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Aggie Volleyball Hangs Tough With Arizona But Falls In 3-0 Sweep | bleedCrimson.net :: Your Source for NMSU Aggies Sports News

Aggie Volleyball Hangs Tough With Arizona But Falls In 3-0 Sweep

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Desiree ScottStarting three freshmen against a veteran Arizona team on Saturday afternoon, the Aggies would come up short falling in three sets to the host Wildcats, 25-18, 25-19 and 26-24. The Aggies would battle closely with the Wildcats in the first two sets before Arizona would pull away in the later stages of each set. The Aggies led by two points at 23-21 in set three but could not overcome the Wildcats. "We had three freshmen out there, sometimes four against a good Pac-10 team, that's difficult right now but there was definitely some competition," said head coach Mike Jordan after the match.

The Aggie defense had no answer for Arizona's Tiffany Owens who finished the match with a match-high 22 kills on 30 swings with just one attack error and an astounding .700 hitting percentage on the left side. She added 12 digs and a service ace. "We didn't play very good defense in the first game, it was close for a long time but we didn't capitalize on some defensive opportunities," said Coach Jordan.

The Aggies' freshman middle blocker Desire Scott, playing in place of injured junior Kelsey Brennan, finished with nine kills on 11 swings and committed no hitting errors for an .818 hitting percentage.

It was the sixth loss in a row for the Aggies, their longest losing steak since losing six in a row in the 1999 season, head coach Mike Jordan's second season at the helm.

The Aggies would hang tough with Arizona in the first set early. The Aggies took a 1-0 lead in the set on a kill by Kayleigh Giddens but three straight points gave the Cats a 3-1 lead. The Aggies would keep Arizona in their sights as the Wildcats would lead by three on several occasions and on several occasions the Aggies would cut the Arizona lead to two and have a chance to trim the lead to one, however, they were unable to do so each time. The Wildcats push their lead to five points at 17-12 on a kill by Cursty Jackson. The Aggies would trim the lead to two at 17-15 after a kill by Desiree Scott, a service ace by Shelby Tamura and a bad set by Arizona's Paige Weber. The Aggies would have a chance to cut the lead to one but a kill by Arizona's Whitney Dosty pushed the Wildcat lead to three at 18-15. The Aggies would get a kill on a setter dump by Jenna DeVries to again cut the lead to two points at 18-16 but Arizona would run off three consecutive points to push their lead to 20-16 forcing an Aggie timeout. The Aggies would score just two more points after the timeout as the Wildcats would take the set 25-18.

The second set again saw the Aggies hang tough with the Wildcats as the Aggies would lead 3-1 after a kill by Whitney Woods. Three straight points by the Wildcats would push them ahead 4-3. The Aggies would draw even on a service error by Arizona's Marketa Hanzlova. Arizona would run off three points to take a 7-4 lead. The Aggies would battle back to tie the set at 9-9 after a kill by Whitney Woods and would again tie the set at 11 on a kill by Kayleigh Giddens. Three straight points by Arizona would force an Aggie timeout trailing 14-11. The Aggies would cut the Wildcat lead to two points at 14-12 and 16-14 but a four point run by the Cats would give them a 20-14 lead. The Aggies would trail by five at 23-18 but the Wildcats would put the set away at 25-19.

The Aggies would fall behind quickly 3-0 in the third set and would go down 9-5 after a kill by Arizona's Madeline Lozano. However, six straight Aggie points highlighted by three straight kills by Rocio Gutierrez would give the Aggies an 11-9 lead. The Aggies would hold a 12-11 lead as 5'8" Jennah DeVries would win a joust at the net over 6'3" Whitney Dosty. The Aggies would push their lead to three points at 16-13 after an attack error by Courtney Karst. The Aggies would still hold a two point lead at 19-17 after a kill by Desiree Scott but the Wildcats would tie the set after Rocio Gutierrez committed an attack error. The Aggies and Woldcats would trade points and the set would remain tied at 21-21 but two straight points by the Aggies would give them a 23-21 lead. Two points later the set would be tied at 23 forcing an Aggie timeout. Kayleigh Giddens would commit an attack error on the next point to give the Wildcats a 24-23 lead prompting another Aggie timeout. Whitney Woods would record a kill to tie the set at 24 but Arizona would finish off the match on kill by Tiffany Owens two points later to give the Wildcats a 26-24 set victory and send the Aggies home with their sixth straight defeat.

Kayleigh Giddens led the Aggies with 10 kills on 28 swings with six attack errors and hit .143 on the match. Desiree Scott had nine kills and committed no attack errors and hit .818 on the match. Fellow middle Michelle Kuester finished with four kills on eight swings with no attack errors and hit .500 for the match. "They've got talent and they're getting better, we've just got to keep feeding them the ball a little bit more as the opportunity arises," said Coach Jordan. "That comes with confidence. We understand that we can't just keep setting Kayleigh all the time and Woods all the time. With Kelsey Brennan out, we've got to prove our middles can get kills. They did a good job."

Whitney Woods finished with seven kills, Rocio Gutierrez and setter Jennah DeVries each finished with five kills and freshman Deirdre Pajares recorded one kill.

Rocio Gutierrez finished with eight digs to lead the way for the Aggies. Kayleigh Giddens and Ellen Miks each had seven digs in the match.

Tiffany Owens had a career night for the Wildcats with 22 kills, 12 digs and a service ace. Cursty Jackson finished with 10 kills on 13 swings and just one attack error to hit .692. Courtney Kars added 10 kills on 22 swings with three attack errors and hit .318. The Wildcats had seven service aces and seven service errors while the Aggies had two service aces and six service errors.

Arizona finished the match hitting .408 while the Aggies hit .312. The two teams combined for just 22 attack errors, 10 for Arizona and 12 for the Aggies. "It was very clean, it was an excellently played offensive match," said Coach Jordan. "They passed a little bit better serve receive than we did which helped them obviously. They're still big and physical and it's tough to stop them even when they're out of system. A lot of that big percentage came in the first game where we had a lot of defensive opportunities that we didn't make. I think if we can clean that up we'll be a lot tougher."

The Aggies open up WAC play on Thursday night when they face Louisiana Tech in Ruston, LA. at 6:00 p.m. MT.