San Diego 3, New Mexico St. 0

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Junior Sarah Silagy had a team-high eight kills, but the New Mexico State volleyball team's season ended Friday night as the Aggies fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 3-0 (30-19, 30-27, 30-24) to the No. 9 seed University of San Diego at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

With the loss the Aggies end the season with a 30-3 overall record. With the win the Toreros improve to 23-4 overall and advance to the second round of the tournament where they will face No. 21 Arizona (19-10) who knocked of Big West Champion UC-Irvine, 3-0 earlier Friday night.

The Toreros, who entered the tournament ranked 12th in the nation, were led by red shirt shirt sophomore Kristen Carlson's match-high 23 kills. The 6-2 outside hitter hit .526 and had four digs and one ace in the win. West Coast Conference Player of the Year Devon Forster recorded a double-double with 20 kills and 13 digs to help lead the Toreros to the second round..

Silagy (Simi Valley, Calif.) hit .421 in the loss with no attack errors while sophomore Alice Borden (Anthony, N.M.) added seven kills. Sophomore's Tanya Allen (Deming, N.M.) recorded four kills, seven digs and two aces while fellow sophomore Kristin Hendricks (Scottsdale, Ariz.) also had two aces from the service line. Freshman Jordan Bostic (El Paso/Franklin HS) led the Aggie defense with a match-high 16 digs in the loss.

The Toreros, who hit a staggering .550 in game one, attacked at a .414 clip for the match while the Aggies were held to a .220 hitting percentage. NMSU also struggled from the service line in the loss, making 15 service errors to just three aces.

Early in game one it was the Toreros that jumped out quickly, attacking the Aggie defense down the sidelines. After USD jumped to a 3-0 lead, the Aggies got on the scoreboard when freshman Kim Oguh (El Paso/Hanks HS) took an assist from Jackie Choi and dumped it over the next and in front of the USD defense. Forster had the offense working early as she tallied two kills in the first six points of the match.

After the Toreros went up 6-2, the Aggies struck back as Silagy hammered the ball down the middle of the court for the point. Despite the kill the Toreros kept the pressure on both the Aggie offense and defense. With the score 8-4 Adams couldn't handle Forster's serve and Dawson took the overpass and slammed it to the floor. After an NMSU timeout the Aggies scored again as Adams took a Choi assist a put it right inside the line for the kill to make the score 17-7 in favor of the Toreros.

USD, which hit .550 in game one, dominated the opening frame, but the Aggies continued to battle, scoring three straight points thanks to kills by Allen, Silagy and sophomore Alice Borden (Anthony, N.M.) to cut the lead to 2-10. USD regained the momentum and went up 12 at 24-12 when Forster smacked the ball off the Aggie blockers for the kill. NMSU countered on the next play as Bostic made a diving dig to keep the play alive and the Toreros hit the ball into the net for the error.

Down 29-16 the Aggies never gave in as Adams took a Choi assists and directed cross court for the kill. On the next play Silagy blocked the Torero attack and the Aggies cut the lead to 11. Despite the run it was USD that escaped game one with the win, 30-19.

The Toreros' Carlson, who notched eight kills in game one, began the second without missing a beat as she recorded the game's first two kills to put the home team up early. Despite being down the Aggies fought back and took their first lead of the game and the match at 6-5 when the Toreros were called for an attack error. After a USD score tied the game, NMSU regained lead as Borden tipped the ball over the Torero blocker for the kill.

The Aggies went up 8-7 as Borden hammered the ball off the USD blockers and took their first two-point lead of the game when Choi served an ace down the middle of the court. Adams then slammed the ball off the USD frontline for the kill and the Aggies took a brief lead at 11-9. The Toreros bounced right back though and tied the game at 11 when Allen's attack went wide of the sideline.

Later in game the Aggies regained the lead as Adams tipped the ball into the middle of the floor for the kill to make the score 20-19. The Toreros rebounded quickly and on the next play Carlson hammered the ball off the Aggie blockers to tie the game. USD scored six of the next seven points and took a 26-21 lead when Dawson hammered the ball off of Bostic for the point.

The Aggies bounced back and scored two of the next three points, forcing a USD timeout when Adams hit the ball cross court for the kill to pull the Aggies to within four at 27-23. Out of the stoppage the Aggies scored again as Allen killed the ball of the USD blockers, but the comeback fell short and the Toreros took game two, 30-27.

Out of the intermission the Toreros continued their hot hitting as they jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. After the Aggies cut the lead in half thanks to back-to-back attack errors by the Toreros, NMSU's offense picked it up as Silagy took a Choi assist and slammed it down the line to make the score 5-4.

The Toreros, who continued to hit the ball with great accuracy in the final game, went up 10-5 when Carlson took an overpass and hammered it to the floor. Carlson, who had her best match as a Torero Friday night, then put USD up 15-9 with another kill. The Aggies cut the lead back to six at 21-15 when Silagy nailed the ball down the line for the kill. NMSU then cut the lead to five at 24-19 thanks to a block by Oguh and Allen, but in the end, it was the Toreros that came out on top, winning the decisive game, 30-24.

Despite not advancing past the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Aggies and all associated with the program have a great deal to be proud of. NMSU set a program record for winning percentage at 90 percent, tied a school record for wins in a season with 30 and won its second straight conference title.

The Aggies will be back in Las Cruces Saturday night and attend a ceremony during the halftime of the Aggie men's basketball game where they will lower the 2004 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship banners in the Pan American Center.

--Courtesy New Mexico St.