vs. No. 4 seed, 5 p.m.
Match 4 - No. 8 seed vs. No. 1 seed, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 20 (Semifinals)
Match 5 - Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2, 4 p.m.
Match 6 - Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 21 (Championship)
Match 7 - Winner Match 5 vs. Winner Match 6, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
CSU Ram's Classic All-Tournament Team: Sophomore Meredith Hays was named to 2012 Rams Volleyball Classic All-Tournament team after she averaged 4.45 kills and 2.09 digs per set in three matches. Hays started the weekend with 11 kills as she led the Aggies to their first sweep of the year, defeating FIU on Friday, Sept. 7. Hays then marked 22 kills on a .318 hitting percentage in a 3-1 loss to No. 12 Pepperdine before posting her fourth double-double of the season as she added 13 digs. Hays heads into WAC play averaging 4.60 kills per set which is second in the league, but leads the conference in points per set with 5.31.
Scott on All-Tournament Team: Junior middle hitter Desiree Scott was named to the La Quinta Invitational Tournament after she marked 21 kills (1.75/set), a .389 hitting percentage and 13 total blocks. Six of those blocks were solo.
Scott had a great offensive showing against Cincinnati, Aug. 31 as she tallied eight kills on nine swings without an error for a .889 hitting percentage. In the very next match, against Drake, Scott did work on the defensive side of the net tallying seven total blocks, five of them solo. She also added eight kills to lead the Aggies to their fifth consecutive win of the year.
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.
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 319-141 overall record, and 94-21 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.