The Daily Aggie :: 09/11/10

Happy Gameday everyone! We'd like to first start off by wishing a very speedy recovery to Aggie volleyball player Stephanie Ziegler who suffered a season-ending injury yesterday in the first set of the Aggies' 3-0 victory over Rice. She has been battling freshman Rocio Gutierrez for the second left outside hitter position and had been playing very well as of late. It's a tough loss for the Aggies and for Ziegler. Fortunately the Aggies should have no problems getting her a medical redshirt for this season and Coach Jordan fully expects her to be back and better than ever next season.

The Aggies are back in action today at 11:30 a.m. MT when they take on North Carolina. The Tar Heels are 4-4 on the season after being swept 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-15) by host LSU yesterday evening. The first two sets of the match were very close with 11 ties and four lead changes in the first set and 10 ties and two lead changes in the second.

The Aggies will play two matches today, after their match against North Carolina, they'll take on LSU at 6:00 p.m. MT.

One interesting statistic from the LSU/North Carolina battle, the two teams combined for 15 service errors and just one service ace.

It appears that the Tar Heels use a 6-2 system (two setters) and at least in yesterday's match, their middles, Christine Vaughen and Shelbey Bleke were very effective finishing with a combined 12 kills and a .435 hitting percentage. LSU was able to limit UNC's outside and right-side attack to just 12 kills on 68 swings and forced them into seven hitting errors. If the Aggies can manage to do likewise, they'll put themselves in a good position to win the match.

Against LSU later tonight, the Aggies will have their hands full as the No. 21 ranked Tigers feature outside hitter Angela Bensend who had 18 kills against LSU and hit .306. They'll also need to contend with another very offensive minded setter in Brittney Johnson who also played right side for the Tigers last year in addition to her setter duties. Johnson had seven kills on 11 attacks against the Tar Heels and committed no attack errors. Having just played UTEP in back-to-back matches could be of some assistance as UTEP's setter, Patty Jarmoc, is also very offensive minded.

Both matches can be seen online via the LSU athletic website (subscription required). They've been having some issues with Live Stats this weekend so we can't say with any certainty that Live Stats will be available for either of the matches. Both matches can be heard on the radio on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces, however, the UNC match will air at 4:00 p.m. (tape delayed) and the LSU match will be aired immediately following that match and will be live. Streaming audio will be available via Aggie Access, though we're not sure if the UNC match will be live.

We will try to provide scoring updates via Twitter (follow us: @AgsBleedCrimson). You can also follow the UNC Volleyball twitter feed (@UNCVolleyball for updates and the LSU Volleyball twitter feed (@LSUVolleyball) for updates on tonight's match).

The Aggie football team finally takes to the gridiron in 2010 as they open up at home against San Diego State tonight at 6:00 p.m. in Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Aggies open as a two touchdown underdog against an Aztec team that shut out FCS foe Nicholls State 47-0 last week in their home opener.

If you didn't read it yesterday, be sure to check out our Know The Foe Q&M with the San Diego Union-Tribune's Brent Schrotenboer to find out what to expect from SDSU on offense and defense as well as a couple of players to watch for.

Tonight will also be the debut for new offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar, starting quarterback Matt Christian and the much anticipated debute for running back Kenny Turner. Coach Walker told us this week in our weekly interview that he expects the offense to be night and day difference from last season's abysmal offense. Much of that will depend on the Aggies' ability to throw the ball effectively although, we expect a heavy dose of Seth Smith and Kenny Turner early tonight as Matt Christian gets his feet wet at the FBS level.

We're also excited to see the Aggies' defense under year two of Coach Walker's tutelage. The Aggies were very strong against the pass last year and will need to be again tonight as SDSU features quarterback Ryan Lindley and wide receiver Demarco Sampson who caught seven passes for a school record 179 yards last week. The Aztecs also have a stable of runners and they combined for 218 yards on the ground last week.

Both teams should be improved over last year's squads that met in San Diego and despite the Aggies' struggles on offense, this was a 17-17 game in the fourth quarter.

We don't do score predictions because, frankly, we're terrible at it. We expect it to be a close game and we expect the Aggies to come out strong and we're looking for a season opening victory.

Tonight's game is scheduled to kick off at 6:00 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.com (where available) and will also be aired on ESPN Game Plan, Altitude2 and live on AggieVision in Albuquerque, Gallup and Santa Fe and tape delayed in Las Cruces and tape delayed on Fox Sports Arizona (tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.).

Streaming audio and video will also be available via Aggie Access (subscription required) and we will also be providing scoring updates via Twitter (follow us: @AgsBleedCrimson).

The Aggie soccer team notched their third victory of the season last night as they shut out North Dakota 1-0. Crystal Burns scored her first goal of the season in the 9th minute of play.

Coach Needham was pleased with the outcome but acknowledged that it was not his kids' best effort and that the team needs to get back to basics this coming week after a couple of days off from practice today and tomorrow.

It says a lot about the ability and potential of the Aggie soccer team when they can come out, not play their best, and still come out with a victory. Obviously they don't want to get into a habit of doing that, nor do we expect them to fall into that habit, however, you don't always bring your "A" game to the field and when you do, you've got to be able to (as Tiger Woods says), "grind it out". The Aggies did that last night and were able to come away with a victory to improve to 3-1-2 on the season.

Be sure to check out the photos from yesterday game as well.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >>

NM State vs. North Dakota Game Photos

NM State vs. North Dakota Game Photos

Aggie Soccer Team Shuts Out North Dakota 1-0

Crystal BurnsThe Aggie soccer team defeated North Dakota 1-0 on Friday night at Aggie Memorial Stadium to improve to 3-1-2 on the season.

"It's a good win. We got North Dakota's best effort," said Coach Needam. "I don't think we played our best game yet which is a little bit disappointing. Every game to this point we've taken a step forward, I don't think we took a step back but they're [North Dakota] a good attacking team and I don't think we did enough in the attacking third to put the game away when we could have."

The Aggies got an early goal from sophomore midfielder Crystal Burns in the 9th minute of the match as freshman Dani De La Vina had possession on the right side and found Burns wide open in the middle of the field from about 20 yards out. Burns fired the shot and it found the back of the net for Burns' first goal of the season. "Crystal scored a great goal and she's been needing that," said Coach Needham. "For her to get that one, it changed the way she played and she picked up her energy level. I thought she did really well."

Redshirt freshman goal keeper Mikaela Bitner and the Aggie defense withstood seven corner kicks by the Fighting Sioux and Bitner was credited with nine saves, four in the second half. North Dakota's best chance to score came in the 75th minute hit the post. "She made a couple big saves. It was funny, the first two saves she made in the first half weren't really saves because they called offsides, but those were two massive saves that she made," said Coach Needham. "She's doing a really good job. I'm happy with the way she's been playing and she absolutely deserves to get a shutout. She's worked hard."  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Volleyball Sweeps Rice; Ziegler Suffers Season-Ending Injury

Rocio GutierrezThe Aggie volleyball team swept Rice 3-0 in the first game of the Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge, LA on Friday afternoon. The victory did not come without a price as sophomore outside hitter Stephanie Ziegler went down with an injury late in the first set with the Aggies leading 19-13. Ziegler had to be taken off the floor on a stretcher and official word from the Aggie coaching staff is that she suffered a broken tibea and broken fibea near her right ankle and will miss the remainder of the season.

Aggie freshman Rocio Gutierrez came into the match for the Aggies to replace the injured Ziegler who had been playing well to that point. The Owls went right after Gutierrez on serve and she struggled passing the ball and Rice took advantage cutting the Aggies' lead to 21-19. "When she first came into the match she was real nervous and passed really bad serve-receive," said Coach Jordan. After a timeout by the Aggies, Gutierrez settled down and the Aggies would take the set 25-19 on four straight hitting errors by the Owls. "They went right at her [Rocio] when she first came in but out of the timeout she came out and three passed three or four balls in a row and we sided out efficiently."

Gutierrez and the Aggies showed no ill effects of seeing their teammate go down as they would take the second set 25-22. Gutierrez displayed her tremendous talent as the Aggies would rally from a 5-2 deficit behind three consecutive kills by the freshman to tie the set at 5-5. Gutierrez's fourth kill of the set gave the Aggies their first lead of the set at 7-6. With the set tied 8-8, the Aggies would reel off three consecutive points to take an 11-8 lead. The Aggies would maintain the three point lead at 13-10 but the Owls would score five of the next eight points to tie the set at 15-15. Rice would take a two point lead at 18-16 forcing the Aggies to take a timeout.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 09/10/10

The Aggie volleyball team is back in action today as they'll take on Rice in the Tiger Volleyball Classic. The Owls are 3-3 on the season but have dropped two of their last three with losses to Pepperdine, Missouri and victory over Eastern Washington. Offensively Rice is led by junior outside hitter Ashleigh McCord who leads the team with 90 kills and is averaging 4.5 kills per set and She has reached double-digit kills in all six matches in 2010.

The Aggies are led by Kayleigh Giddens who has 94 kills and is averaging 4.7 kills per set.

First serve is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. MT and Live Stats will be available via the LSU athletic website and streaming video will be available via the LSU athletic website as well (subscription required).

Today's match can also be heard on KSNM AM 570 and streaming audio will be available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

On a side note, the Rice Owls are famous for one other thing... the MOB. Check out this video to find out what we're talking about (you won't be disappointed).

The Aggie soccer team is back in action tonight as they host North Dakota. The Fighting Sioux are 0-4 and looking for their first victory of the season. The Fighting Sioux have scored just five goals and all five have been scored by different players.

By comparison, the Aggies' Yolanda McMillion has scored six goals by herself and the Aggies have scored 12 goals (though, eight of those goals came in one game).

The Aggies have been much more offensively minded this season and as we discussed with Coach Needham in this week's interview, the Aggies have done a much better job of controlling possession this season.

Today's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. MT start and streaming video will be available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

The Aggie football team is just ONE day away from opening the 2010 season. That means its time for the third season of Know The Foe. This week we have enlisted the help of the San Diego Union-Tribune's Brent Schrotenboer to give Aggie fans a quick look at the Aztecs.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Aztec Q&A With The San Diego Union-Tribune's Brent Schrotenboer

Know The Foe :: San Diego State
The 2010 Aggie football season opener means it's time the return of our Know The Foe feature for its third season. The season opener against Mountain West Conference foe San Diego State gives us the opportunity to talk to Brent Schrotenboer who covers the Aztecs for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Aztecs are entering year two of the Brady Hoke era, what differences if any have you seen in team's attitude/coaching strategy from last season to the opening game of this season?
Two things stand out: 1. A better understanding of the offense and defense. 2. A heightened sense of expectations on the team as a result. The team is more businesslike than it has been in previous years. That’s an important step.

How much should Aggie fans read into SDSU's 47-0 victory over Nicholls State? Sure, Nicholls State is an FCS team, but SDSU hasn't manhandled a team like that since the Idaho game in 2008.
I don’t think you can read much into it except that a wins helps build momentum and confidence. We don’t know yet how much this team has improved or how good it can be based on a game like that. But being 1-0 for the first time since 2004 is another important step for a team that hasn’t been to a bowl game since 1998.  Continue Reading This Post >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Needham Interview :: 09/09/10

bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on tomorrow's game against North Dakota?
Michael Needham: It's a single game weekend for us so that's good. We're looking forward to going out and getting after it on Friday. It's an opportunity for us to continue building on what I feel like what was a very good weekend last weekend. It's another opportunity to go out and apply what things we picked up last weekend.

bc.net: Does your preparation change at all for a single game weekend as opposed to a two game weekend which is what you normally have?
MN: Preparation, not much. Expectations are a little bit different. You can go after a game a little bit differently. My preparation in terms of what I might do in the game might be a little bit different. But as far the players, it doesn't change too much. A single game weekend allows you to stick with people a little bit longer because you don't have to worry about playing again on Sunday. It allows you to do some things going forward and kind of push it a little bit, maybe go a little longer with certain players and try to impose yourself a little bit more.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 09/09/10

Be sure to check out the latest entry in Ellen Miks' Aggie Volleyball Diary to find out what famous athlete is an Aggie volleyball fan.

The Aggie volleyball team left this morning for Baton Rouge, LA where they'll take on Rice, LSU and North Carolina tomorrow and Saturday.

Aso be sure to check out this week's interview with cross country coach Paul Harkins. The Aggies are coming off a successful weekend up in Albuquerque. The meet was unscored, however, it it had been scored the Aggie men's team would have finished in second place behind UNM and ahead of UTEP. According to Coach Harkins, it's the first time the Aggie cross country team has beaten the UTEP cross country team. This is a very impressive feat considering UTEP is a strong cross country team and is ranked 5th in the Mountain region (the Aggie men's team is ranked 12th in the Mountain region). The UNM men's team is ranked 14th nationally and the UNM and UTEP women's teams are ranked 18th and 19th nationally.

The Aggies are off this weekend but return for their home meet, the Kachina Classic, next weekend.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Harkins Interview :: 09/08/10

bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the first meet of the season up in Albuquerque?
Paul Harkins: We thought the weekend went really well. It was an unsecured competition. On the women's side if it was scored we would have been third behind two teams that are ranked in the Top 20, both UNM and UTEP. We had three girls run faster than we've every had anybody run there before, at least since we've been here.

The twins [Courtney and Camille Schultz] finished in the Top 10 and they were running with some very very good competition, All-American types who have been at the national meet. Chelsa McDonnell had a great day, Jenna Padilla had a great day. She had run the course before as a high school senior and probably before that also but she ran 28 seconds faster than she had ever done before. So it was good all around.

On the men's side, the men ran absolutely fantastic. They showed that they've really done their work over the summer. If it was a scored meet, they would have finished second there behind UNM and would have beaten UTEP for what would be the first time in school history which is pretty exciting.

We had four guys run faster than our number one did a year ago and our fifth was a second off of what our number one did a year ago. We had five guys finish under 26 minutes and had five or six more guys run within 30 seconds of that. It was exciting to see where things started off. The guys and girls did a great job.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Ellen Miks' Aggie Volleyball Diary :: September 7th, 2010

Ellen MiksHello Aggie fans! Thank you everyone who came to our first home games last week and the UTEP game in El Paso! We had a blast playing in front of everyone and we hope that when September 25 rolls around that everyone will be back for more!

This week has been pretty intense in practice, but there is one thing that I remember vividly that happened a few days ago. The middles were hitting 4’s, the outside set, and coach told them to hit cross-court. They were creaming the ball and it was a blast watching them hit! For one hit, Brynja set Kelsey a great ball and Kelsey hit it down the line. This ball was hammered, but unfortunately our coach Don Flora was standing right where she hit the ball. Kelsey definitely hit Don’s chin in the process, which is what we in volleyball like to call a facial.

We leave for Baton Rouge this week to play Rice, North Carolina, and Louisiana State! It’s going to be a great weekend for us to play against great teams!  Continue Reading This Post >>