Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
DENTON, TX - The New Mexico State volleyball team opened up the 2009 season with a five-set victory over Southern Methodist University 25-15, 22-25, 25-22, 17-25, 16-16 at the Mean Green Volleyball Center in Denton, Texas, Friday, Aug. 28.
Junior Kayleigh Giddens ( Lubbock, Texas) led the Aggie attack as she picked up 21 kills, while senior Krista Altermatt (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) wasn’t too far behind with 18 kills of her own. Junior Whitney Woods (Midland, Texas) and sophomore Kelsey Brennan (Monroe, Wash.) added nine kills each.
Defensively, sophomore Kelsi Phillips led the way with 15 digs with Altermatt picking up her first double-double of the year as she tallied 12 digs. Woods posted seven block assists as Altermatt and Giddens had two solo blocks each.
"I think we were fortunate enough to win today and you have to give SMU credit for their defense," head coach Mike Jordan said. "We made some good plays and we had some good leadership when it came down to crunch time. We are really missing Kelli Goodan and Lilly Wolfe out on the floor and are anxious to get them back healthy."
NM State got the ball rolling when Kelsey Brennan and Kayleigh Giddens got the first two kills of the season. The Aggies took a 3-0 lead but SMU came back at scored three straight points of its own. Although SMU took a 4-3 lead, the Aggies went on a 5-0 point run and wouldn’t look back from their. NM State finished the set with an ace from Altermatt. Altermatt led the way statistically with five kills in the set while Phillips had a set-high seven digs.
The Aggies struggled defensively in set two as they fell 25-22. There were seven ties with the last coming at 17-17 before the SMU took a lead that it wouldn’t lose. Down 10-5, NM State fought back going on a 7-2 rally to tie the set at 12. In that rally Phillips picked up a service ace, while DeVries topped it off with an ace of her own. After posting 13 assists in set one, DeVries marked another 12 in set two.
Winning set three 25-22, the Aggies looked to be back on their game. The set was tied at six, seven and eight before NM State took a demanding 18-12 lead. The Mustangs went on a seven point scoring run of their own and tied the set at 19 all. NM State hung tough and wrapped set with a service ace from Altermatt.
In another close set, the Aggies struggled to find their groove as they fell 25-17. As a team, NM State hit only .111 picking up 10 kills on 36 attempts while committing six errors, while SMU hit .361. There were eight ties with the last at 14 a piece. NM State got to within two at 19-17 with Altermatt’s 13th kill of the afternoon, but that’s where the scoring ended for NM State.
In the final set of the match NM State took an early 2-1 lead but saw the set tied at three, five and six. SMU was forced to call a time out when Giddens hammered the ball to the floor for her 20th kill of the match. SMU served up an ace to tie the set at 14, but NM State kept their heads in the game and Brennan slammed down an overpass to end the set at 16-14.
The Aggies play two matches, Saturday, Aug. 29. In the first match, NM State faces Northern Colorado at 1 p.m. (MDT), then it takes on host team North Texas in the night cap, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. (MDT). Both matches will be aired on the radio at KSNM AM 570 with Kyle Doperalski giving the play-by-play action. Fans can also listen online at www.NMStateSports.com for a fee, while live stats are also available on the website free of charge.