NM State Volleyball Ready For 2010 WAC Tournament and Plays in Semifinals Tuesday
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  11/19/2010

This week: The New Mexico State volleyball team heads to Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2010 Western Athletic Conference Tournament.  The tournament is being held at the Orleans Arena, Monday-Wednesday, Nov. 22-24.  The Aggies' first match is Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 6:00 p.m. (MT) when they take on the winner between No. 3 seed Utah State and No. 6 Nevada.  For ticket information call The Orleans Arena ticket office at (702) 284-7777 or go online to the website at www.OrleansArena.com.

Radio Coverage: NM State's semifinal match, Tuesday, Nov. 23 is scheduled to air over the radio waves by the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces with Kyle Doperalski giving the play-by-play action.  If the Aggies move on to the Championship Match, Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. (MT), KSNM AM 570 will pick up the converage. The action can also 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 were able to play on TV eight 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.

If the Aggies make it to the Championship Match, Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. (MT), they will face their opponent on TV as ESPNU will produce coverage across the nation. If NM State plays on ESPNU, it will be the second time this season it has done so. 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 18-12 overall and 12-4 in league play and enter the tournament as the No. 2 spot in the 2010 WAC Tournament.  The Aggies average 13.51 kills per set and are holding their opponents to a .193 hitting percentage.  The Aggies are hitting .228 on the year and tally 2.07 blocks and 13.68 digs per set.

NM State is in its 37th season of play and returns to the court with four 2009 first team All-WAC selections, including senior outside hitters Kayleigh Giddens and Whitney Woods.  The Aggies 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.

Last Week: The New Mexico State volleyball team fell 3-0 to Utah State in the Pan American Center, Wednesday, Nov. 17.  The Aggies fall to 18-12 overall and 12-4 in Western Athletic Conference play, while Utah State goes to 21-8 and 8-8 in league play.

The Aggies were led by senior Kayliegh Giddens on Senior Night as she posted a match-high 14 kills. She now has 513 kills on the year, which puts her atop the single-season kills list, surpassing Jonna Steffens who tallied 499 kills in 1990.

The Aggies posted a .040 hitting percentage, compared to a .167 hitting percentage by USU.  NM State tallied just as many kills as Utah State and out-dug their opponent 49-46 but it wasn't enough as 31 attack errors put a damper on the match.

WAC Tournament Opponents:

No. 1 Seed Hawai'i: Hawai'i heads into the tournament as the No. 3 team in the nation, while boasting a 27-1 overall record.  The Rainbow Wahine went undefeated in WAC play and won the regular season title for the 15th-concecutive year. Junior Kanani Danielson leads Hawaii marking 4.52 kills per set and 5.12 points per set.

The Aggies are 2-30 all-time against Hawaii and have met the Rainbow Wahine in the WAC Championship match every year from 2006-09. 

No. 3 Seed Utah State: The Aggies of Utah State head into the tournament with a 21-8 overall record, while going 9-7 in league play.  Liz McArthur leads USU averaging 4.05 kills per set and adds 2.21 digs per set.

NM State holds a 39-25 all-time record against Utah State.  The Aggies split with USU this season, sweeping the opposing Aggies in Logan, Utah (10/23) and falling 3-0 in Las Cruces, N.M. (11/17).

No. 4 Seed Boise State: Boise State recently defeated the Aggies 3-0 in Boise, Idaho.  BSU finished with a 21-11 overall record and went 8-8 in league play.  The Broncos are led by senior middle blocker Alisha Young, who is No. 3 in the WAC with a .336 hitting percentage and No. 7 in kills per set with 3.28 per.

The Aggies are 16-9 all-time against BSU.  The loss NM State suffered to the Broncos this season, was the first to them since Sept. 4, 2004.  The Aggies had won the previous 13 matches against Boise State.

No. 5 Seed Idaho: The Vandals ended their regular season with a 3-0 loss in Hawaii and finished with a 13-14 overall record, going 8-8 in WAC play.  Allison Walker leads Idaho offensively posting 3.95 kills per set and Kelsey Taylor is the best defender on the team with 1.32 blocks per set.

NM State is 112-12 all-time against Idaho.  The Aggies defeated the Vandals 3-2 in Las Cruces (10/16) and 3-1 in Moscow (11/11).

No. 6 Seed Nevada: The Wolf Pack is 13-16 on the year, while going 7-9 in WAC play.  Kylie Harrington leads the No. 6 seed with 3.39 kills per set and Nicole Links is the digs leader with 3.97 per set.

The Aggies are 16-12 all-time against Nevada after winning 3-0 in Reno, Nev. ( and 3-1 in the Pan American Center this season.

Looking Ahead: NM State will be keeping an eye on the NCAA Tournament Selection Show that will air between 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. (MT) on ESPNEWS, Sunday, November 28.

Aggies in WAC Tournament:  NM State has made five appearances in the WAC Tourmanent and is 8-5 in WAC Tournament play.  The Aggies have made it to the championship match every year from 2006-09, after losing in the semifinals in 2005 (NM State's first year in the WAC).

Aggies in the WAC: NM State still holds on to a few No. 2 spots in stats, just behind Hawai'i. The Aggies have a .228 hitting percentage this season and are averaging 12.72 assists and 13.51 kills per set. Individually, Kayleigh Giddens leads the WAC in kills posting 5.12 per set as well as points per set averaging 5.66. Jennah DeVries ranks No. 3 in assists averaging 11.15 per set. Kelsey Brennan comes makes the top 10 in the WAC with her .312 hitting percentage. Also in the top 10 is Kelsi Phillips, who ranks No. 7 with 3.64 digs per set.

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 .312 hitting percentage. Kayleigh Giddens ranks highest for any Aggie at No. 6 in the nation with 4.80 kills per set and is No. 9 nationally in points per set with 5.31. 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.

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 three 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.

Double-Doubles: Kayleigh Giddens racked up 11 double-double performances this season with her latest came during a road win against Idaho, Nov. 11. Giddens had 19 kills and 17 digs that evening. Jennah DeVries finished the year with eight double-doubles this season. The most recent came in a 3-0 loss to Utah State (11/17) in the Pan American Center when she tallied 33 assists and 11 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. 

Record Watch: Kayleigh Giddens is now the single-season kills leader for NM State with 513 kills this year, surpassing Jonna Steffens who tallied 499 kills in 1990. 

She also surpassed other great Aggie hitters such as Alice Borden (495) and Angela Lobendahn-Peterson (494) after posting 17 kills against Boise State, Nov. 13. Giddens is 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. 18, Giddens is averaging 4.42 kills per set in her career. She averaged 4.00 kills per set last year and is averaging 4.79 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 2,769 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 has 1,141 assists in 2010 and needs 147 assists to break into the top 10 for assists in a season.

Senior Whitney Woods has 313 total blocks in her career, needing just two more to jump into the top-10 career total blocks list.  Connie Monks (1983-86) holds the No. 10 spot with 315 in her career, while Amber Simpson (2005-08) is the career leader with 574.

1,000 Points:  Senior Kayleigh Giddens currently has 990 points in her carreer, needing just 10 to reach 1,000.  A player scores points on kills, service aces and blocks.

Player Notes:

Rocio Gutierrez: Freshman Rocio Gutierrez tallied a career-high 17 kills against Idaho, Nov. 11 while adding eight digs. She now has a total of 161 kills and 204 digs on the year. 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 102 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  .312, Brennan is ranks No. 6 in the WAC, but sits No. 1 on the team. She also has a team-high 80 total blocks on the year.

Kelsi Phillips: Phillips currently averages 3.67 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.  She had a match-high 14 digs in the regular-season finale against Utah State (11/17).

Ellen Miks: Sophomore Ellen Miks posted 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 250 kills and 79 blocks this year. She has played in 107 sets in 2010 averaging 2.34 kills per set. In her career, Woods has marked 714 kills  and 313 total blocks. 

Kayleigh Giddens: There are now eight matches where Giddens has marked at least 20 kills and she has posted double-digit kill figures in 27 of the Aggies' 30 matches this season.  She also has 11 double-doubles this season.

Jennah DeVries: Junior setter Jennah DeVries is currently No. 2 in the WAC averaging 10.97 assists per set in the 104 sets that she has competed in this season.  She also has a total of eight double-doubles during the 2010 season.  She is also posting 2.17 digs per set.  

Desiree Scott:  Freshman middle blocker Desiree Scott is averaging 1.11 kills per set and 0.79 blocks per set while competing in 95 sets.  She tallied her 100th kill of the year against Fresno State, Nov. 4 and now has 105 on the season.  She has posted five or more total blocks in seven matches this year. 

Amanda Tonga: Freshman Amanda Tonga brought her season total in kills to 63 after marking two kills in a 3-0 loss to Boise State (11/17).  Her season-high is 10 kills against Boise State on Oct. 14. The Hawai'i native has played in 68 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.

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.

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.

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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