THE FIRST SERVE
• One of the four WAC squads without a league loss on its record, the NM State volleyball team puts the finishing touches on a two-match homestand by hosting league adversary California Baptist Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. inside the Pan American Center.
• The seventh all-time meeting between the Aggies and Lancers will be broadcast nationwide on ESPN+ and the ESPN app. Additionally, Bally Sports Arizona Plus, Bally Sports West and Comcast New Mexico are set to televise the clash.
Overall vs. California Baptist | 5-1 (.833)
In Las Cruces, N.M. | 2-0 (1.000)
In Riverside, Calif. | 3-1 (.750)
At neutral sites | 0-0 (.000)
Streak | NM State won five
Last five matches | 5-0 (1.000)
Last 10 matches | 5-1 (.833)
In three-set matches | 2-0 (1.000)
In four-set matches | 2-0 (1.000)
In five-set matches | 1-1 (.500)
Jordan vs. California Baptist | 5-1 (.833)
Higa vs. NM State | 1-5 (.167)
Last meeting | NM State 3, at California Baptist 0 (Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021)
• Since California Baptist won the inaugural meeting between the two programs back in the 2018 campaign, NM State hasn’t dropped a match to the Lancers since.
• The Aggies have won five in a row over the Lancers including a pair of 3-0 triumph in Riverside, Calif., during the spring 2021 campaign.
• NM State head coach Mike Jordan secured the 500th victory of his illustrious career in the Aggies’ first matchup with the Landers last season (Feb. 23, 2021).
LAST TIME OUT | NM State 3, vs. Seattle U 0 (Sept. 30, 2021)
• NM State closed out the month of September with a 10-2 record after handling Seattle U in straight sets Thursday night inside the Pan American Center.
• The Aggies’ 14th consecutive win over Seattle U was powered by the play of Katie Birtcil (10 kills) and Shaney Lipscomb (11 kills) on offense. Freshman setter Alana Embry came up with the third double-double of her career by going for 10 digs and 16 assists.
• Mari Sharp contributed eight terminations as well as a team-high 12 digs to the Aggies’ winning effort. Lauryn Taylor again donned NM State’s libero colors and scooped up 11 digs.
• Lipscomb hit a match-best .471 while Lia Mosher (seven kills) hit an even .400 in the Aggies’ eighth sweep of the season.
• Roughly 24 hours before the start of Thursday’s match, NM State head coach Mike Jordan tested positive for COVID-19. He will be away from the team for a period of 10 days, but the wins and losses accrued by the Aggies will still go on his all-time record.
• A new-look Western Athletic Conference is making its debut season in the 2021-22 season, and the Aggies are hoping to continue their dominance in the league.
• Now in his 24th season in charge at NM State, head coach Mike Jordan has been nothing short of masterful in league action throughout his tenure. The Aggies’ bench boss owns an impressive 282-65 (.813) mark in regular-season WAC showdowns as well as a 30-12 (.714) record in WAC Tournament bouts.
• NM State has been especially effective in racking up all manner of WAC hardware through the last seven seasons. In that span, the Aggies are 84-8 (.913) against league opposition in regular-season tilts and have claimed five regular-season WAC crowns as well as a trio of WAC Tournament titles.
• Since joining the WAC in 2005, NM State has secured seven regular-season titles. All told, Jordan has claimed 11 conference titles since his run in Las Cruces began in 1998.
• NM State has won its last 13 WAC regular-season matches at home dating back to the 2018 season.
ABOUT THE AGGIES
• Owners of the sixth-longest winning streak in all of NCAA Division I volleyball, NM State has reeled off nine consecutive triumphs.
• NM State’s 12 victories this season are the most in the WAC and the ninth-most among all NCAA Division I volleyball teams.
• NM State is one of 96 NCAA Division I volleyball teams who have yet to lose a conference match this season.
• The Aggies lead the WAC in both hitting percentage (.253) and opponent hitting percentage (.148). Their opponent hitting percentage figure is the 21st-best in the nation.
• Lia Mosher continued to lead the WAC in attack percentage. The middle blocker out of Ruidoso, N.M., is hitting .441 this season – the seventh-best mark among all NCAA Division I volleyball players this season.
• Darian Markham’s team-leading 4.33 digs per set rank as the fourth-highest average among all WAC student-athletes.
• Carly Aigner-Swesey is dishing out assists at a team-leading clip of 6.85 per set. That ranks as the sixth-highest average in the WAC and her 377 total helpers are the fifth-most in the league.
• With a win, NM State would capture its 10th-consecutive victory. It would mark the third season in a row in which the Aggies have generated a double-digit winning streak. Dating back to 2015, NM State has won 10 or more consecutive matches in five campaigns (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, spring 2021).
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA BAPTIST | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS
• Without a true road win to their credit this season, the Lancers would like nothing better than to snap their five-match losing skid to the Aggies in Las Cruces. Thursday night, California Baptist found itself on the wrong end of a 3-0 result at Grand Canyon and suffered its first WAC setback of the season as a result.
• Headlined by the hard-hitting duo of Christine Graf (2.92 kills/set) and Tesa Oaks (2.77 kills/set), California Baptist’s collective hitting percentage sits at .207. Graf tops the team’s charts with an individual attack percentage of .311 and her 111 kills also lead the club.
• One of the WAC’s biggest threats at the service line, outside hitter Cassidy Dennison has totaled a team-best 19 aces through her 39 sets of action. Her team-leading average in that category stands at a WAC-best 0.49 per frame.
• Operating in a 6-2 offense, setting duties for the Lancers have been split between Leah Pease (5.31/set) and Hana Okuhara (4.69/set).
• Defensively, Chandler Gorman leads the team and ranks sixth in the WAC with 1.03 blocks per set. In the back row, Paige Johnstone’s 3.90 digs per frame are the 10th-best figure in the league.
• Service pressure is a key to the Lancers’ success as they fire in 1.69 aces per set – the second-best average in the WAC.
COMING UP NEXT
• For a rare one-match week, the Aggies’ travels take them to the Windy City for a Thursday evening matchup at WAC foe Chicago State. The Aggies and Cougars are set to battle at 5:00 p.m. MT.
NM State, California Baptist Set for Saturday Showdown – New Mexico State University Athletics