The New Mexico State volleyball team picked up its first sweep of the season as they defeated Florida A&M 3-0 in the final match of the FSU Invite. The Aggies won the first set 25-15, the second set 25-17 and the third set 25-20 to improve to 2-1 on the season. Kayleigh Giddens led the team with 19 kills and posted a .536 hitting percentage for the match. The Aggies, who struggled on serve receive against No. 15 Florida State, were much better against Florida A&M. " I think the thing I was most pleased with was the way we passed serve receive," said head coach Mike Jordan. "We got challenged again at the service line today, not quite as tough Florida State's serves but we responded well." He added, "We passed the ball real well and made Jennah's job easy."
The Aggies won the first two sets handily and never trailed at any point during the two set victories. Florida A&M challenged the Aggies in the third set but the Aggies rose to the occasion. Coach Jordan told his team in the locker room after the match "You have to be patient and have to keep competing when teams rise to the challenge and make it tight."
Aggies freshman Desiree Scott got the first kill of the match for the Aggies as they took an early 1-0 lead. After an attack error by Scott tied the match at 1-1, the Aggies would go on a 5-0 run to push their lead to 6-1 and forcing a Rattler timeout. Coming out of the timeout the Rattlers would stop the Aggie run with a kill from Katherine Huanec, however, back to back attack errors by Huanec gave the Aggies an 8-2 lead. The Aggies would extend the lead to 11-4 on another kill by Desiree Scott prompting another Florida A&M timeout. After the timeout, the Rattlers would cut the Aggies' lead to five points at 11-6, however, the Aggies would respond with a 7-1 run to push their lead to a commanding 11 points at 18-7. During the run five different Aggies would record kills and sophomore Ellen Miks would record a service ace.
Florida A&M responded with a quick 4-0 run off three consecutive attack errors by the Aggies followed by a kill by Huanec prompting head coach Mike Jordan to call a quick timeout to settle his team down. The timeout proved to be effective as the Aggies countered with a 5-0 run to go ahead 23-11. Junior middle blocker Kelsey Brennan would end the set with a kill to give the Aggies the 25-15 set victory.
The Aggies pounded out 17 kills in the set with just four attack errors on 31 swings and hit .419 for the set. Florida A&M had just six kills and added six attack errors and hit .000 for the set.
The Aggies would take the early 1-0 lead in the second set on a triple block by Desiree Scott, Whitney Woods and Kayeigh Giddens. After Florida A&M's Lorin Rucker gave the Rattlers just their second tie of the match, the Aggies 7-2 run to give themselves a 8-3 lead prompting a Rattler timeout. The Aggies would maintain the five point lead at 11-6 and then went on a 7-2 run to push their lead to 10 at 18-8. The Rattlers would climb back into the set going on a 6-0 run that started with a service error by Whitney Woods and was followed a kill by Pamela Barrera, a pair of attack errors by the Aggies and kills by Lorin Rucker and Maria Ceccarelli.
With the set tightened at 18-14, the Aggies would buckle down scoring three in a row to go back ahead 21-14. Florida A&M would score three more points but the Aggies would take the set 25-17 with the set winner coming off a swing by Kayleigh Giddens.
The Aggies bettered their hitting percentage in the second set as they finished with 15 kills on 24 swings with just two attack errors for a .542 hitting percentage. Florida A&M also improved as they put down 11 kills against eight errors in 28 swings for a .107 hitting percentage.
The Aggies would surrender their first lead as an attack error by Desiree Scott gave the Rattler a 1-0 lead in the third set. A kill by Kayleigh Giddens would knot the match at 1-1 and the two teams would trade points with the set all square at 5-5. Back-to-back kills by the Rattlers gave them their largest lead of the match at 7-5. Florida A&m would hold a 10-7 lead after an attack error by Kayleigh Giddens, however, three straight points by the Aggies off of a kill and two attack errors by the Rattlers would tie the set at 10-10.
Florida A&M would again regain a three point advantage as they put together three straight points to go ahead 15-12 and forcing the Aggies to take a timeout. Out of the timeout the Aggies would put together a 5-0 run to take a 17-15 advantage. The Aggies would extend their lead out to four points at 22-18 after back-to-back attack errors by Florida A&M. The Aggies would go ahead 24-18 out of the timeout before the Rattlers would cut the lead to 24-20 on an attack error by Jennah DeVries and a kill by Ashley Johnson. However, the match would end on a service error by Jessica Bond giving the Aggies the 25-20 set victory and the 3-0 sweep.
Kayleigh Giddens had 19 kills against just four attack errors on 28 swings for a .536 hitting percentage, her highest as an Aggie. Kelsey Brennan put down 10 kills on 16 swings with just two attack errors hitting .500 for the match. Whitney Woods and freshman Desiree Scott each added five kills as Woods hit .364 committing just one attack error on 11 swings and Scott hit .333 with just two attack errors on nine swings.
"Desiree, offensively has been pretty productive and doing pretty well for us," said Coach Jordan. "Jennah's starting to get some confidence with her and she's starting to get better every day like we hoped. She learns a little bit more every day and her confidence is starting to grow." Fellow freshman Rocio Gutierrez added four kills and committed just one attack error in 12 swings.
Ellen Miks led the way defensively with 13 digs, Gutierrez and setter Jennah DeVries each added eight digs. "I thought we did a pretty good job defending, we worked hard defensively and made some good plays," said Jordan.
Florida A&M's Maria Ceccarelli led the Rattlers with seven kills on 18 swings with four attack errors. Lorin Rucker and Katherine Huanec each added six kills, Huanec had eight attack errors however. Susan Egoavil recorded nine digs for the Rattlers and FAMU outblocked the Aggies with seven total team blocks to five total team blocks for NM State.
With the victory the Aggies improve to 2-1 on the season.
The Aggies return to action on Wednesday night when they open up their home schedule against Cal State-Bakersfield at 7:00 p.m. MT in the Pan American Center.