Aggies Take to the Road Facing Nevada and Utah State This Week
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  10/20/2010

This week: The New Mexico State volleyball team heads to the states of Nevada and Utah for two conference matches this week.  The Aggies face off with the Wolf Pack in at the Virginia Street Gym in Reno, Nev., Thursday, Oct. 21 at 8:00 p.m. (MT).  NM State then heads to Logan, Utah for the first match of the year with Utah State, Saturday, Oct. 23 at 8:30 p.m. (MT) in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.  Go to the respective school's official website for ticket information.

Radio Coverage: Both matches this week will air on the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces with Kyle Doperalski giving the play-by-play.  The match versus Nevada starts at 8:00 p.m. (MT), while Saturday's match against Utah State is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. (MT). Aggie fans can also catch the action from anywhere around the world on the Internet by going to www.NMStateSports.com.  Just click on the live events link to access the coverage.

Television Coverage: With the success NM State volleyball and AggieVision have had in recent years, the Aggies are scheduled to play on TV eight times this season, including seven matches produced by Aggie Vision and one by ESPNU.  NM State played on TV eight times last season, which included the Western Athletic Conference championship on ESPNU.  The 2010 WAC Championship match is scheduled to air on ESPNU once again this season. The matches will be aired live on Las Cruces (Ch. 4), Albuquerque (Ch. 77), Gallup (Ch. 66), and Santa Fe (Ch. 21).  FSN-Arizona will also carry selected matches live and others will be on tape delay, while ESPN3.com will also be airing all AggieVision produced matches live. 

The next match to air on TV is Sunday, Oct. 31 when the Aggies take on No. 4 Hawaii in Honolulu.

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:  The Aggies are in their 37th season of play and return to the court with four 2009 first team All-WAC selections, including senior outside hitters Kayleigh Giddens and Whitney Woods.  They also bring back junior middle hitter Kelsey Brennan and All-America setter Jennah DeVries.

Head coach Mike Jordan, who has led his team to NCAA Tournament berths five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008), brings back Don Flora (second season) and Tricia Wright (eighth season) as his assistant coaches. Wright is in her second stint with NM State, as she was an assistant from 1998-2002.  She was the director of operations for the volleyball team the past two seasons.

The Aggies have six letter winners returning while also losing six letter winners from the 2009 team.  NM State is a young team with 11 newcomers, together with three transfers.  Junior middle hitter Michelle Kuester came in from Texas Tech, junior setter Madison Hardy transferred from Hawai'i-Pacific, and junior defensive specialist Chelsea Rose came in from Bakersfield Community College.  The Aggies have eight freshmen on the roster with more than half of them gaining valuable court experience.   Freshmen outside hitters Amanda Tonga, Rocio Gutierrez and middle hitter Desiree Scott have already made starts in the majority of the Aggies' matches.

Last Week: NM State went 3-0 during a three-match home stretch to bring their record to 13-9 overall and 7-1 in WAC play. The Aggies defeated Boise State in a hard-fought five-set match. They topped Idaho in five sets and then swept Nevada. Kayleigh Giddens led the way against Idaho with 13 kills.  Against Nevada she improved her numbers with 17 kills. Kelsi Phillips posted 12 digs in that match, after posting a career-high 26 digs against Idaho the night before.

This Weeks Opponents:

 Nevada: The Wolf Pack sit at 10-10 overall and 4-3 in the WAC. It will look to get revenge against the Aggies in Reno after NM State swept Nevada in Las Cruces on Oct. 17.  Nevada is led by Kylie Harrington with 247 kills and Nicole Link with 279 digs. 

The Aggies are 15-12 all-time versus Nevada winning the last eight matches. NM State has not lost to the Wolf Pack since Sept. 30, 2006 in Reno. 

Utah State: The Utah State Aggies are currently 14-5 overall and 2-4 in the WAC. They will face the NM State Aggies for the first time this season. Last week Utah State fell to Nevada 1-3. Leaders for Utah State include Liz McArthur with 327 kills and Christine Morrill with 344 digs.

NM State is 38-24 against Utah State. The Aggies have won the last 11 matches against the Utah team with the same name.

Looking Ahead:  The Aggies will have some time off before traveling to WAC leading Hawai'i on Oct. 31. NM State will return home for games against Fresno State on Nov. 4 and San Jose State on Nov. 6.  Fans will be able to watch the Hawai'i and Fresno State matches on AggieVision and ESPN3.

Aggies in the WAC: The Aggies rank second in the WAC behind rival Hawai'i in three statistical categories. NM State has posted a .242 hitting percentage on the year, while averaging 12.56 assists and 13.35 kills per set. Kelsey Brenan and Kayleigh Giddens lead the WAC in three different individual categories. Giddens leads it WAC with 4.71 kills and 5.22 points per set. Brennan leads the conference in hitting percentage with a .370. Jennah DeVries ranks second in assists with 10.88 per set. Also in the top ten is Ellen Miks who ranks ninth in digs with 235.  

Double-Doubles: Freshman Rocio Gutierrez joined the double-double club when she posted 11 kills and 11 digs versus Idaho on Oct. 16. Senior Kayleigh Giddens leads the team with nine double-doubles, her latest also coming against Idaho. She posted 18 kills and 10 digs. Junior Jennah DeVries has five double-doubles this season. 

NCAA Rankings: Several Aggies are among the top performers in the nation. Setter Jennah DeVries ranks No. 30 in assists per set with 10.88. Kelsey Brennan has a .370 hitting percentage this year, which is good enough for No. 38 in the country. Kayleigh Giddens is the highest ranked Aggie in any category with her 4.71 kills per set. That puts her at No. 9 in the nation. She also is ranked No.11 in points per set with 5.22.

Other players from the WAC in the top rankings include Kanani Danielson from Hawai'i who is No. 11 in kills per set and Liz McArthur from Utah State who is No. 19 in the same category.

Attendance: NM State fans continue to show their support in Las Cruces.  With an average of 1,603 per match, the Aggies are ranked No. 21 nationally while Hawai'i stands at No. 1 with an average of 6,215.  Hawaii is currently ranked No. 1 in the WAC, followed closely by NM State at No. 2.

AVCA Poll: The latest AVCA Division I Coaches Poll has Hawai'i at No. 4, while LSU dropped in the poll to No. 17.  Arizona remains ranked at No. 25, while Florida State dropped two spots to No. 24.  Pepperdine continues to receive votes with a total of six.  The next poll comes out Oct. 25.   The teams mentioned are NM State opponents during the 2010 season.

Player Notes:

Kelsey Brennan: Junior middle hitter Kelsey Brennan posted a NM State season-high .650 hitting percentage during the win over Boise State on Oct. 14. In the same game she tied her season-high with 13 kills. She is currently third on the team in kills with 165.

Rocio Gutierrez: On Oct. 16 against Idaho freshman Rocio Gutierrez had her first double-double of season against Idaho.  She posted 11 kills and 11 digs. The 11 digs were good enough for her season high and her 11 kill came just one short of tying her season high.  Her season totals are 105 kills and 155 digs.

Whitney Woods: Senior outside hitter Whitney Woods had 15.5 points versus Idaho on Oct. 16. This was her season high for points in a five set game. She also had a season high seven blocks in the same contest. She is averaging 2.24 kills per set and 0.67 blocks per set this year.

Jennah DeVries: Junior setter Jennah DeVries had a season-high, 54 assists versus Idaho, Oct. 16. That is also tops for any Aggie this season. This brings her season total to 827. She leads all Aggies in this category after she finished last season with a team-leading 995 assists.

Kelsi Phillips: Phillips continues to show her defensive strengths on the court with a total of 32 sets played She had a career-high 26 digs against Idaho on Oct. 16. Phillips is averaging 3.62 digs per set this year. Her season total is now at 116 digs. 

Ellen Miks: Sophomore Ellen Miks is averaging 3.09 digs per set and has 235 on for the year. She added to her season total with 12 digs against Idaho on Oct. 16 and five digs on Oct. 17 versus Nevada. Her season high came on Sept. 27 versus Pepperdine when she posted 31digs. Miks has played in 76 sets this season. 

Michelle Kuester: Junior middle hitter Michelle Kuester has participated in 46 sets so far this season, averaging 0.46 kills per set. She had a season high five kills against Boise State on Oct 14, posting an attack percentage of .273. Kuester also has 22 blocks on the season.   

Madison Hardy: In her first season with the Aggies, Junior setter Madison Hardy is averaging 1.19 assists per set. She has a total of 51 assists this year. Her season-high of 38 assists came, Sept. 25 versus Louisiana Tech. She has also has 29 digs on the year.   

Desiree Scott: Freshman middle hitter Desiree Scott ranks No. 3 on the Aggies in blocks. She has 49 total this season. Her 90 kills are good for No. 5 on the NM State team. She has played in 69 sets so far this year.

Amanda Tonga: Freshman Amanda Tonga had a season-high 10 kills versus Boise State on Oct. 14. She is averaging 0.96 kills per set. In her 52 sets played she has 52 kills, 14 digs and six blocks.   

CVU.com Top Performer: Senior outside hitter Kayleigh Giddens has been named a Top Performer by CVU.com three times this season. CVU.com (College Volleyball Update) is a website dedicated to NCAA volleyball.

Her first honor from CVU.com came for the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5. That week Giddens led the way for the Aggies in that week's sweeps with 11 kills on 26 attempts against CSU-Bakersfield posting .308 hitting percentage. Giddens also led the way in digs along side sophomore libero Ellen Miks with 10 for the Aggies bringing team total digs to 39 for the match.  Giddens had an impressive 17 kills on 37 attempts against the UTEP Miners posting .351 hitting percentage.

Her second honor came Sept. 27, after she hit .513 while averaging 7.67 kills, 3.33 digs and 8.42 points per set in two sweeps over Louisiana Tech.  She also marked three aces and three total blocks in the two matches.  Giddens posted her seventh double-double of the season in the first match against LA Tech with a season-high 24 kills and 12 digs.

Giddens' most recent CVU.com honor came for her performance during the week of Oct. 4-10.  That week she hit .357 with 6.43 kills, 3.00 digs, 0.57 service aces and 7.50 points per set.  After posting two consecutive 20-plus kill matches to lead her team to consecutive road wins, Giddens leads the Western Athletic Conference in kills per set at 4.91, while she is also in the top 10 nationally for kills per set.

CVU.com top performers of the week consist of athletes who are finalist for the CVU.com weekly honor and athletes who stood out as having exceptional matches.

2010 WAC Volleyball Tickets On Sale: All-session tickets for the 2010 WAC Volleyball Tournament, which returns to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas Nov. 22-24, are on sale now. All tickets are for general admission seating.

The 2010 WAC Volleyball Tournament will consist of five matches in three sessions. Ticket prices are as follows: All-Session - $45, Single-Session Adult - $20, Single-Session Students/Youth - $10, Kids 2 and under - Free.

All-session tickets are on sale now through each WAC member institution's ticket office and the Orleans Arena Box Office. Fans are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets from their member institutions to avoid service fees associated with ticket sales through the Orleans Arena site.

Single-session tickets will not be available for purchase until Nov. 22 and can only be purchased through the Orleans Arena. A single-session ticket allows access to one day's worth of matches.

Arizona Invitational All-Tournament Team: Senior outside hitter Kayleigh Giddens and junior setter Jennah DeVries were named to the all-tournament team for the Arizona Invitational held in Tucson, Sept. 17-18. Giddens lead the Aggies with 50 kills (5.00/set) and 26 digs (2.60/set) for the three game tournament. DeVries averaged 11.80 assists per set for a total of 118. She also had 20 digs. 

Stephanie Ziegler: Sophomore Stephanie Ziegler, an up and coming player for the Aggies, will be sidelined with a season ending leg injury. She broke her fibula and tibia during the match against Rice, when falling on an opponents foot.  She was just starting to find her niche as she had a fantastic match against UTEP, Sept. 7. She finished that match with a .353 hitting percentage (7-1-17) in a sweep of the Miners. She played in 15 sets this season, in which she managed to accumulate 12 kills, five digs and two blocked shots.

LSU Tiger Classic All-Tournament Team: Sophomore defensive specialist Ellen Miks was named to the All-Tournament after posting 5.91 digs per set in Baton Rouge, La.  She posted a career-high 31 digs against LSU. The last time an Aggie posted 31 digs in a match was Nov. 30, 2007, when Krystal Torres achieved the feat against LSU in the NCAA Tournament.

Tough Schedule: NM State has one of the more difficult schedules in the nation.  The Aggies' first road trip will consist of No. 15 Florida State, Florida International, and Florida A&M, all of which made it to the NCAA tournament in 2009.  The Aggies will also be facing Rice and No. 23 LSU in Baton Rouge; both of which made it to the NCAA tournament as well.  Texas State and Arizona, two more participants in the national tournament, are also on the schedule.  The Aggies' toughest opponent will be conference rival Hawaii, which was a Final-Four team in 2009 and will open the season as nationally ranked No. 5.  Pepperdine, UNM, Rice, and Florida International are all opponents who received votes that NM State will be facing.

Honors & Awards: The Aggies continued to pile up awards in 2009. NM State had an AVCA All-American in Jennah DeVries, who also collected first team All-WAC honors, Academic All-WAC honors and WAC All-Tournament team honors. Joining DeVries on the first team All-WAC and WAC All-Tournament team was Kelsey Brennan, Kayleigh Giddens and Whitney Woods. Brennan was also named to the WAC All-Tournament team and Academic All-WAC while Giddens was named WAC Player of the Week twice. She was also on the all-tournament team for the Mean Green Volleyball Classic. Woods garnered another award as well, being named to the all-tournament team at the Notre Dame/Adidas Invitational. Getting second team All-WAC honors was Erin Birmingham who was also named Academic All-WAC and academic all-region. Joining DeVries, Brennan, and Birmingham on the Academic All-WAC squad was Krista Altermatt and Kelli Goodan who both were also named Preseason All-WAC. Rounding out the awards, Altermatt was also named the Mean Green Volleyball Classic MVP and Kelsi Phillips was part of the Hotel Encanto Volleyball Invitational All-Tournament team.

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