NMSU Ready for Season Opening Tournament

Written by: NMSU Athletic Dept.

ACROSS THE NET The New Mexico State volleyball team will open up the 2007 season playing four games in three days. They begin with the Hilton Garden Inn NAU Invitational for three games before returning to Las Cruces, N.M. for a home match at the Pan American Center.

The Aggies will take on Albany on Friday, Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m., UC Davis on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 10:00 a.m. and Northern Arizona at 7:00 p.m. to wrap-up the two-day tournament. After the tournament, the Aggies play their first home match of the season at the Pan American Center against Texas Southern at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 26.

All four games will be aired on KSNM AM-570 with Kyle Doperalski giving the play-by-play action. Former Aggie volleyball player Jackie Choi will be helping Kyle at the home matches as the analyst. Fans will also be able to follow the matches with live stats at www.nmstatesports.com. A recap and box score of the game will be available at the conclusion of each match.

About NMSU The Aggies begin their 2007 campaign in Flagstaff, Ariz. after they finished 33-4 in 2006. The Aggies are returning 10 players from last season's team including seniors Briana Akrie (Aurora, Colo.), Jordan Bostic (El Paso, Franklin HS), Anna Callis (Corpus Christi, Texas) and Kim Oguh (El Paso, Hanks HS). Oguh, along with returning junior Amber Simpson (Quincy, Ill.) were named AVCA all-Americans (Honorable Mention) in 2006.

NMSU was picked second in preseason WAC coaches' poll, while Oguh and Simpson were both named to the preseason all-WAC team. Both players were all-WAC and all-WAC Tournament selections in 2006.

The Aggies have brought in two new setters to the squad in junior transfer Alyssa Gintant (Iowa State) and freshman Brynja Rodgers (Iowa City, Iowa) to replace the departed Jackie Choi. Both will see playing time in 2007 and should make an instant impact on the team.

About Albany Albany opens up their 2007 season against New Mexico State after they went 19-13 in 2006 and won the America East Conference title. The Great Danes are lead by head coach Kelly Sheffield, who has picked up 118 wins in six years with the team.

Albany's top returnees include senior Ashley Crenshaw who averaged 3.02 kills per game and junior Kamisha Kellam who put up 2.25 kill per game and 1.35 blocks per game.

About UC Davis UC Davis, which is also nicknamed the Aggies, had a rough season in 2006 going 4-24, while playing three teams that were in the top-25 at one point during the season. Steve Walker who is in his second season with the team coaches the Aggies.

Key returnees for UC Davis include junior Chantal Paschetta, who led the team in 2006 with 300 kills (3.23 kpg) and 1,085 hitting attempts. Also retuning is senior setter Katelyn Astruc. She led the team in assists with 965 and service aces with 25. Sophomore Britt Erickson was also a big part of the team last year tallying 244 kills.

About Northern Arizona Host team, Northern Arizona went 8-18 in 2006, while going 4-12 in the Big Sky Conference. Leading the Lumberjacks with 434 kills in 2006 and returning to the team in 2007 is outside hitter Kim Babcock. Right behind Babcock in 2006 was Kailee Savage with 340 kills. Both players are now seniors and should be leaders for the Lumberjacks.

The NAU volleyball team defeated the Legends Alumni team in three games by scores of 30-22, 30-26 and 36-34 in an exhibition match at the Rolle Activity Center on Saturday, Aug. 18. The victory was retribution for NAU, who lost in a tight, five-game match to the alumni a year ago. Senior Kim Babcock led the Lumberjacks with a match-high 21 kills, and junior libero Brittany Stowers recorded match-high 15 digs.

About Texas Southern Texas Southern head coach Dwalah Fisher returns to coach the Lady Tigers for her 14th season with the team. She has a 117-241 overall record, while finishing 7-19 in 2006 and going 4-4 in the South Western Athletic Conference. Fisher is returning 11 letter winners from last season's team including three starters.

Tourney Time! The NMSU volleyball team did great in regular season tournaments in 2006 winning all three tournaments they played in. First the Aggies won the UTEP/Sun Bowl Invitational after defeating Texas Tech in five games (23-30, 31-29, 27-30, 30-22, 15-10) and tournament host UTEP in three games (30-20, 30-18, 30-18) on Saturday, Aug. 26 2006 in El Paso, Texas. Before that, NMSU defeated Eastern Michigan in three games (30-21, 30-17, 30-22) and Sacramento State in four games (30-24, 15-30, 30-21, 37-35).

NMSU then hosted the 2006 Hilton Las Cruces Classic and beat all four other teams that they took on. The Aggies beat Wyoming in the opening match 3-1 (30-25, 22-30, 30-14, 30-24) and were led by middle hitter Amber Simpson, who recorded a career-high 21 kills while she also posted a match high six blocks. NMSU then swept Idaho State before a thrilling five-game match in which the Aggies won 3-2 (28-30, 30-23, 30-32, 30-27, 17-15) against San Diego. Middle hitter Kim Oguh came up with a season-high 16 kills in that match. NMSU wrapped up the tournament with a three-game sweep of Akron (30-20, 30-13, 30-15).

The Aggies captured their third tournament title at the Jackrabbit Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 16 in Brooking, S.D. after they defeated North Dakota in three games (30-28, 30-18, 30-17). Simpson and Oguh recorded 13 and 12 kills respectively in the match. Before beating North Dakota, the Aggies recorded a pair of sweeps against Lamar and South Dakota State to improve to 13-0 on the season. The Aggies disposed of Lamar, 30-19, 30-18, 30-17, in their opening match of the Jackrabbit Invitational, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006. In the nightcap, NMSU defeated tournament host SDSU, 30-9, 30-16, 30-25.

Honor the Best NMSU volleyball players racked up the honors in 2006. Amber Simpson was named to the Sun Bowl Invitational all-tournament team along with former Aggie Alice Borden who was named tournament most valuable player.

Simpson was then named the most valuable player of the 2006 Hilton Las Cruces Classic and was joined by Kim Oguh who was named to the all-tournament team.

Simpson was named tournament most valuable player at the Jackrabbit Invitational and was accompanied by Jackie Choi and Kim Oguh, who were named to the all-tournament team.

Simpson was named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 11, while Borden was named Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 16. Both players were named to the 2006 all-WAC first team along with Choi and Oguh. Kystal Torres was named to the second team, while head coach Mike Jordan was the 2006 WAC Coach of the Year. Choi, Oguh and Simpson were also named to the 2006 WAC all-tournament team.

In 2007, Oguh and Simpson are both part of the preseason all-WAC team that was voted on by all the coaches in the conference.

Coaches Quotes

On the NMSU volleyball team "We got the best depth we've ever had and that's great for our team. Training camp went well and we got some position battles worked out."

On the upcoming tournament "The tournament will have some good competition, especially to open up the season. There will be some crazy moments out there for everybody because it's the first matches teams will play. This is a good opportunity to play other teams and see where we really stand."

On the leaders of the team "We have leadership on the team by position, for instance, Kim Oguh seems to be the leader for the front line, while Jordan Bostic and Briana Akrie lead the back line. Alyssa Gintant, our transfer setter is really getting comfortable out there with the team too."