Aggies Set For WAC Showdown in Honolulu
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  10/26/2010

This week: The New Mexico State volleyball team heads to Honolulu, Hawaii for a showdown with Western Athletic Conference leader Hawai'i, who is ranked No. 5 nationally this week.  The only match for NM State in week 10 of play is set for Sunday, Oct. 31 at 9:00 p.m. (MT) in the Stan Sherriff Center.  The Aggies are in second place in the league at 9-1 behind the Rainbow Wahine who is 9-0.  Go to the Rainbow Wahine website for ticket information.

Radio Coverage: The match against No. 5 Hawai'i will not be aired on the radio this week. With a total of 15 regular-season matches aired by the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM AM 570, there are two more NM State volleyball matches scheduled for radio coverage.  The next matches to be aired are November 11 and 13 against Idaho and Boise State respectively. Kyle Doperalski will be giving the play-by-play action, that can be caught 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 have been 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 match versus No. 5 Hawaii, October 31, will be picked up by AggieVision and aired live on Comcast throughout the state of New Mexico with coverage starting at 9:00 p.m. (MT).

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 defeated both Nevada and Utah State to bring their record to 15-9 overall and 9-1 in the WAC. The Aggies swept Nevada and dominated Utah State 3-1. Kayleigh Giddens led the way offensively for the Aggies in both matches during the week with 23 kills against Nevada and 17 kills against Utah State. Kelsi Phillips and Rocio Gutierrez led the way for the NM State defensively against Nevada with 10 digs each. Phillips improved her number against Utah State with 17 digs.

This Weeks Opponents:

Hawai'i: Currently ranked No. 5 in the nation with two first place votes, Hawai'i is 19-1 overall on the season and 9-0 in the league play. Hawai'i is looking to continue their dominance over the WAC after three consecutive sweeps last week against conference match-ups Idaho, Boise State and Utah State. Leading the way for Hawai'i offensively is Kanani Danielson posting 4.54 kills per set. Defensively Elizabeth Ka'aihue leads the way posting 4.62 digs per set.

The Aggies are 2-29 all-time versus Hawai'i. NM State has not defeated Hawai'i since Oct. 12, 2008 in Honolulu.

Looking ahead: The Aggies will return home for games against Fresno State, November 4 and San Jose State, November 6. NM State will hit the road again for matches against Idaho on November 11 and Boise State, November 13. Fans will be able to watch the Fresno State match on AggieVision and ESPN3.com and listen in for the Idaho and Boise State matches on KSNM AM 570.

Aggies in the WAC: The Aggies rank second in the WAC behind nationally ranked Hawai'i in three statistical categories. NM State has posted a .246 hitting percentage for the year, while averaging 12.74 assist and 13.57 kills per set. Kelsey Brennan, Kayleigh Giddens and Jennah DeVries lead the WAC in four different individual categories. Giddens leads the WAC with 4.79 kills per set and 5.30 points per set. Brennen leads the WAC with a .375 hitting percentage. DeVries pushed ahead from second ranked last week in the WAC to number one with 11.04 assists per set. Also in the top 10 is Ellen Miks averaging 3.04 digs per set.

Double-Doubles: Senior Kayleigh Giddens leads the Aggies with nine double-doubles this season, with her latest against Idaho with 18 kills and 10 digs. Junior Jennah DeVries follows Giddens with five double-doubles for NM State this season. Freshman Rocio Gutierrez, the newest addition to the double-double club, has two double-doubles this season with her most recent against Utah State with 12 kills and 10 digs.

NCAA Rankings: Numerous Aggies continue to rank among the top in the nation. Setter Jennah DeVries ranks No. 26 in assists per set with 11.04. Kelsey Brennan ranks No. 36 in the country with a .375 hitting percentage. Kayleigh Giddens ranks highest for any Aggie at No. 9 in the nation in two individual categories. Giddens maintains her No. 9 position with 4.79 kills per set and 5.30 points per set pushing her up from last weeks No. 11 spot.

Other players from the WAC in the top rankings include Kanani Danielson from Hawai'i who is No. 11 in kills per set and No. 15 posting 5.13 points per set. Utah States Liz McArthur ranks No. 17 in points per set and No. 21 in kills per set posting 4. 27.

Attendance: NM State fans continue their support for the Aggies in Las Cruces. With an average of 1,603, the Aggies rank No. 21 nationally while Hawai'i stands at No. 1 with an average of 6,215. Hawai'i is currently ranked No. 1 in the WAC with NM State following closely behind at No. 2.

AVCA Poll: The latest AVCA Division I Coaches Poll has Hawai'i at No. 5, while LSU climbed to No. 16. Arizona also moved up two spots in the polls to No. 23, while Florida State dropped to No. 25. North Carolina continues to receive votes at a total of seven for the week. The next poll comes out Nov. 1. The teams mentioned are NM State opponents during the 2010 season.

WAC Player of the Week: senior Kayleigh Giddens has been named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week for the week Oct. 18-24.  This is the third Player of the Week honor of the season for Giddens and the fifth of her career. She now ties for the most conference player of the week honors in a career at NM State with former Aggie greats Amber Simpson (2004-08) and Jackie Godber (2000-03).  Godber's honors came while NM State was a part of the Sun Belt Conference.

Giddens led the Aggies to a pair of road wins as she helped the Aggies come back from being down 1-0 at Nevada, Oct. 21 and help her team sweep Utah State in Logan, Utah, Oct. 23.  In the seven sets, she averaged 5.71 kills, 2.14 digs and 0.71 blocks.  She started with a match-high 23 kills against the Wolf Pack, while she added nine digs and three blocks.  Giddens then tallied a match-high 17 kills against the Aggies of Utah State to go with six digs and two blocks. There are now six matches where Giddens has marked at least 20 kills and she has posted double-digit kill figures in 19 of the Aggies' 24 matches this season.  She also has seven double-doubles this season.

 Player Notes:

Rocio Gutierrez: Freshman outside hitter Rocio Gutierrez had her second double-double if the season against Utah State on Oct.23. She posted 12 kills and 10 digs. She has hit a season-high 12 kills twice taking her total to 123 kills. She is also averaging 2.05 digs per set.

Kelsey Brennan: Kelsey Brennan came up just one short of tying her season-high with 12 kills on Oct. 23 at Utah State. The middle hitter posted an amazing  .706 hitting percentage in the same match. Her season total is 186 kills.

Kelesy Philips: Philips is averaging 3.67 digs per set this year proving to be an asset to the Aggie volleyball defense with a total of 39 sets played. She has a total of 143 digs on the season. Philips has played in 39 sets this season.

Ellen Miks: The sophomore defensive specialist is averaging 3.04 digs per set and has 252 on the year. She added 12 digs against Nevada on Oct.21 and five digs against Utah State on Oct.23. She is holding the ninth spot in the WAC for digs per set and has participated in 83 sets this season.

Madison Hardy: Junior setter Madison Hardy is in her first season with the Aggie and has played in 47 sets. She is averaging 1.09 assists per set. She has a total of 51 assists this year. Her season-high of 38 came, Sept.25 against Louisiana Tech. She also has 29 digs on the year.

Michelle Kuester: Kuester has played 47 sets this season, averaging 0.45 kills per set. She had a season-high five kills against Boise State, October 14, posting an attack percentage of .273. The junior middle hitter has 22 blocks on the season.

Whitney Woods: Whitney Woods had 11.5 points with 10 kills on Oct. 21 versus Nevada. She has 195 kills this season. She has played in 86 sets averaging 2.27 kills and 0.66 blocks per set.

Jennah DeVries:  Junior setter Jennah DeVries has competed in 83 sets so far this season.  She is currently averaging 11.04 assists per, 0.33 blocks per set and 2.16 digs per set. DeVries has accumulated an amazing 916 assists in the 2010 season.  DeVires also has a total of five double-doubles on the season.   

Natasha Giacomazzi: Freshman defensive specialist Natasha Giacomazzi has had her fair share of on-court action, playing in 10 sets in the 2010 season.  She has averaged 0.50 assists per set and 0.10 digs per set.

Desiree Scott:  Freshman middle blocker Desiree Scott has averaged 1.26 kills per set and 0.71 blocks per set while competing in 76 sets.  She has racked up a total of 96 kills so far this season. 

Amanda Tonga:  Freshman middle blocker Amanda Tonga, a native of Hawai'i, has had a good season so far with a total of 52 kills in 58 sets.  She had made 165 attacks and averaging 0.90 kills per set. 

Deirdre Pajares:  Freshman outside hitter Deirdre Parajes has competed in 15 sets in the 2010 season.  Her current averages include 0.53 kills per set, with a .037 attack percentage and 0.57 points per set.

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.

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. 

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.

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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