The Aggie volleyball team made it 12 straight victories over I-10 rival UTEP on Friday night. The Aggies swept the visiting Miners 3-0 winning set one easily 25-15 before getting challenged 25-23 in set two and then rebounding with a convincing 25-13 victory in set three.
The Aggies were led by Kayleigh Giddens who recorded a match-high 17 kills and hit .351 with just four attack errors on 37 swings. The Aggies held UTEP to just a .149 hitting percentage, well below their season average of .316. "We did a good job for the most part," said head coach Mike Jordan after the match. "We attacked the ball well and minimized our errors so from that standpoint we did some good things." The Aggies hit .326 for the match en route the easy victory.
Set one saw the Aggies take the first point on a hitting error by Jeane Horton. The Miners would quickly tie the set on a kill by Melissa Toth. The two teams would remain tied at 2-2 when the Aggies would go on a quick 3-0 run to take a 5-2 lead. The Aggies would maintain their three point edge at 9-6 when a pair of error from UTEP and a kill by Kayleigh Giddens pushed the lead to six points at 12-6. After a timeout by UTEP, the Aggies would go on a 7-3 run extending their lead to nine points at 18-9. During the run the Aggies' Whitney Woods and Desiree Scott would each get a kill and libero Ellen Miks would get a service ace.
With the Aggies up 19-12, the two teams would trade setter dumps as Jennah DeVries and UTEP's Patty Jarmoc would trade kills. The Aggies would get a kill by Kelsey Brennan and a block by Jennah DeVries to go ahead 22-13. The Aggies would wrap up the set on a kill by Kayleigh Giddens taking the first set 25-15.
The second set saw UTEP grab the first point as the Miners' Bridget Logan would block Desiree Scott. Kayleigh Giddens put the Aggies on the board with a kill knotting the game at 1-1. The Aggies would take the lead at 2-1 on a Whitney Woods kill off the UTEP block but the game would be tied again 2-2 after a kill by UTEP's Bridget Logan. The two teams would remain tied at 4-4 when the Aggies would score two consecutive points off kill by Kelsey Brennan and a setter dump by Jennah DeVries to take a 6-4 lead. UTEP would come right back and take three straight points and they would block attacks by Rocio Gutierrez and Kelsey Brennan to take a 7-6 lead. Gutierrez would shake off the block and score the next point for the Aggies to tie the set at 7-7 but UTEP would score twice to take their largest lead of the match at 9-7. The Aggies would trail 8-10 but five straight Aggie points behind back-to-back kills from Kayleigh Giddens, a service ace by Jennah DeVries, a hitting error by Melissa Toth and a kill by Desiree Scott would give the Aggies a 13-10 lead.
The two teams would showcase some great digs and defensive play on the next point as the two teams tried to outdo each other on defense. The Miners would come away with a point as Kayleigh Giddens committed a hitting error cutting the Aggies' lead to 13-11. The Aggies would get back-to-back points to push their lead to four at 15-11 but UTEP would go on a 6-2 run to tie the set at 17-17. The Aggies would take a three point lead at 22-19 after a block by setter Jennah DeVries but UTEP would cut the lead to just one at 22-21 on a setter dump by Patty Jarmoc and an attack error by Desiree Scott. Kayleigh Giddens would put down a kill to give the Aggies a two point advantage at 23-21 and forced UTEP to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, Bridget Logan would get a kill for the Miners to cut the Aggies' lead to 23-22. On the next point, a disputed call went against the Aggies on a ball hit by Whitney Woods appeared to hit off the Miner block and go out of bounds. The officials ruled the ball hit the tape at the top of the net and did not contact a Miner blocker and the point was awarded to the Miners tying the set at 23-23. However, the Aggies would not be deterred and middle attacker Desiree Scott would finish off the Miners with back-to-back kills giving the Aggies a 25-23 set two victory and a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
The Miners would take the first point in the third set and it looked like UTEP might give the Aggies another challenge as the two teams were tied at 3-3 early. However, four straight points by the Aggies off of a kill by Stephanie Ziegler, back-to-back blocks and a kill by Kelsey Brennan would give the Aggies a 7-3 cushion. The Aggies would maintain their four point lead at 10-6 but another four point run by the Aggies behind kills from Whitney Woods, Kayleigh Giddens and Desiree Scott would give them a 14-6 lead and force UTEP to call a timeout.
The Aggies would maintain their eight point advantage and led 20-12. Three straight points by the Aggies would give them their largest lead of the set at 23-12 and the Aggies would finish off the set with a double block by Amanda Tonga and Michelle Kuester to give the Aggies a 25-13 set three victory and a 3-0 sweep.
The Aggies were led by Kayleigh Giddens' match-high 17 kills. She committed just four attack errors on the night and hit .357 for the match. Middle attacker Kelsey Brennan finished with eight kills on 14 swings with just two attack errors and hit .429 on the evening. She also added tow solo blocks and two block assists. Fellow middle Desiree Scott recorded seven kills on 11 swings with two hitting errors to hit .455 for the match. Scott left the match in the third set with an apparent leg injury and her status for Tuesday night's match is not known. Senior right-side attacker Whitney Woods made up for an off night against Cal State-Bakersfield with a seven kill performance. Woods committed just two attack errors and hit .417 for the match. Freshman outside hitter Rocio Gutierrez led the Aggies with 10 digs, setter Jennah DeVries added nine digs to go along with two service aces and 38 assists. She also had two block assists and was a perfect 3-for-3 on setter dumps. The Aggies hit .326 as a team on the night.
UTEP was paced by Bridget Logan who had 11 kills and hit .241 for the match. Redshirt freshman Melissa Toth recorded nine kills but also committed five attack errors and hit just .138 on the evening. senior setter Patty Jarmoc recorded four kills but had just 18 assists. The Aggies held UTEP to just a .149 hitting percentage for the match.
The Aggies improve to 4-1 with the victory while UTEP falls to 4-2. These two teams will meet on Tuesday night in El Paso at Memorial Gym. The first serve is set for 7:00 p.m. and the match can be heard locally on KSNM AM 570 with Kyle Doperalski calling the action.