The Aggie volleyball team picked up a victory in their season opener defeating a very good Wichita State team 3-1 on Friday night. It's one of the best wins for the Aggies in a while (probably since defeating Colorado State in Fort Collins at the end of the 2010 season). As we noted in yesterday's post there were a few questions to be answered for the Aggies and at least after yesterday's match the answers were good answers. The Aggies got very solid play from their setters Ciara Brown and Taylor Livoti. The Aggies ran the 6-2 offense and did so effectively. Brown notched 26 assists while freshman Livoti recorded the only double-double in the match with 20 assists and 10 digs.
We also talked about the floor defense and the Aggies, though susceptible to the setter dump by WSU's very tall and very offensive-minded setter Chelsey Feekin (nine kills), the Aggies' floor defense was as solid as we've seen it in a couple years. The Aggies covered a lot of balls and they tracked down a lot of balls that in the past couple of season would not have been tracked down and kept a few rallies going.
Finally the front row attackers were as good as advertised. Meredith Hays picked up right where she left off last season. She had a match-high 20 kills and a very impressive .357 hitting percentage. Preslie Alexander had an impressive debut finishing with 11 kills on 24 swings, Lauren Loerch finished with seven kills, Desiree Scott had one of her best matches as an Aggie so far finishing with 10 kills and just one attack error and Bradley Nash's return was a successful one. She finished with seven kills but it was her serving that was a huge, huge, huge boost for the Aggies. Nash featured a topspin jump serve that at times was devastating and Coach Jordan noted that without that, they may not have won the match. It's also important to note that Nash developed this jump serve over the course of the last week. The Aggies won 14 points in the match while Nash was serving and just twice did WSU side out on Nash's first serve. Nash was also on serve during the Aggies' critical six-point run that helped them draw even after trailing 20-14 in set four.
The Aggies get two more chances today to pick up quality victories. They take the floor against North Dakota State at 11:00 a.m. (MDT) and then again at 6:00 p.m. (MDT) when they take on tournament host Northern Illinois. Both matches will be broadcast on KSNM AM 570 with audio streamed online via Aggie Access (subscription required).
NDSU and NIU went the distance in their match last night as NIU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the match winning sets one and two 25-23 and 27-25 before the Bison rallied for decisive 25-18 and 25-20 victories to tie the match at 2-2. The Huskies won set five 15-10 jumping out quickly to an 8-4, 10-5 and 12-6 lead.
Players to keep an eye on for tray against the Aggies are NDSU's Brynn Joki who had 14 kills (but 10 attack errors) and Andrea Henning who finished with 22 digs. For NIU the Aggies will keep tabs on Meghan Romo (17 kills but 14 attack errors) and Mackenzie Roddy (18 kills, 8 attack errors). The Huskies also had five different players with double-digit digs.
Both matches today should be very competitive matches and it appears that all four teams in the tournament are playing at a fairly high level for the first weekend of play.
The Wichita State athletic website recaps the Aggies' 3-1 victory.
The NM State athletic website recaps the Aggies' victory.
The Northern Illinois athletic website recaps their 3-2 win over NDSU along with a video interview with their head coach
The North Dakota State athletic website recaps their loss and also provides video highlights of the match.
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