POSTED: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 9:46pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 10:41pm
The No. 4 seed New Mexico State volleyball team upset No. 1 seed Utah State in the semifinals of the 2012 Western Athletic Conference Tournament, Tuesday, Nov. 20 in San Antonio, Texas.
Sophomore Meredith Hays paced the Aggies offensively with a match-high 17 kills as the Crimson Aggies swept USU 25-21, 25-19, 25-16. This was a completely different match than the two regular-season matches as NM State did not allow a single USU player to get more than seven kills.
"We played a great match all-around," head coach Mike Jordan said. "We played great defense, passed the ball well and served the ball tough. It was a great team effort tonight."
NM State served the ball tough against USU marking nine service aces with junior Stephanie Ziegler marking a career-high three, while three other players added two each. Utah State tallied only two service aces against the southern Aggies.
Junior middle hitter Desiree Scott added 10 kills against USU while junior Preslie Alexander tallied eight kills on a .615 hitting percentage. Alexander didn't make a single error on 13 swings. NM State as a team posted 47 kills compared to only 26 kills by the UtAgs.
With the Aggies running a 6-2 offense again, junior Ciara Brown marked a match-high 27 assists and freshman Taylor Livoti posting 12. Livoti was great at the service line as she forced USU to pass the ball all over the floor, while also adding two service aces.
Scott led the Aggies in set one with four kills as NM State took a 1-0 lead winning 25-21. In a set that saw three ties and one lead change, both teams opened the match with determination to do what it takes to win. After falling behind 8-4, NM State put together a 5-1 scoring rally to tie it up at 9-9. The set was close mid-way thru with NM State taking a 15-14 lead on a kill by Hays. NM State would not lose the lead from that point with Livoti marking a service ace to seal the set.
NM State jumped out to an early 6-1 lead in set two as Hays tallied eight kills in the set leading the way to a 25-19 win. The southern Aggies went up by as many as eight at 20-12 when Hays hammered down another kill. Livoti wrapped up the set for her team for the second time in as many sets with a service ace against the UtAgs.
Hitting .323 in set three and holding USU to a .067 hitting percentage, NM State looked dominate winning 25-16. NM State marked four service aces in the set and USU posted six attack errors to boost the Crimson Aggies into the WAC Tournament Championship against No. 2 seed Idaho, Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. (MT).
Tomorrow's match against the Vandals is scheduled to air on ESPNU as well as on ESPN3.ccom, while it can be heard over the radio waves in Las Cruces on KSNM AM 570 with Jay Sanderson giving the play-by-play action. The winner of the title match gets an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with the selection show on Sunday at 2 p.m. (MT).