Best Wins of '07/'08

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/29/08

Today we're wrapping up our look back at the Best Wins of '07/'08. We hope you've enjoyed this retrospective of last season's Aggie athletics campaign. If you have any feedback on the series feel free to send it to us.

Our final look back into last season brings us to the Aggie volleyball team's thrilling 3-2 victory over Nevada. This match for all intents and purposes should never have gone five games. The Aggies were absolutely dominating the Wolf Pack through two and a half games and it looked like the Aggies were headed for another 3-0 sweep when they went up 27-20 in game three. However, it didn't happen that way. Nevada wound up winning games three and four by identical scores of 31-29 and then in game five it looked like Nevada was going to pull off the impossible, rally from 2-0 down to steal a victory on the Aggies' home floor. The Aggies faced match point down 14-9 and rallied to tie the match at 14. Nevada would win one more point on an Aggie service error and then the Aggies would score the final three points of the game to win 17-15.

We were playing really well and we've had no problem with them on our home court. I don't remember a whole lot about the match numbers wise but we were pretty much dominating them for two games. But halfway through game three we got really really complacent. We started making a lot of errors. Failed to take care of easy balls. Struggled at the service line. The momentum swing was huge, Nevada was completely in control. They were close games but they had all the momentum and were working harder than we were and we just played terrible for a couple of games. And game five was one of the few times that we had kind of quit. You hate to say that your team would do that but I have to admit it. I think we were rolling over and dying, looking at each other like "what's going on out here?" No one really took charge at all. We were in a huge hole. Fortunately for us a couple of people late in that match started making plays. Kelli Gooden made some plays on the right. I thought our defensive specialists Bri Akrie and Jordan Bostic started making some plays and certainly rallied the troops. Our block took over at the end of game five and we got the momentum back just in time. And I mean just in the knick of time.

It's worth noting that under the new rules that go into effect this season, this match would have ended 3-0. The teams are playing to 25 points this season. Here's our full writeup on the rules changes and how they would have affected this game.

While we're on the subject of volleyball, the Aggies were picked to finish second behind Hawai'i in the preseason women's voleyball coaches' poll. Until someone knocks off Hawai'i as the regular season and conference tournament champions, they will continue to be picked to finish 1st. Clearly the team best equipped to do so are the Aggies. The question remains, will this be the season it happens?

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/28/08

Our continuing look back at the Best Wins of '07/'08 brings us to the Aggie volleyball team's 3-1 victory over Utah State in Logan, Utah. This win was Coach Jordan's pick for a win that didn't stand out to the general fans but was a good win for the team.

The Aggies won game one 30-24, then won game two 31-29. Following the intermission NMSU dropped game three 30-19 but came back to win 30-23. The match came one night after they had defeated Utah 3-1. Statistically it was not one of the Aggies' better nights but what matters is they got the win.

Coach Jordan had this to say looking back on the match:

At Utah State we had some struggles, our outside hitters didn't play well that match. I think other people stepped up. Our right side players stepped up and played better. I thought we matured a little bit in that match. I couldn't step back from it and say that as a a group we played well but we had other people come through for us that maybe hadn't done so much of that in the past. They stepped up and made plays. I think some of our players matured a little bit in that match.

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/25/08

Our look back at the Best Wins of '07/'08 brings us to the Aggie volleyball team's victory over Utah. While this victory wasn't a nail-biter, in fact it was really even close, the reason we chose this Aggie victory is because Utah is a traditional volleyball power and they're tough to take down on Crimson Court. Prior to last season Utah had recorded a 92-27 record in nine seasons playing there. That's an average of just three losses per season at home. Utah had a bit of a down season last year due to injuries which was a factor in the Aggies' dominating performance (although we still think the Aggies would have still won even if had Utah been at full strength).

The Aggies dominated the match winning game one 30-21 and game two 30-23. Utah came out of the intermission and won game three 30-23 but the Aggies finished the match winning 30-23 in game four. This was a much more dominating match than the score suggested and prompted the Utah head coach to make the following remarks:

"This match was a step backwards for us," head coach Beth Launiere said. "We've made improvements every match this season and this is our first step back. We worked hard, but were just too inconsistent.

Krista Altermatt had an excellent night for the Aggies recording 18 kills and 10 digs. Krystal Torres had 26 digs and three aces and Kim Oguh had 12 kills, five blocks and three aces.

Coach Jordan had this to say about the victory:

That was a good win on the road, Utah was a little bit down this year. They lost a player or two and had a real good player, a 6'6" middle out with an injury (Jennifer Lanting) and she didn't get to play the year because of a knee injury. Any time you play a team on their home court and they have a lot of tradition, they're competitive but I just think they were so inconsistent attacking the ball that we were pretty much in control the entire way. They just didn't do enough consistently to make us work that hard. We played well. I thought we played very good defense and we attacked the ball very well, especially out of the back row. Utah really was just too inconsistent at that point. I don't think they played that particularly well and it wasn't that close of a match. We expected it to be closer but I think with their injury situation it just made it hard on them to compete with us.

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/24/08

Before we get started it has been brought to our attention that, we're idiots which well, we already knew. Apparently our pick for preseason defensive player of the year Marty Tadman, has already graduated. Whoops. When we filled out the ballot BSU hadn't updated the football section of their website and for one reason or another they had him listed as a junior (which is why we picked him). We'll try not to screw any other information up along the way this season (but no promises). So with that out of the way on with the show...

Our continuing look back at the Best Wins of '07/'08 brings us to the Aggie volleyball team's 3-2 victory over Louisville at the Ameritas Players Challenge in Lincoln, NE. Louisville began the season as the 17th ranked team in the country and the two teams squared off with the chance to play the #1 team in the country on the line. The Aggies lost game one 20-30 but rebounded to win game two 30-23. Louisville then won game three 24-30 but the Aggies dominated game four 30-16 and then in extra points the Aggies defeated Louisville 21-19 and won the right to face then #1 Nebraska.

Louisville has a great program, they've been good for a long time. They're a perennial NCAA team and we knew they had a lot of players returning. They've a very physical team. They play a unique style, European style, a lot of high balls which I think worked in our favor. They couldn't beat us off the ground and I think our block was probably the deciding factor in the match. We were able to block a lot of balls and slow down their big kids.

We started kinda poorly, game one I believe we lost and came back and started playing better in game two. It was a tough match at times. I think we put ourselves in pretty good position with good serve receive to win the two games we did before game five. We were siding out efficiently and we blocked well enough to win. I thought it was a great match, it was a lot of fun to watch for sure.

In game five we ran out of subs which is unusual, of course the game went way into extra points. We were subbing a lot of players and Jordan Bostic wound up in the front row as a defensive specialist and made some good plays for us, fed her the ball a little bit. She was probably the key to victory in that game five against Louisville.

It's worth noting that Coach Jordan made it a point to let us know that Jordan Bostic was the key reason that the Aggies won the match against Louisville. When a coach singles out (several months after the fact) that a certain player changed the landscape of a game, you know it must have been a special performance.

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/23/08

Be sure to check out this month's interview with NMSU Associate AD Steve Macy. Steve filled in for Dr. Boston who is traveling extensively this month.

Today's look back at the Best Wins of '07/'08 brings us to the Aggie men's golf team's second WAC Championship in the past three seasons. The Aggies entered the WAC tournament on a hot streak and jumped out to an 11-stroke lead after the first day. Boise State staged a rally on day two cutting the Aggie lead to just three strokes. On the third and final day the Aggies were dealt a tough blow as Josh Stewart had to withdraw due to a wrist injury forcing the Aggies to play with just four players. The Aggies were able to hold onto the lead and won the championship by five shots.

Coach Lieberwirth shared his thoughts on the championship with us:

The first day we played, that was the best round we played all year, the first day of conference. It was only a couple under but Kevin [Lozares] shoots 69 and Josh [Stewart] shot 67 and on that golf course on that day was extremely good. The other guys held in there. After getting out to that big lead obviously you'd love to get a pad like that. You know it's not going to win us the tournament but getting off to a big lead like that was nice. Then we go into the second day we didn't play near as well as we did the first day. The scores obviously show it but in the attitudes we had, there might have been a sense that we were going to walk away with it and they were going to just hand us the trophy. We tightened up a little bit later on as we weren't playing as well. To Boise's credit they charged back. They had a couple of great rounds. That made it a tournament again. I just think on that day, the second day, Boise was more motivated and they were hungry to get back in the tournament and they did.

So we go into the final round and Josh Stewart's on the driving range trying to warm up and can't hardly grip the club. We didn't know what was wrong. He tried warming up and was in quite a bit of pain but he wanted to play, which it was the final round of the WAC Championship and he wanted to be there for his team. He just wasn't able to go, he played four holes and was just ineffective and was only going to do himself more harm than good by continuing.

I went around to the course, the other four were well out onto the course when I had taken Josh in. They had all gotten off to reasonable start but I told each and every one of them that Josh was out and we were just playing four guys in that last round. That got rid of any final round jitters for us being in a tight tournament. They knew they had no safety net. They had nobody to rely on, their score was going to count. What I was most pleased with, you could almost see it in everyone's eyes, they kind of got a little squinty and white-eyed and understood that we had a challenge in front of us. Almost instantaneously everybody made one or two birdies right after that and pushed us in front of Boise by the middle of that back side for good.

After the jump we have more from our interview with Coach Lieberwirth.

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/22/08

The Aggie women's basketball team released its 2008-2009 schedule yesterday afternoon. The highlights of the schedule include a road game at Kansas and of course the home and home series against rivals UTEP and UNM. When the schedule was released a few things jumped out at us. First was the switch from a Thursday/Saturday rotation to a Friday/Sunday rotation. The second was the Aggies will be on the road for 10 of 13 games beginning in the middle of December through the end of January. Finally, the Aggies once again have to play a conference foe in back to back games. Last season the Aggies had to face Fresno State in back to back games this season they face Hawai'i in back to back games. For Coach Spence's thoughts on the schedule be sure to check out our interview with him.

Today's look back at the Best Wins of '07/'08 revisits the Aggie men's golf team's victory at the Ping Cougar Intercollegiate tournament hosted by BYU. The victory was the second consecutive win for the team. The Aggies finished with a score of 17-under-par. The Aggies had rounds of 277-282-288 and won by 11 strokes over Washington State and host BYU. Three Aggies finished in the Top 10, Tim Madigan and Matt Edwards finished 5th while Kevin Lozares finished 8th. Travis Reid finished just outside the Top 10 in 11th.

We asked Coach Lieberwirth about his team's second consecutive victory:

We were at BYU and coming off the win, obviously we're feeling good. But you never know. Was it a fluke that week [Stevinson Ranch] or was it a sign of things to come? We got off to a good round, the guys were really playing with a lot of confidence and hit the ball extremely well that week. After the first day we put ourselves right there in position. The last day the guys went out I watched Matt Edwards mostly that day and it was a real windy day and he shoots 4-under par. It was the best round I've ever seen him play in college golf. Everybody else really just hung in there and shot around par. That's what it took though. It took four or five guys strong all playing pretty well. By that point we were getting a lot of confidence going into the WAC Championship.

Finally, ESPNU unveiled their Prestige Ranking for men's basketball programs since the 1984-1985 season. Here is their explanation of the scoring system and here is their ranking of schools outside the Top 50. The Aggies find themselves tied for 61st place along with fellow WAC member Utah State. The two Aggie schools are the highest ranked WAC schools on the list. UTEP is tied for 65th and UNM is 70th.

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/21/08

Check out today's installment of the 2008 Blue Ribbon Yearbook Aggie Football Preview. Today's Blue Ribbon Analysis wraps up our preview of the Aggie football team. We'd like to take a moment to thank the good folks at Blue Ribbon Yearbook for allowing us to use their preview again this season.

As promised we're resuming our look back at the Best Wins of '07/'08. Today's trip down memory lane brings us to the Aggie men's golf team's victory at Stevinson Ranch. The victory was the first of three consecutive victories for the men's golf team. The streak culminated with the Aggies bringing home their second conference championship in three seasons in the WAC.

The Aggies started the final round just two shots off the lead and posted an eight-stroke victory. NMSU finished with a team score of 8-over-par, 872 (292-291-289). The Aggies had three golfers finish in the Top 10 with freshman Tim Madigan finishing 2nd, senior Matt Edwards 7th and sophomore Josh Steward 9th.

We asked head Coach Scott Lieberwirth about the tournament that started their run to the championship and he had this to say about his team's victory:

We started playing better going into that event. We turned a big corner at that tournament because that was the tournament we started to learn how to win. I think the guys understanding that they don't have to individually play their best. They just have to do what they're capable of and all five did that and we won. It was a big momentum boost. Especially going into the conference tournament a couple weeks up learning how to win was the most important thing and we learned how to do that that day. That right there was the catalyst for everything else to come. It was a good win and gave us a lot of confidence.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with collegiate golf, the team plays with five players and the top four scores are recorded. Anyone that's ever played golf competitively knows that a bad round can come out of nowhere and so the "play five, score four" gives the teams and players a little bit of a safety net against one guy having a bad day on the links.

Finally, on a football related note Felix Chavez of the Las Cruces Sun-News gives his predictions for the upcoming 2008 WAC football season. We also participated in the preseason poll and since fans wanted to know how coaches vote in the coaches poll we think it's only fair that we share our preseason WAC poll voting. Our predicted order of finish for the 2008 season goes like this: 1) Fresno State, 2) Boise State, 3) Nevada, 4) New Mexico State, 5) Louisiana Tech (who we think will be better than most people think), 6) Hawai'i (we think they'll suffer a post-June Jones drop-off), 7) Utah State, 8) San Jose State, 9) Idaho (ESPN.com's Graham Watson predicted that Idaho could finish winless, ouch). Without going into specifics, the Aggies will finish no worse than 7-5 but we think they could post as many as eight or nine wins and could sneak into the #3 spot behind Fresno State and Boise State. (Perhaps we'll give our prediction for which teams we think the Aggies will beat at a later date).

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/17/08

Today's installment of the 2008 Blue Ribbon Yearbook Preview is previewing the Defensive Backs.

Also be sure to check out our latest edition of Aggie History With Walter Hines. Walter shares a story he wrote about former Aggie head coach Warren Woodson. Coach Woodson was the last coach to lead the Aggies to a bowl game.

Today's look back at the Best Wins of '07/'08 brings us to the Aggie men's basketball team's 83-75 victory over Nevada in the semifinals of the WAC tournament. The Aggies led for a majority of the first half but went into the half trailing by two. In the second half the Aggies built their lead up to 13 points but on two different occasions had their lead trimmed to two points but sealed the victory from the free throw line.

Coach Menzies had this to say about the victory when we recently interviewed him about the game:

That was a great team and community win. You could sense some reservations when the brackets came out I know there were several people in the extended family and in the community that wanted to play Nevada in the finals because they had beaten us twice throughout the conference season. When we matched up with them in the second game it was one of those deals where the arena was really electric and the extra support gave us the momentum to play to the best of our abilities and it gave us a little extra energy there and obviously propelled us to the final game which is critical and something we want to try to do. The goal every year is we want to be able to compete for either the regular season or tournament championship. Getting there and getting the opportunity obviously we had to go through Nevada and so that game was huge for us. We made some adjustments that we didn't make the first two times and we were definitely thrilled with that win.

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/16/08

Be sure to check out today's installment of the 2008 Blue Ribbon Yearbook Aggie Football Preview. Today we're previewing the Linebackers.

Our continuing series looking back at the Best Wins of '07/'08 brings us to the Aggie men's basketball team's 99-80 victory over Boise State on February 9th. After Boise State made the opening basket the Aggies dominated the entire game. They led by as many as 16 in the first half and led by 18 heading into the first media timeout. Boise State would put together a couple of different runs, one of which got the lead down to eight points but the Aggies would not be denied the victory that day. The game also turned out to be a dunk-fest for the Aggies as they turned in (by our count) at least six dunks.

We asked Coach Menzies about the dominating victory and he had this to say:

That game was one of those games where, in my mind you can always speculate about how the game is going to go and I really thought that game was going to be a tighter game. I didn't know that we were going to play at the level of energy that we did. I give my kids credit they really finished. We had struggled to really put teams away the way we should have. We had a couple of opportunities to do that throughout the year and it was good to see things come around for that game in the sense of finishing it out as strong as we did.

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The Daily Aggie :: 07/15/08

Check out today's installment of the 2008 Blue Ribbon Yearbook Aggie Football Preview. Today we're previewing the Defensive Line.

Our continuing look back at the Best Wins of '07/'08 continues with a look back at the Aggie men's basketball team's 100-70 victory over Utah State on January 26th. The Aggies were coming off of a disappointing 87-78 loss that wasn't as close as the final score indicated. Utah State came in to the game having sent a couple players home for breaking unspecified team rules and were coming off the long road trip to Ruston just two days earlier. NMSU trailed the Utah State Aggies by nine points midway through the first half and then NMSU's shooting heated up. The Aggies went into the half on a 30-11 run to take a 10 point lead and continued the onslaught in the second half outscoring Utah State 48-28 over the final 20 minutes.

Looking back on the game Coach Menzies had this to say:

I think that was a turning point for us in conference in the sense of really giving us the conference season out with that extra boost. We felt like when we played together we could always refer to that game, we did things the right way. It was a bit of an enigma because they were down and they had sent a couple of guys home so I don't think they were at full strength that game just traveling in from Louisiana. All that being said it was something that was a big plus for us.

If you didn't do so yesterday be sure to check out our interview with Coach Menzies.

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