Aggie Volleyball Opens Season at Northern Illinois Tournament
This week: The New Mexico State volleyball team opens the 2012 season with the Northern Illinois Tournament in DeKalb, Ill. The Aggies play Wichita State, Friday, Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. (MT), before facing North Dakota State and Northern Illinois, Saturday, Aug. 25. NM State will take on NDSU at 11 a.m. (MT) and NIU at 6 p.m. (MT).
Radio Coverage: The Aggie Sports Network is producing 15 matches on KSNM AM 570 this season, along with any matches in the post season. All three matches played in the Northern Illinois Tournament are scheduled to air over the radio waves with Kyle Doperalski giving the play-by-play action.
The matches airing over the radio waves produced by the Aggie Sports Network on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces can also be heard from anywhere around the world on the Internet by logging onto www.NMStateSports.com. Just click on the live events link to access the coverage for a fee.
Television Coverage: The NM State volleyball team will have six matches on TV this year. The AggieVision Production team has the following matches scheduled to air on TV: Louisiana Tech - Sept. 20; UTSA - Oct. 11; Texas State - Oct. 13; San Jose State - Nov. 1; Utah State - Nov. 3.
Matches produced by AggieVision will also air on ESPN3.com (free of charge) and fans should check local listings for airtimes in their area. Fans can also go to www.AggieVision.tv for channel listings.
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: After finishing last year with a 23-10 record, the Aggies were picked the win the WAC in the league preseason coaches poll. The Aggies return starting outside hitters Meredith Hays and Stephanie Ziegler, while losing three-time honorable mention All-American setter Jennah DeVries and three-time All-WAC selection middle hitter Kelsey Brennan. NM State also lost libero Kelsi Phillips, who is in the top 10 in the Aggie record books for digs per set in a season..
Head coach Mike Jordan, who is in his 15th season with NM State, is anxious to see what redshirt freshman outside hitter Bradley Nash can bring to the court after she went down with a season-ending injury in the first match of the 2011 season (vs. Nebraska).
WAC Preseason Poll: The WAC volleyball coaches selected NM State to win the WAC regular season title in 2012. The Aggies received eight of the 10 first-place votes with Idaho earning the other two. The Aggies earned 79 total points, followed by Idaho with 67. UTSA was picked to finish third with 58 points, followed closely by Utah State in fourth with 57 points and Texas State in fifth with 52. Denver was picked sixth with 43 points, while San Jose State was selected seventh with 34 points. UT Arlington, Seattle U and Louisiana Tech rounded out the poll with 27, 18 and 15 points, respectively.
Preseason All-WAC: NM State placed the most players on the preseason All-WAC team with three, including sophomore Meredith Hays as Preseason Player of the Year, while Idaho, UTSA and Utah State had two apiece.
Joining Hays on the preseason team are teammates Lauren Loerch and Desiree Scott, Idaho's Alex Sele and Allison Walker, UTSA's McKenzie Adams and Whitney Walls, Utah State's Shay Sorensen and Joselyn White, Denver's Faimie Kingsley, San Jose State's Alex Akana and Texas State's Amari Deardorff.
Hays, was a 2011 first team All-WAC member as a freshman and was also the 2011 Freshman of the Year. She was only the second Aggie ever to earn that honor. She led the WAC and ranked 18th in the nation in both kills per set (4.42) and points per set (4.94). Hays also led the WAC with 500 kills on the season. Scott played in 98 sets as a sophomore last season, ranking second on the team in blocks per set (0.78) and third in total blocks (76). She was a perfect six kills on six attempts during a sweep of Utah State on Oct. 1, 2011. Loerch, a cousin of former Aggie great Stevi (Adams) Maytubby, comes to NM State as a transfer from California. She was a part of the 2010 Bear team that reached the NCAA National Championship match against Penn State.
Returning Top Stats Leaders: The Aggies welcome back outside hitter Meredith Hays, who not only led her team but led the WAC with 4.42 kills per set. Redshirt junior Stephanie Ziegler was third on the team in 2011 with 2.17 kills per set. Unfortunately, NM State lost Kelsi Phillips who led the team in service aces (35) and digs (4.13/set) and will look to some newcomers to replace her.
Hays was third on the team last year in digs (2.53/set), while junior Desiree Scott was third in total blocks (76).
Aggies vs. Wichita State: The Aggies are 2-0 against Wichita State all-time. The last meeting came on Oct. 28, 1989 when NM State came out with a 3-1 victory.
The Shockers received votes in the AVCA Preseason poll and were picked to finish third in the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference preseason coaches poll. Wichita State returns four starters from a team that finished with a 21-11 record and made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
Aggies vs. North Dakota State: NM State is 1-0 all-time against the Bison. After play was suspended for 42 minutes in game one because of a tornado warning, the New Mexico State volleyball team took its record to 14-0 after it defeated North Dakota State in three-games, 30-28, 30-18, 30-17, to claim the Jackrabbit Invitational title, Saturday, Sept. 16, in Brookings, S.D. Three Aggies had double-figure kill performances with senior outside hitter Alice Borden recording a game-high 15 kills. Middle hitters sophomore Amber Simpson and junior Kim Oguh had 13 and 12 kills, respectively. The duo also tallied five blocks apiece.
After capturing its third championship in four years, two-time defending Summit League Volleyball Champion North Dakota State was selected as the preseason favorite to repeat in a vote of the league's nine head coaches. The Bison return three starters plus their libero. One of the key returnees is first team all-league selection and Freshman of the Year, outside hitter Emily Spencer, who marked 3.79 kills per set last season.
Aggies vs. Northern Illinois: This will be the first meeting between NM State and Northern Illinois.
NIU was the 2011 Mid-American Conference regular season champions and made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001. The Huskies return senior middle blocker Mary Kurisch, who was named a West Division Preseason All-MAC honoree. She started in all 35 matches last year and tallied 109 total blocks along with a .321 hitting percentage.
NM State Season Openers: The Aggies are 26-12 overall in season opening matches and 9-5 under Mike Jordan. NM State fell in the 2011 season opener 3-2 to No. 5 Nebraska in a tournament hosted by New Mexico, in Albuquerque. The Aggies defeated Florida International in its season opener in 2010 and Southern Methodist the year before. NM State fell to No. 11 Oregon in the season opener in the State Farm Illini Classic in Champaign, Ill. to start the 2008 season, which was the last time the Aggies reached the NCAA Tournament.
Jordan Back for 15th Season: Head coach Mike Jordan enters his 15 year with NM State and heads into the season with a 308-138 overall record, while going 89-21 in WAC play. He earned WAC Coach of the Year honors in 2005, 2006 and 2008 and also earned Coach of the Year honors twice in the Sun Belt Conference (2003 and 2004).
Jordan is the only NM State volleyball head coach to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament, which he has done five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008). He is also the only Aggie head coach to ever lead his team to a conference title as he led his team to titles in both the Sun Belt Conference and the WAC. NM State is the first team to either share or hold the WAC regular-season title since BYU and Hawai'i shared the Pacific Division title in 1998.