LAS VEGAS - The New Mexico State volleyball team fell in five sets (23-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 14-16) to Utah State in the semifinal of the 2010 Western Athletic Conference Tournament as senior Kayliegh Giddens marked a career-high 29 kills.
The Aggies fell behind two sets to one and tied it up at 2-2 after taking set four 25-22. The Aggies took the momentum into set five staying with Utah State and eventually taking a 13-10 lead, but NM State errors proved to be the difference as USU won 16-14.
Giddens also tallied her 12th double-double of the year as she added 22 digs, while senior Whitney Woods marked 19 kills and freshman Rocio Gutierrez tallied 14. Junior setter Jennah DeVries scored her ninth double-double of the season with a season-high 64 assists and 13 digs.
"It was a great match in many ways and Utah State is a great, veteran team that deserved the win," head coach Mike Jordan said. "We competed well and we had the match in grasp at 13-10 but errors hurt us. It's tough to see those mistakes, but it was good to see that they were aggressive ones."
The Aggies marked a season-high 77 kills as a team and 76 digs which was the second most of the year. Junior libero Kelsi Phillips marked 18 digs and six assists, while finishing the year with 3.66 digs per set to lead the Aggies. Woods ended the night with six total blocks to end her career with 319 total blocks, which puts her at No. 10 all-time for NM State.
The Aggies finish the season with an 18-13 overall record and five All-WAC selections. NM State had a winning streak of seven from Oct. 7-23, but ended with three consecutive losses and two of them from Utah State.
"We had a challenging season and I am proud that we finished second in the regular-season," Jordan said. "We had to deal with a lot of injuries and I'm proud of the progress our players made. We were just a couple of matches away from getting into the NCAA Tournament and we will be looking forward to next year. The future is exciting because we are still going to be very athletic and more experienced with the players we are bringing back."
The Aggies fell behind early in the first set but NM State fought hard as the fans in attendance saw 11 ties and four lead changes. NM State gained some momentum when freshman Desiree Scott posted a solo block and Giddens slammed down another kill giving their team a 12-11 lead. The set would be tied up again at 17 on a Gutierrez kill and once more at 23-23 but a kill by USU and an attack error by NM State gave ended the set at 25-23 in favor of the Aggies from Utah. NM State hit .297 with Giddens leading the way with eight kills.
Set two was back-and-forth but NM State managed to pick up the victory winning 25-20. NM State posted four blocks, while Woods scored five kills and Giddens tallied six more. NM State took the lead at 7-6 and never lost the lead again. USU tried to get back in it, but a powerful kill by Woods and another by Brennan gave NM State a 17-12 lead. The northern Aggies pulled to within one at 19-18 but a hard-hitting kill by Giddens took any momentum from USU. NM State scored three consecutive points at the end of the set to tie the match up at one all.
NM State was able to hold their opponent to a .182 hitting percentage in set three but that wouldn't be enough as it dropped the set 25-21. The southern Aggies took a 7-3 lead early in the set, but a 6-1 scoring rally gave USU a 9-8 lead. The Aggies tied it right back up at nine all on a dump by DeVries. After a kill by Giddens tied up the set at 13-13, it was up-and-down for NM State. A kill by Gutierrez and an attack error by USU tied the set up at 17. USU went on to win the set 25-21.
The Aggies rallied late in set No. 4 to win 25-22. Down 22-20, Giddens marked kill No. 25 on the night to tie her career-high and pull the Aggies to within one. With DeVries on the service line, NM State was able to five consecutive points with two aces by DeVries, a solo block by junior Michelle Kuester and a couple of errors by USU. NM State was up by five early on but USU didn't give up and stayed with the Aggies throughout the set.
The Aggies fell 16-14 in set No. 5 to end their season with a 18-13 overall record. Just like the previous four sets, both teams played tough as there were 11 ties and six lead changes. NM State tied it up at 9-9 and at 10-10 with kills by Giddens. NM State took a 13-10 lead but USU capitalized on a couple of mistakes by NM State and took a 14-13 lead. Woods marked her 19th kill of the match to tie it up at 14 all, but the northern Aggies marked two consecutive points to win 16-14.