Aggies aim for second WAC victory of 2021 on Saturday at Dixie State

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Match fourteen
State NM (10-3, 1-0 WAC) at Dixie State (2-7, 1-0 WAC)
Saturday September 25 | Noon | Burns Arena | Saint-Georges, Utah
Watch | Live Statistics | Tickets | NM Status Match Notes

FIRST SERVED
• Army with the 13th longest active winning streak in the country, the NM State volleyball team is aiming for its third straight 2-0 start to the WAC as the Aggies make a first trip to St. George, Utah, to face Dixie State inside Burns Arena on Saturday at noon.
• ESPN + and the ESPN app are set to perform the third matchup between the Aggies and the Trailblazers.

WAC ATTACK
• A new look for the Western Athletic Conference debuts in the 2021-22 season, and the Aggies hope to continue to dominate the league.
• Now in his 24th season at the helm of NM State, head coach Mike Jordan has been nothing short of masterful in league action throughout his tenure. The Aggies bench boss has an impressive 281-65 (.812) mark in WAC regular season showdowns as well as a 30-12 (.714) record in WAC tournament fights.
• NM State has been particularly good at amassing all manner of WAC material over the past seven seasons. During that span, the Aggies are 83-8 (0.912) against league opposition in the regular season and have won five WAC regular season crowns as well as a trio of WAC tournament titles.
• Since joining the WAC in 2005, NM State has won seven regular season titles. In total, Jordan has won 11 conference titles since starting his run at Las Cruces in 1998.

LET’S STRIKE
• NM State is leading a seven-game winning streak that currently ranks as the longest active winning streak of any WAC program.
• In their four-set victory at Utah Valley on Thursday night, NM State saw their 19-game winning streak come to an end. After suffering a loss in the fifth and final set to longtime Texas rivals UTEP on September 5, NM State went on to claim 19 straight wins. That streak was interrupted when Utah Valley won the opening two sets of the WAC opener Thursday night by a score of 25-20.
• Dating back to the 2021 spring season, NM State has won six straight WAC regular season showdowns.

AROUND ROTATION
• Installed as the Aggies libero for Thursday night’s game with Utah Valley, second year Lauryn Taylor well done in the first start of his college career. Taylor had a line of 12 digs, an assist and a serving ace in the Aggies’ win.
• New Mexico State continues to lead the WAC in terms of hit percentage (0.252, 52nd nationally) and opponent’s hit percentage (0.146, 27th nationally).
• Lia mosher leads the WAC and ranks seventh nationally with a pass percentage of 0.458. In his last game, Mosher only generated three eliminations and also recorded three attacking errors, to finish with an attacking percentage of .000. This marked Ruidoso, NM’s single-game attack percentage, the lowest since December 6, 2019, when she hit .000 in an NCAA tournament first round at BYU.
• Carly Aigner Swesey rose to sixth place in the WAC in terms of assists per set (6.63).

STORY OF THE SERIES
Overall against Dixie State | 2-0 (1000)
in Las Cruces, New Mexico | 0-0
In St. George, Utah | 0-0
On neutral sites | 2-0 (1000)
Series | NM State won two
Last five games | 2-0 (1000)
Last 10 matches | 2-0 (1000)
In matches in three sets | 0-0
In matches in four sets | 2-0 (1000)
In matches in five sets | 0-0
Jordan v Dixie State | 2-0 (1000)
Hafoka v State of New Mexico | 0-0
Last meeting | NM State 3, vs. Dixie State 1 (January 26, 2021 • played in Phoenix, Arizona)
• Saturday’s clash between the Aggies and the Trailblazers is the third showdown between the two programs.
• New to the NCAA and WAC Division I ranks last season, Dixie State was beaten in four sets twice by NM State in January to start the league action.

LAST RELEASE | NM State 3, at Utah Valley 1 (9/23/21)
• Overtaken in enemy territory and facing the team that beat them in the 2021 WAC Spring Tournament title fight, the NM State volleyball team has taken revenge on the Valley of the ‘Utah receiving a monstrous 24-kill performance by the junior outside hitter. Katie birtcil in a 3-1 win over the Wolverines.
• Birtcil’s 24 layoffs represented both a career high for the Tucson, Ariz. Product as well as the most Aggie wins so far in the season. Birtcil’s 24 eliminations were an Aggie’s highest total since Tatyana Battle defeated 27 in a WAC five-set win over Kansas City on November 15, 2018.
• Birtcil put the finishing touches on his first double-double of the season with a career-high 11 digs. Also showing his serving prowess, Birtcil recorded three of the Aggies’ six serving aces.
• NM State’s second highly effective option on offense was Year Two Husband Sharp. She finished with a career-high 14 kills while hitting a team-best 0.371 record.
• Putting aside their usual 6-2 system, NM State moved on to a 5-1 which left Carly Aigner Swesey dictate things on the offensive for the whole night. As a result, the Aggies passer racked up 49 career assists and finished her sixth double-double of the season leading the team with 13 digs, the team’s best.
• Leading the way in terms of frontline defense for the Aggies has been Shaney lip comb. His nine assists were accentuated by one team and the six best blocks of the season (one solo, five assists). The San Diego, Calif. Product also showed his running defense with a career-high season and 10 digs.
• Birtcil’s 24 kills were the second-highest total for a WAC player in a four-set game this season. Plus, those 24 kills are ranked 19th by an NCAA Division I player in a four-set game this season.
• With the win, the Aggies have earned victories in each of their last three WAC opening games. Dating back to the start of the 2018 season, NM State has won 47 of its last 51 games against opposition WAC.
• Thursday night’s win was the 10th of the season for NM State, making the Aggies the first WAC program to achieve double-digit wins so far this season. Other WAC programs that are approaching the 10-win mark include SFA (9-3) and Chicago State (9-4).

DIXIE STATE SCOUTING | LIST | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS
• Over the past week, the Trailblazers have racked up more wins (two) than they recorded in their first three weeks of the 2021 season. In the middle of their longest home streak of the 2021 season (three games), Dixie State recorded back-to-back wins over Southern Utah (3-1 on Saturday, September 18) and Grand Canyon (3-0 on Thursday, September 23).
• The Trailblazers’ victory over GCU in the WAC opener for both teams on Thursday night helped them end a six-game losing run against the Lopes dating back to 2011.
• Offensively, Hannah Howard handled the majority of the Trailblazers’ swings. She’s one of three Dixie State regulars who average north of 2.00 kills per set and her team-leading number stands at 2.31.
• In addition to Howard, Whittnee Nihpali (2.30 kills / set) and Megan Treanor (2.21 kills / set) are strong away options for Dixie State.
• Four players have handled the buildup of the Trailblazers offense this season, and the person most used in that role is Lauren Mena. Her 137 assists (5.48) topped the team standings and she is one of four Dixie State players to serve the team’s top six aces.
• Dixie State’s back-row defensive effort is led by Mykenna Nelson and her WAC-best 5.06 digs per set. Standing at the front of the net for Dixie State are Kate Hardy and Lizzy Clark. The first’s 0.94 blocks per set represents the team’s highest count and is one of the top ten averages among all WAC players, while Clark helped with 0.81 rejects per frame.

TO BE CONTINUED
• Returning home for the first time in nearly a full month, NM State continued the WAC’s action by hosting two league teams next week. Inside the Pan Am Center at 6:00 p.m. Thursday night, the Aggies face the Seattle U Redhawks. Bally Sports Arizona Plus and ESPN + will broadcast the WAC Showdown.

++ State NM ++


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