Aggie Volleyball Loses 3-1 To No. 15 Florida State

Playing in their second match of the day at the FSU Invite the New Mexico State Aggie volleyball team lost 3-1 to tournament host No. 15 Florida State. The Aggies lost the first set 25-16 but rallied to win set two 28-26 before losing sets three and four 25-16 and 25-10 respectively. Kayleigh Giddens finished with a team-high 14 kills with seven attack errors for a .219 hitting percentage. She also added nine digs. Florida State's Visnja Djurdjevic led all players with 17 kills on 33 swings with just two attack errors and recorded 12 digs.

For the second consecutive match the Aggies dropped the first set, losing 25-16 as they gave up a pair of big runs to the Seminoles. The Aggies struggled with their passing serve receive. "They just put a ton of pressure on us and we just passed it bad for the majority of the match," said head coach Mike Jordan. The two teams traded the lead early as the Aggies held a 2-1 advantage before the Seminoles answered to take a 4-2 lead. The Aggies would score three in a row behind a kill by Whitney Woods and a pair of attack errors by the Seminoles to take a 5-4 lead. With the set tied 6-6, Florida State would go on a 7-0 run to grab a 13-6 lead. The Aggies responded with three points in a row to cut the lead to 13-9, however, Florida State would answer back with an 8-2 run to take a 21-11 lead. The Aggies would once again run off three points in a row to cut the Seminoles' lead to 21-14 but the lead would prove to be too much for the Aggies to overcome as Florida State would close out the set 25-16.

The second set saw the Aggies fall behind early 7-4, however, this time the Aggies would battle back and keep things close behind better passing. "[The difference in passing] It's confidence. FSU didn't really do anything different at the service line," said Coach Jordan. "They hit a ton of great serves. Five of their six servers hit great serves. We got on a roll and got some confidence going for a while and it was great." The Aggies would use three straight points to pull even behind a pair of kills by Kayleigh Giddens and transfer Michelle Kuester and a hitting error by Florida State's Rachael Morgan. Florida State would retake a three point advantage at 10-7 and extended their lead to four points leading 13-9 after a service ace by Fatma Yildirim. Florida State would maintain their four point advantage over the next several points as they held a 19-15 lead after a kill by Lauren Young. The Aggies would respond winning the next three points as the Aggies recorded blocks by Michelle Kuester and Rocio Gutierrez and then again by Michelle Kuester and Whitney Woods to cut the Seminoles' lead to 19-18. The Aggies would trail 21-20 after a kill by Kelsey Brennan but back-to-back points by Florida State would cause the Aggies to call a timeout down 23-20.

Out of the timeout, Rocio Gutierrez would record a kill to pull the Aggies to within two at 23-21, however, Florida State's Rachael Morgan would answer with a kill to give the Seminoles a set point at 24-21. After a service error by Visnja Djurdjevic gave the Aggies new life, Kayleigh Giddens and Michelle Kuester would combine for a block after a long rally to cut the Seminoles' lead to just one at 24-23. Giddens would come up big once again as she recorded another kill to draw the Aggies even at 24 all. Another kill by Giddens gave the Aggies their first lead of the set at 25-24 however, a kill by Rachael Morgan tied things up at 25. The two teams traded attack errors before the Aggies would take the lead 27-26 on a bad set by Patricial Figueredo. Junior setter Jennah DeVries would step to the service line and deliver an ace to give the Aggies the 28-26 set victory.

The Aggies fared much better in the second set as they recorded 14 kills on 35 swings with just six attack errors for a .229 hitting percentage. Florida State put down 17 kills on 42 swings with eight attack errors for a .214 hitting percentage.

Coming out of the intermission, the Aggies once again fell behind quickly as Florida State jumped out to an 11-3 lead as they gave up a 6-0 run after being down 5-3. The Aggies would pull to within five points at 12-7 after a Kayleigh Giddens kill fell out of bounds off the Florida State block. Unfortunately for the Aggies, that was as close as they would get the remainder of the set as Florida State would put together 9-5 run to extend their lead out to 21-12. Whitney Woods would get a kill off the Florida State block to cut the lead to 21-13. With the Aggies facing set point down 24-14, freshman Amanda Tonga recorder her first kill as an Aggie cutting the deficit to 225-14. Fellow freshman Rocio Gutierrez would sub in for Tonga and delivered a service ace to put the Aggies down 24-16, however, the set would end on a Marija Milosavljevic kill giving the Seminoles the 25-16 set victory.

The start to the fourth set was similar to the third set as the Aggies once again fell behind big early 9-3. The Aggies would cut the definite to four at 9-5 but would get no closer as the Seminoles would go on an 8-2 run to take a 17-7 lead. The Aggies would score just three more times in the set as Florida State would commit an attack error and a service error before Jennah DeVries put over a setter dump with the Aggies down 24-9. The match would end on a service error by the Aggies' Amanda Tonga giving the Seminoles the 25-10 set victory and a 3-1 match victory.

Kayleigh Giddens recorded a team-high 14 kills and added nine digs. Whitney Woods added eight kills but also had six attack errors and hit .105 on the match. She also tallied six digs. Kelsey Brennan had six kills on 17 swings with just one attack error for a .294 hitting percentage. Jennah DeVries recorded 30 assists, three kills and 10 digs. The Aggies finished the match hitting .090.

Florida State's Visnja Djurdjevic led all players with 17 kills on 33 swings with just two attack errors for a .455 hitting percentage and also recorded 12 digs for a double-double. Stephanie Neville added 13 kills on 23 swings and just two attack errors for a .478 hitting percentage. Rachael Morgan chipped in with 11 kills on 24 swings with four attack errors for a .292 hitting percentage. Lauren Young finished the match with five kills on six swings for an .833 hitting percentage. Jenna Romanelli led all players with 16 digs.

Florida State recorded eight service aces and nine service errors while the Aggies finished with three service errors and three service aces including the set two winner by Jennah DeVries.

"We just got nervous, the young players kind of folded a little bit in the environment." He added, "It's gonna happen, it's early in the season you're gonna have those struggles. We're confident that we're going to learn from it. We've got a lot of confidence in this group that they're going to make the adjustments they need to make."

The Aggies return to action on Saturday as they wrap up their first weekend of play against Florida A&M at 3:00 p.m. MT.