New Mexico State to Host the 2007 WAC Volleyball Championships
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  05/07/2007
All-American Amber Simpson and the Aggies will host the WAC...
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DENVER, Colo.   The Western Athletic Conference announced Monday, May 7, that pending board approval, New Mexico State University will host the 2007 WAC Volleyball Championships Nov. 15-17 at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces.


The 2007 Volleyball Tournament marks the third time NMSU has hosted a WAC Championship in the past nine months.  In March, the Aggies hosted the 2007 WAC Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships and this April, the University Golf Course hosted the 2007 WAC Women’s Golf Championships. 


NMSU will host its fourth and fifth conference tournament next spring as the 2008 WAC Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships return to the Pan American Center and the WAC Men’s & Women’s Tennis Championships come to Las Cruces.


“We are very excited to bring the Volleyball Championships to Las Cruces next year,” head coach Mike Jordan said.  I believe we are going to have a very good team this year and it will be a great way to finish up the year at home in front of our fans.”


In their first role as hosts of a WAC Championship at this year’s basketball tournament, the Aggies more than exceeded expectations as NMSU partnered with the City of Las Cruces to put on a first-class event.  The 5,627 all-session passes set a conference record and the 49,650 fans in attendance made it the highest attended tournament since 1998 in Las Vegas. 


Throughout the week, WAC teams and fans were treated to a variety of cultural events that showcased what the state of New Mexico and the city of Las Cruces are all about, including Native American and Hispanic Culture Days.  Fans also had the chance to experience the newly-renovated Pan American Center first hand, including new concourses, concession stands, restrooms and a brand new center-hung scoreboard, which hangs above Lou Henson Court.


Hosting the basketball championships also gave the Aggies a great competitive advantage as both the NMSU teams advanced to the championship game of their tournament while the men’s squad won its first WAC Tournament title over Utah State and advanced to its first NCAA Tournament since 1999. 


The women’s team, which advanced to its second straight title game since joining the WAC, defeated Louisiana Tech in the opening round to halt the Lady Techsters’ consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance streak.  La Tech was one of only two women’s teams in NCAA Division I history to have played in every NCAA Tournament.


“With the success that both our basketball teams had, we are really looking forward to having the same kind of home court advantage in volleyball,” Jordan said.  “We have such a great fan base and I really think we are going to set NMSU attendance records, if not WAC records.  I also think it is going to give us a chance to recruit new fans into the world of college volleyball.”


This winter, the Aggies volleyball team looks to have the same edge as they host their first WAC Tournament at the Pan American Center.  NMSU has had a great deal of success at the Pan American Center since moving to the facility in 1987.  The Aggies are a combined 143-87 (.621) in 20 seasons at the Pan American Center. 


The volleyball team’s success at home has also brought the fans in as the Aggies have ranked top-15 in home attendance nationally in each of the last four seasons.  In 2006, NMSU ranked 15th nationally in attendance, despite playing all but two home matches at Las Cruces High School.  In 2005, the team’s last full season at the Pan American Center, the Aggies ranked 11th nationally in home attendance and set a Pan American Center record for single-match attendance as 7,115 fans saw the Aggies face nationally-ranked Hawai’i.


The Aggies have experienced a great deal of success in conference tournaments as NMSU has reached the title game in five of the last six years, including tournament wins in 2003 and 2004 as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.  After exiting in the semifinals in its first year as a member of the WAC, NMSU advanced back to the title match last season before losing to perennial power Hawai’i in four games.


In 2006, the Aggies had one of the best seasons in school history as the club set a record for wins in a season with 33 (33-4) and was ranked in the AVCA Top-25 for the first time.  NMSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last four years and snapped Hawai’i’s 114-confenrece match win streak on Oct. 13.


The Aggies had four student-athletes named first team All-WAC and one second team honoree while head coach Mike Jordan earned his second consecutive WAC Coach of the Year award and fourth straight overall.  Middle hitters Kim Oguh (El Paso/Hanks HS) and Amber Simpson (Quincy, Ill.) both earned AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honors while senior setter Jackie Choi (Corpus Christi, Texas) was named first team Academic All-America by ESPN the Magazine for the second straight season.

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