Aggie Volleyball Heads to San Diego for NCAA Tournament - First and Second Rounds
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  12/03/2013

This Week: The Aggie volleyball team, 2013 Western Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champion, heads to the NCAA volleyball tournament and takes on Arizona, Friday, Dec. 6 in San Diego, Calif. with the match set to start at 6 p.m. (MT). If the Aggies win that match, they will move on to the second round to face the winner of UC-Santa Barbara and No. 9 national seed San Diego on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Radio Coverage: The Aggie Sports Network is scheduled to air all post season matches on KSNM AM 570.  Radio of Las Cruces will carry the match against Arizona on KSNM AM 570 with Jay Sanderson giving the play-by-play action.  A pregame show will begin at 5:30 p.m. (MT).

The matches airing 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.

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).

Live Video Streaming: All NCAA Tournament volleyball matches will be available online at NCAA.org while the link can also be found on the NM State volleyball schedule page online at www.NMStateSports.com.

About the Aggies: Heading into the NCAA Volleyball Tournament one might say the New Mexico State Aggies finished their volleyball season very strong. This would be an understatement after a shaky start to the 2013 season. Under Head Coach Mike Jordan, the Aggies started off their regular season with a 3-7 start in the first 10 matches. This is hardly the start you would expect from the defending WAC Champions.

The turning point in the season seemed to come during a tournament that NM State co-hosted with I-10 Rival UTEP in late September. The team beat Hampton (19-10), who also was also seeded in the NCAA Tournament, in a sloppy showing 3 sets to 1.

Almost like clockwork, the Aggies drastically improved in all areas on the court. As a team they had an overall hitting percentage of .227 and held teams to .137. After their 3-7 start, the Aggies seemed to be a different team completely as they finished the regular season 22-10 including a 14-2 record in the WAC; a team record that seeded them as the No. 1 seed going into the WAC tournament in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Aggies struggled a little bit against No. 4 seeded Idaho, but pulled out the match after a slow start (3-2).  NM State saw four players earn double-doubles in the match (the most for the Aggies this season) with Taylor Livoti earning 28 assists and 10 digs. Bradley Nash had 10 kills and 23 digs, Stephanie Ziegler earned a career-high 18 kills and 23 digs and Ciara Brown had 31 assists and 11 digs.

New Mexico State then advanced to the championship match to face No. 2 seed Bakersfield. The team earned its second straight Western Athletic Conference Tournament title in straight sets (25-9, 25-12, 25-16) on Wednesday, Nov. 27 giving them an automatic bid for the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Senior Desiree Scott was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Senior Stephanie Ziegler, senior Ciara Brown and redshirt sophomore Bradley Nash each earned all-tournament honors.

The Aggies are led by WAC Player of the Year and WAC Tournament MVP Desiree Scott, who averages 2.62 kills on .372 hitting and 1.33 blocks per set. Scott and the rest of the Aggies will travel to San Diego, Calif., to face Arizona the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 5 p.m. (PT) this Friday, Dec. 6.

Arizona (20-12) earned an at-large bid out of the Pacific-12 Conference. The Wildcats tied for fifth in the Pac-12 with a 10-10 conference mark. Arizona is led by Madi Kingdon, who averages 4.38 kills and 3.19 digs per set.

This will be the seventh time Mike Jordan has taken the NM State Aggies have made the NCAA Tournament with a (1-6) record to date. The Aggies have had an upswing season to date, and they aren’t finished just yet.

Aggies in the NCAA Tournament: The Aggies make their seventh NCAA appearance in school history this season. NM State is 1-6 all-time in the NCAA tournament, defeating St. Mary’s in the first round of the tournament in 2008 for their lone victory. This will be the Aggies’ second trip to San Diego of the tournament and the third time NM State has traveled to the state of California to play in the NCAA. NM State has faced seven different opponents in the NCAA Tournament, including Arizona this season. The Aggies have faced BYU twice in 2003 and 2012. Head coach Mike Jordan has been the coach for NM State all seven times the Aggies have qualified for the tournament. Four times the Aggies have entered the NCAA Tournament after winning its conference championship, twice as members of the Sun Belt in 2003 and 2004 and twice as members of the WAC in 2012 and 2013.

Year                       Opponent                           Result

2003                       BYU                                        L

2004                       San Diego                            L

2006                       Colorado                              L

2007                       LSU                                        L

2008                       St. Mary’s                            W

2008                       California                             L

2012                       BYU                                        L

2013                       Arizona                                 ?

Record Watch: As the season nears its end senior Desiree Scott is still climbing to the top of NM State record books. Scott has a total of 360 block assists on her career and is close behind former Aggie middle, Jonna Steffens (1989-92) who is No. 3 on the all-time block assist list with 383.

With her second solo block of the match against Utah Valley, Thursday, Nov. 21, Scott reached the century mark in solo blocks.  She is currently No. 5 on the all-time solo block list at NM State and is just the fifth player ever to reach 100 solo blocks in a career at NM State.

With Scott’s ability to block her opponents at the net, Scott has tallied 460 total blocks in her career at NM State. This puts her just three total blocks behind Kim Oguh (2004-07) who is No. 3 on the all-time list with 463 in her career.

Scott is currently sitting in the No. 3 spot in the NM State record books with a .339 hitting percentage in her career since 2010.

Scouting the Wildcats:  Arizona enters the tournament with an overall record of 20-12 after defeating in-state rival Arizona State in their final match of the year.  Nadi Kingdon leads the Wildcats with a team-high 482 kills, while posting a .207 hitting percentage and coming up with 351 digs.  Penina Snuka runs the team’s offense, while recording 1,137 assists while leading her team to a .214 team-hitting percentage.

Aggies against Arizona: NM State is 2-15 all-time against Arizona.  The last time the Aggies faces U of A was on Sept. 18, 2010 with NM State falling 3-1 during the Wildcats’ home tournament.   NM State and the Wildcats first faced off on Nov. 15, 1974 in Albuquerque during an Intermountain Athletic Conference match.  NM State defeated U of A on Nov. 21, 1975 in the IAIAW Regional under former coach Linda Koch.  The other victory of the Wildcats came on Oct. 30, 1976 in Tucson.

Aggie in the WAC Tournament: After winning the WAC Tournament title for the second straight year, the Aggies are 15-7 all-time in WAC Tournament matches and 2-5 in WAC Championship matches.  All losses in WAC Championship matches were to Hawaii.  NM State won its first WAC Tournament Championship in a win over UTSA last November and defeated Bakersfield last week to earn it seventh NCAA Tournament showing.

The Aggies were runners-up to Hawaii from 2006-08.

Aggies in WAC Play: NM State holds a WAC regular season record of 115-29 since joining the league in 2005.  The first ever WAC win came against Fresno State, Sept. 29, 2005 in the Pan American Center.  The Aggies’ best season in league play was in 2008 when they won the regular season title by going 15-1.

The Aggies pulled off one of the two biggest upsets in WAC tournament history (based upon seeding) when the No. 4 seed  NM State team defeated the No. 1 seed Utah State team in 2012. (1) Utah State. (2012)

Did You Know: NM State received seven first place votes in preseason poll and was picked to finish first in the WAC.  After they ending with a 14-2 league record, the Aggies held the predictions to be true.

Double-Doubles:  There have been 28 double-doubles this year with seven different Aggies posting a double-double in at least one match this year. Sophomore setter Taylor Livoti has the most with nine, while sophomore Bradley Nash has seven and senior Lauren Loerch has four.

The first double-double of the season came on Aug. 31 against Sana Barbara when Livoti marked 22 assists and 12 digs. Both Loerch and Nash marked a double-double in the five set at Bakersfield, Oct.17, while Loerch followed that with a double-double in a three-set loss at Utah Valley.  Senior Desiree Scott and sophomore Bradley Nash each marked a double-double in a 3-1 win over rival UTEP last week.

Four different Aggies tallied a double-double during a five-set victory over Idaho in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament.

Brown – 31A/13 D v. Kansas City (Nov. 7, 2013)

Brown – 31A/11D v. Idaho (Nov. 26, 2013)

Livoti- 22 A/12 D v. Santa Barbara (Aug.31, 2013)

Livoti- 14 A/10 D v. Santa Clara (Sept. 7, 2013)

Livoti- 21 A/14 D v. Southern Utah (Sept. 13, 2013)

Livoti- 16 A/13 D v. Hampton (Sept. 20, 2013)

Livoti- 20 A/14 D v. New Mexico (Sept. 23, 2013)

Livoti- 33 A/17 D v. Texas-Pan American (Sept. 28, 2013)

Livoti- 27 A/10 D v. Seattle U (Oct. 6, 2013)

Livoti- 22 A/12 D v. Grand Canyon (Oct 24, 2013)

Livoti – 28 A/13 D v. Idaho (Oct. 31, 2013)

Livoti – 28A/10 D v. Idaho (Nov. 26, 2013)

Loerch- 15 K/10 D v. Southern Utah (Sept. 13, 2013)

Loerch- 10 K/ 13 D v. Nothern Illinois (Sept. 14, 2013)

Loerch- 15 K/11 D v. Bakersfield (Oct. 17, 2013)

Loerch- 10 K/10 D v. Utah Valley (Oct. 19, 2013)

Murphy – 11 K/10 B v. Kansas City (Nov. 7, 2013)

Nash- 11 K/17 D v. Nothern Illinois (Sept. 14, 2013)

Nash- 10 K/16 D v. Utah (Sept. 19, 2013)

Nash- 13 K/11 D v. Seattle U (Oct. 6, 2013)

Nash- 10 K/ 11 D v. Bakersfield (Oct. 17, 2013)

Nash- 11 K/17 D v. Grand Canyon (Oct. 24, 2013)

Nash – 13 K/ 10 D v. Kansas City (Nov. 7, 2013)

Nash – 11 K/14 D v. UTEP (Nov. 12, 2013)

Nash – 10K/23 D v. Idaho (Nov. 26, 2013)

Scott – 11 K/11 B v. UTEP (Nov. 12, 2013)

Ziegler – 10 K/ 13 D v. Kansas City (Nov. 7, 2013)

Ziegler – 18 K/23 D v. Idaho (Nov. 26, 2013)

The 6-2 Offense: NM State may run a 6-2 offense using two setters. Senior Ciara Brown and sophomore Taylor Livoti were a part of the 6-2 offense last year and combined for a total of 1,448 assists. Brown tallied 5.94 assists per set and Livoti marked 4.88 assists per set.

This season Brown is averaging 5.71 assists per set and Livoti is marking 5.20 assists per set.

Did You Know: There have been 26 WAC all-tournament selections all-time.  Former Aggie Kim Oguh was the first ever WAC all-tournament selection, in 2005.  Former Aggie Meredith Hays was named WAC Tournament MVP in 2012, while Desiree Scott was named WAC Tournament MVP this season.

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