THIS WEEK: The New Mexico State volleyball team (1-2) will host the NM State Tournament inside the Pan American Center from Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 4-6. The Aggies will play three matches and the tournament will have a total of six matches. Joining NM State in Las Cruces are North Dakota State, Radford and California.
The Aggies kick off the tournament with a matchup versus North Dakota State on Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. (MT). NM State will then play Radford on Friday, also at 7 p.m., and close out the tournament by meeting the 30th-ranked team in the country, Cal on Saturday at 2 p.m. Other matches on Friday include Radford versus Cal at 10 a.m. and Cal versus North Dakota State at 4:30 p.m. North Dakota State and Radford will meet one another on Saturday at 10 a.m.
MEDIA COVERAGE: Friday’s matchup versus Radford will air over the radio on 98.7 FM beginning at 7 p.m. while Saturday’s match against Cal will air on KGRT AM 570 beginning at 2 p.m. Both matches will also be broadcast over a live webcast on NMStateSports.com at the ‘Live Events’ tab.
The Aggies will have six home matches produced for TV by AggieVision and 14 matches on local radio. The first radio match, on Friday, Sept. 5, against Radford, will be aired on 98.7 FM, the remaining 13 radio matches will be aired on KGRT AM 570. Radio coverage includes all WAC matches not produced for TV, matches versus rivals UNM and UTEP and any NM State postseason play.
The AggieVision schedule begins with both home matches of the NM State/UTEP Co-hosted Tournament. Both matches will be against top-20 teams, beginning with the first TV match of the season on Friday, Sept. 12, versus No. 18 Colorado State, followed by the match against No. 9 BYU the next day, Saturday, Sept. 13. For AggieVision channel information please contact your cable or satellite provider.
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.
SOCIAL MEDIA: 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). Also, new this season, follow us on Instagram @NMStateAggies for photos from all the Aggie sports world.
FULL NM STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES MT)
Thur, Sept. 4 NM State vs. North Dakota State 7 p.m. Live stats
Fri, Sept. 5 Radford vs. California 10 a.m. Live stats
Fri, Sept. 5 California vs. North Dakota State 4:30 p.m. Live stats
Fri, Sept. 5 NM State vs. Radford 7 p.m. Live stats/98.7 FM/webcast
Sat, Sept. 6 North Dakota State vs. Radford 10 a.m. Live stats
Sat. Sept. 6 NM State vs. California 2 p.m. Live stats/AM 570/webcast
ABOUT THE AGGIES: NM State will try to make it three WAC titles in a row in 2014. It will attempt the feat with a young roster that includes six true freshman and only two seniors. The Aggies will depend heavily on three juniors, outside hitter Bradley Nash, middle blocker Gwen Murphy and setter Taylor Livoti. All three were selected to the All-WAC preseason team. Although young, NM State was still picked to win the conference regular season in the WAC preseason coaches’ poll, garnering six of eight first-place votes.
THE MICHAEL JORDAN ERA: Mike Jordan is now in his 17th season at the head of the Aggie volleyball program. He is the all-time winningest volleyball coach at NM State with a 353-162 record. In 2013, Jordan won his sixth Coach of the Year Award (two with the Sun Belt Conference and four with the WAC) and led the Aggies to their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013).
THE RECENT PAST: The Aggies kicked off the season with a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, to compete in the Utah Classic last week. NM State finished the tournament with a 1-2 record. The Aggies won their first match of the season, defeating Missouri State in straight sets, 28-26, 25-17, 25-15. NM State would then lose to Montana State in four sets, 25-19, 25-20, 18-25, 25-18, and to host Utah in three sets, 25-17, 31-29, 27-25.
MURPHY NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Junior middle blocker Gwen Murphy was named to the Utah Classic All-Tournament team during the Aggies opening tournament of the season. Murphy finished the tournament with 24 total kills in three matches. She had a match-high 13 kills versus Montana State (Aug. 30), which is also tied her for the season high for the Aggies in the early season. She also had 12 block-assists during the three matches, giving her an average of 1.20 blocks/set
ON THE HORIZON: The Aggies will host their second-consecutive tournament next week as they co-host a tournament with UTEP. NM State and UTEP welcome two top-20 teams to the Southwest, Colorado State and BYU. The Aggies play No. 18 Colorado State on Friday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. (MT) and matchup versus No. 9 BYU on Saturday, Sept. 13, beginning at 12 p.m. Aggie fans will also get to see the Rams and Cougars collide in a top-20 match to start the tournament on Friday at 11 a.m.
AGGIES IN THE WAC: Junior middle blocker Gwen Murphy ranks No. 2 in the WAC in attack percentage in a match with her outing against Montana State (.435). Murphy also tallied 13 kills in the same match against Montana State, fourth best in four-set matches.
Freshman Jordan Abalos, is ranked second in the WAC for points in a four-set match at 16. This effort came against Montana State where she also finished with 35 total attempts, third best in the WAC.
NM State has other contributors that are atop the standing in the WAC. Junior outside hitter Bradley Nash ranks third for most total blocks in a game with four, while junior setter Taylor Livoti stand at No. 2 in the WAC for assists in a single game with 28.
2013 RECAP: NM State finished 22-11 overall in 2013 and won its second-consecutive WAC championship after defeating Bakersfield in straight sets during the championship match of the 2013 WAC Tournament. The Aggies also won the regular-season crown, their first outright WAC regular-season title and second overall, after posting a 14-2 conference record. The WAC title meant a seventh, and second-straight, trip to the NCAA Tournament for NM State. The Aggies would go on to lose to Arizona during the first round of the tournament in San Diego.
Former Aggie middle blocker Desiree Scott was named the WAC Player of the Year while head coach Mike Jordan won his fourth WAC Coach of the Year award (sixth total conference coach of the year, two with Sun Belt). Scott was also part of the WAC All-Tournament team, joining teammates Ciara Brown, Bradley Nash and Stephanie Ziegler. Fellow middle blocker Gwen Murphy joined Scott on the All-WAC first team.
North Dakota State: (1-2)
- The North Dakota State Bison of the Summit League participated in the Pepsi Panther Invitational in Milwaukee, Wis., last week where they went 1-2 with losses to Miami (Ohio), 0-3, and Milwaukee, 0-3. Their only win came against Robert Morris in a five-set match.
- NDSU had a 6-22 (.214) record overall in 2013, with their only wins coming in conference play (6-8). The Bison were picked to finish sixth in the Summit League in the preseason poll.
- Junior OH Jenni Fassbender is the team leader in points (43.5) and kills (39) in 2014.
- NM State is 2-0 all-time against NDSU with the last meeting coming in 2012 on a neutral court during the Northern Illinois Tournament. The Aggies won in four sets.
- The Radford Highlanders of the Big South Conference began 2014 by participating in Morehead State’s Eagle Challenge where they lost their first match of the season against Northern Kentucky, 3-1, before winning two contests versus host Morehead State University, 3-2 and 3-1. The Highlanders more recently beat North Carolina Central at home. Senior Rachel Wiechecki broke the school record for kills during the match, she now has a total of 1,074 kills in her Highlander career.
- Radford, from Virginia, was champion of the Big South Conference in 2013 after going 25-10 overall with an 11-3 record in the conference. They received an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament where they lost to #10 seed Minnesota in the first round, 3-0.
- Senior OH Rachel Wiechecki leads the team with 59 digs and 53 kills.
- This is the first time NM State is playing Radford in Volleyball.
- The No. 30 California Golden Bears, a perennial powerhouse out of one of the toughest volleyball conferences in the country, the Pac-12, are 3-0 after beating SIU-Edwardsville 3-0, Winthrop 3-1, and Air Force 3-2 during the Air Force Falcon Classic.
- Cal went 18-13 in 2013 with a 10-10 record in the Pac-12. They received an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament where they beat North Carolina, 3-0, before losing to Wisconsin, 0-3, in the second round.
- Cal is averaging 13.42 kills per set with #23 senior outside hitter Christina Higgins and #6 freshmen outside hitter Ashten Smith-Gooden leading the team with 36 kills a piece after only 3 matches in the 2014 season.
- NM State is 2-4 all time against the Golden Bears. It was the Aggies who traveled to Cal’s home tournament in 2013 where NM State lost in straight sets during the season-opening tournament.