Aggies Host Final Regular-Season Match of the Year on Senior Night
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  11/17/2010

This week: The New Mexico State volleyball team hosts the final home match of the regular season on Senior Night, Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7:00 p.m. (MT) in the Pan American Center as it takes on Utah State.  NM State sits in second place in the WAC standings while Utah State is in a tie for third place with Idaho at 8-7 with Boise State not far behind at 8-8 in league play.  Call the NM State box office for ticket information at (575) 646-1420 or go to www.NMStateSports.com for all Aggie information.

Radio Coverage: The match this week will not be aired on the radio. NM State had a total of 15 regular season-matches aired by the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM AM 570 this season.  The matches in the WAC Tournament are tentatively scheduled for to air over the radio waves and the schedule will be released once the bracket is posted. 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 Aggie Vision have had in recent years, the Aggies played on TV seven times this season, including six matches produced by Aggie Vision and one by ESPNU.  NM State played on TV eight times in 2009 as well, 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 Aggies face Utah on TV this week with Aggie Vision producing the coverage. The match is set for a 7:00 p.m. (MT) start and will be aired live on Comcast throughout the state of New Mexico, while it will be tape delayed on FSN-Arizona and Altitude Sports.  Check you local listings for airtimes.

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 AVCA 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.

NM State is 18-11 overall and 12-3 in league play and have secured the No. 2 spot in the 2010 WAC Tournament.  The Aggies average 13.56 kills per set and are holding their opponents to a .194 hitting percentage.  The Aggies are hitting .235 on the year and tally 2.05 blocks and 13.61 digs per set.

Last Week: The New Mexico State volleyball team took its final road trip of the season as it traveled to Idaho to face the University of Idaho and Boise State.  NM State clinched the No. 2 spot in the 2010 WAC Tournament with a win 3-1 over Idaho, in Memorial Gym, Thursday, Nov. 11. The Vandals came out strong and took set one 25-20, and looked to keep the momentum by going up 18-10 in set two.  The Aggies played through it and came back to win set two 25-23 and then went on to win set three and four, 25-20 and 25-21 respectively.

The Aggies fell to Boise State 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-23) in Bronco Gym, Saturday, Nov. 13. With the loss, the Aggies go to 18-11 overall and 12-3 in WAC play. Boise State jumps to 20-11 and 7-8 in the league.  The Aggies hit a .032 hitting percentage with, 30 kills and 27 attack errors off of 95 attempts, while the Broncos posted a .148 hitting percentage.  They finished with 39 kills off 108 attempts. Senior Kayleigh Giddens posted 11 kills on the night with junior Kelsey Brennan wasn't far behind with nine kills.  Junior setter Jennah DeVries tallied all but one assist finishing the evening with 27 dishes in Boise.

This Weeks Opponents:

Utah State: The Aggies of Utah State are 19-8 on the season and tied for fourth-place with Nevada in the Western Athletic Conference with a 7-7 league mark after defeating the Wolf Pack (3-0) at home last weekend. USU is led by junior outside hitter Liz McArthur who is hitting .221 and averaging 4.11 kills, 1.85 digs, 0.46 blocks and 0.39 service aces per set. Senior middle blocker Katie Astle is hitting .325 and averaging 1.49 kills and 1.11 blocks per set, while senior setter Chelsea Fowles is hitting .332 and averaging 9.95 assists, 2.24 digs, 0.92 kills, 0.74 blocks and 0.32 service aces per set. As a team, Utah State is hitting .230 on the year as compared to a .176 hitting percentage for its opponents.

Looking Ahead: NM State heads to the WAC tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 22-24. In last year's tournament, NM State lost to Hawai'i in the championship game.  After the tournament, the Aggies will keep an eye on the NCAA Tournament Selection Show which will air between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. on ESPNEWS, Sunday, November 28.

Aggies in the WAC: NM State comes in second to Hawai'i in three different statistical categories. The Aggies have a .235 hitting percentage this season and are averaging 12.76 assists and 13.56 kills per set. Individually, Kayleigh Giddens leads the WAC in kills posting 4.80 pet set. Jennah DeVries ranks first in assists. She is averaging 10.97 per set. Kelsey Brennan comes in fourth in the WAC with her .323 hitting percentage. Also in the top ten is Ellen Miks who has 268 digs this year averaging 2.98 per set, while Kelsi Phillips ranks No. 7 with 3.61 digs per set.

Double-Doubles: Kayleigh Giddens continues to rack up double-double performances and now has 11 on the year. Her latest came during a road win against Idaho, Nov. 11. Giddens had 19 kills and 17 digs that evening. Jennah DeVries has seven double-doubles this season. The most recent came in the San Jose State match, Nov. 6 when she tallied 51 assists and 15 digs. Freshman Rocio Gutierrez has posted two double- doubles so far. Her latest came at Utah State on Oct. 23. Gutierrez had 12 kills and 10 digs. 

NCAA Rankings: Numerous Aggies continue to rank among the top in the nation. Setter Jennah DeVries ranks No. 33 in assists per set with 10.97. Kelsey Brennan sits at No. 130 in the country with a .323 hitting percentage. Kayleigh Giddens ranks highest for any Aggie at No. 6 in the nation in with 4.80 kills per set and is No. 9 nationally in points per set with 5.31 per. The Aggies as a team are No. 50 in assists per set with 12.76 and No. 55 nationally in kills per set with 13.56.

Attendance: NM State fans continue to show support with an average attendance of 1,505.  This ranks them No. 21 in the nation while Hawai'i continues to sit on top of the charts with an average attendance of 6,136.  The highest attended match this season came Sept. 29, when No. 6 Hawaii came to the Pan American Center with 2,371 in attendance.

AVCA Poll: The latest AVCA Division I Coaches Poll has Hawai'i at No. 3, not moving any spots from last week, while LSU is now tied for No. 16 after it was No. 15 last week. Arizona dropped two spots to No. 22, while Florida State dropped out of the poll two weeks ago and is no longer receiving votes. Pepperdine continues to receive votes this week along with New Mexico. The next poll comes out Nov. 22. The teams mentioned are NM State opponents during the 2010 season.

1,000 Points:  Senior Kayleigh Giddens currently has 975 points in her carreer, needing just 25 to reach 1,000.  A player scores points on kills, service aces and blocks.

Record Watch: Kayleigh Giddens had 22 kills against San Jose State, Nov. 6, her eighth 20-plus kill effort of the season. Giddens now has 499 kills on the season and with one regular-season match plus the WAC tournament coming up, Giddens could become the Aggies' single-season kill leader. She's currently tied for first on the list having with Jonna Steffens and surpassed Alice Borden (495) and Angela Lobendahn-Peterson (494) after posting 17 kills against Boise State, Nov. 13. Giddens could also become the first Aggie to ever record 500 or more kills in a season.

She is also on pace to destroy the career-kills per set record (and the single season record as well). Through Nov. 6, Giddens is averaging 4.41 kills per set in her career. She averaged 4.00 kills per set last year and is averaging 4.83 kills per set this season. Lindsey Yon holds the career record at 3.84 kills per set and Lisa Roberson holds the single season record at 4.23 kills per set.

Setter Jennah DeVries continues to move up the record's ladder with 2,736 assists in her career.  She is now No. 6 on the all-time list passing Jill Hendry who played for NM State from 1987-88.  She is now behind Jessica Rombach (1996-99) who posted 3,031 assists in her career while Christine Jinbo tallied 4,294 from 1993-96 to sit atop the all-time list.

DeVries Named a CVU.com Top Performer: Setter Jennah DeVries was named a Top Performer by CVU.com for her performances between Nov. 1-7. DeVries tallied two consecutive 50+ assists matches, leading the Aggies to two-home league wins.  She marked a match-high 53 assists against Fresno State as NM State won 3-1, while adding six digs and a block assists.  DeVries followed that with a 51 assist night as the Aggies came from behind to win 3-1 over San Jose State.  That night she marked her seventh double-double as she tallied a match-high 15 digs to go along with two block assists on the defensive side of the net.  On the year, she is 11.00 assists and 2.17 digs per set.

Player Notes:

Rocio Gutierrez: Freshman Rocio Gutierrez tallied a career-high 17 kills against Idaho, Nov. 11 while adding eight digs. This brings her season totals to 156 kills and 197 digs. Gutierrez is one of three Aggies to post a double-double this season. The outside hitter has had two, with her latest coming at Utah State on Oct. 23. Gutierrez has played in 92 set this year.

Kelsey Brennan: Middle hitter Kelsey Brennan came up just one short of tying her season-high with 12 kills on Oct. 23 at Utah State. She had a .727 attack percentage against Cal State-Bakersfield, the highest of the season by any Aggie.  She had a match-high seven blocks against LSU on Sept. 11.  With a hitting percentage of  .323, Brennan is ranks No. 4 in the WAC, but sits No. 1 on the team. She also has a team-high 78 total blocks on the year.

Kelsi Phillips: Phillips currently averages 3.61 digs per set, which puts her at No. 7 in the WAC. She had a career-high 26 digs against Idaho on Oct. 16 in the Pan American Center.  Last week she two double-digit dig matches marking 12 against Idaho and a match-high 15 at Boise State.

Ellen Miks: Sophomore Ellen Miks recently post a season-high four kills versus Fresno State on Nov. 4. This more than doubled her prior season total kills. She now has seven kills for the season. Miks is tenth in the WAC in digs per set with 2.98. She has played in 90 sets so far this season for the Aggies.

Madison Hardy: Junior Madison Hardy is in her first season with the Aggies after transferring from Hawai'i-Pacific. Versus the University of Hawai'I, Oct. 31, Hardy had 10 assists and four digs. She has totaled 65 assists and 36 digs this season and posted a season-high of 38 assists versus Louisiana Tech, Sept. 25. 

Michelle Kuester: Kuester has played 60 sets this season, and has 30 kills with a .221 hitting percentage.  She had a season-high of five kills and 11 attempts against Boise State earlier in the season.  The junior middle hitter has a total of 33 blocks on the season and posted six total blocks against San Jose State, Nov. 6 a career-high. 

Whitney Woods: Senior Whitney Woods posted eight total blocks against Fresno State, which is a season-high for any Aggie this year. Her career-high is nine blocks versus Utah State, Sept. 24, 2009. She also posted 15 kills against the Bulldogs, which is her second best performance on the year. Woods has 241 kills and 77 blocks this year. She has played in 104 sets in 2010 averaging 2.32 kills per set. 

Jennah DeVries: Junior setter Jennah DeVries leads the WAC currently averaging 10.97 assists per set in the 101 sets that she has competed in this season.  She also has a total of seven double-doubles during the 2010 season.  She is also posting 2.17 digs per set.  

Desiree Scott:  Freshman middle blocker Desiree Scott is averaging 1.13 kills per set and 0.74 blocks per set while competing in 92 sets.  She tallied her 100th kill of the year against Fresno State, Nov. 4 and now has 104 on the season.  

Amanda Tonga: Freshman Amanda Tonga brought her season total in kills to 61 with a six-kill match against Fresno State on Nov. 4. Her season-high is 10 kills against Boise State on Oct. 14. The Hawai'i native has played in 66 sets this year.

Deirdre Pajares: Freshman outside hitter Deirdre Pajares has played in 20 sets this year. She has tallied eight kills, three digs and one block on the year.

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.

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.

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.

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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