The Aggie volleyball team opened up the 2010 home schedule with an easy 3-0 sweep of visiting Cal State-Bakersfield on Wednesday night. The Aggies never trailed in the match and were never threatened in any of the sets as they won handily 25-13 in set one, 25-14 in set two and 25-11 in set three. Kelsey Brennan and Kayleigh Giddens overpowered the Roadrunner defense as Brennan hit .727 on the evening with nine kills on 11 swings with just one hitting error.
Giddens had a match-high 11 kills on 25 swings with just three attack errors to finish with a .308 hitting percentage. "We definitely took good swings, quality of swing in transition was really important for us," said head coach Mike Jordan. "Those long rallies, you want the level of play to stay high and not break down and we did a pretty good job of that."
The first serve of the night was a harbinger of things to come as Aggie junior setter Jennah DeVries served up an ace to start the match. It was all downhill from there for the Roadrunners as the Aggies would jump to a quick 3-0 lead. The Aggies gave Bakersfield three of the next four points as they would be called in the net twice followed by a service error by Kayleigh Giddens cutting the Aggies' lead to 4-3. However, the Aggies would quickly distance themselves from the Roadrunners reeling off five consecutive points including kills by Desiree Scott, Kelsey Brennan, a service ace from Ellen Miks and a double block by Rocio Gutierrez and Kelsey Brennan.
The Aggies would maintain their six point cushion and with the score 13-7, the Aggies would win four of the next five points to jump ahead 17-8. Cal State-Bakersfield would put together their best stretch of the match winning three straight points, all by Haleigh Haratyk as she'd record a kill followed by back-to-back service aces. Kayleigh Giddens would answer with two quick points to put the Aggies ahead 19-11. After a Giddens service error dropped the lead to 19-12, New Mexico State would score the next four points to go ahead 23-12 and would close out the set three points later on a kill by Kayleigh Giddens to end the set at 25-13.
In the second set, the Aggies again jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and would maintain that three point lead at 8-5. New Mexico State would go on a 6-1 scoring run behind kills from Kayleigh Giddens, Kelsey Brennan and back-to-back service aces by Brennan to push the lead out to 14-6. The Aggies would extend their lead out to 10 points at 20-10 and the first controversy of the season came with the Aggies ahead 20-11. Whitney Woods appeared to hit the ball off the Bakersfield block and out of bounds giving the point to the Aggies, however, the point was given to the Roadrunners and the score set at 20-12. The Aggies would respond with kills by Whitney Woods, Rocio Gutierrez and Kelsey Brennan and would end the set on a 5-2 run as they would wrap up the set 25-14.
Coming out of the intermission, the Aggies showed no signs of letting up as they once again jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The third set saw the Aggies maintain their three point lead at 7-4 before putting on the afterburners. The Aggies would jump ahead 10-4 in the midst of a 5-0 scoring run that saw kills from Desiree Scott and Whitney Woods along with a double block by Kelsey Brennan and Stephanie Ziegler.
After a kill by Chelcy Motes stopped the Aggies' run, NM State would score six more points in a row as Kelsey Brennan would start the run with a kill followed by back-to-back blocks by Brennan and Ziegler. A service error by freshman Shelby Tamura would end the run, however, the Aggies would get back-to-back kills from Brennan and Ziegler to go ahead 18-6. The Aggies would push the lead out to 22-8 on a kill by Michelle Kuester on an overpass. Bakersfield would score two points on a kill by Alysia Baker and a hitting error by Aggie freshman Amanda Tonga. However, freshman setter Natasha Giacomazzi would get a setter dump to put the Aggies up 23-10 and a hitting error by Brookey Homes would give the Aggies match point. After an errant serve by freshman Jene' Coppedge, Michelle Kuester ended the match with on a kill.
The Aggies hit .289 on the match with 38 kills against 14 attack errors on 83 swings. The Aggies came away with eight service aces on the night including two each by Kayleigh Giddens, Kelsey Brennan and Jennah DeVries.
Bakersfield, a team who head coach Mike Jordan said pre-match had a tough serve, ended the match with just three service aces. "They put some pressure on us a couple times, one kid backed up 20 feet past the end-line and hit a couple of bombs and aced a couple times in a row but I think we're stepping up to the challenge," said head coach Mike Jordan. "I like the look on our face when we're back there receiving. We know it's not a strength of our yet and we seem pretty determined to change that so that's good."
Ellen Miks and Kayleigh Giddens each finished with 10 digs while Jennah DeVries added six and Rocio Gutierrez added five. The Aggies outblocked the undersized Roadrunner squad 8-0. "Bakersfield doesn't have a lot of size so they're not going to do a great job of blocking and we got some free swings," said Coach Jordan. "Even when they didn't, they're not to put up the same kind of block we're going to see most of the time so we were able to swing around it."
CSU-Bakersfield hit -.115 for the match with just 15 kills and 25 attack errors on the night. Alysia Baker, Lindy DeGeare and Tika Smith each finished with three kills and both DeGeare and Smith hit for a negative percentage in the match.
With the victory the Aggies improve to 3-1 on the season while Cal State-Bakersfield falls to 0-4. The Aggies will face I-10 rival UTEP on Friday night in the Pan American Center.