The New Mexico State volleyball team defeated Seattle University in five sets (21-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-12) to take the opening match of Western Athletic Conference play, Thursday, Sept. 13 in the Connolly Center.
The Aggies came from behind as Desiree Scott marked a career-high 12 total blocks (two solo, 10 block-assists) and Meredith Hays tallied a match-high 18 kills. NM State moves to 7-3 overall and 1-0 in league play after the stressful win. Seattle falls to 5-6 on the year and drops to 0-1 in conference play.
Junior outside hitter Lauren Loerch added 17 kills in the match and tallied only three errors to go along with an ace and three total blocks, two of them solo. Freshman Taylor Livoti split the setting duties with junior Ciara Brown, while they posted 19 and 18 assists respectively. Junior libero Hannah Walker ended the night with a match and career-high 22 digs.
"I'm glad we battled back to get the win," head coach Mike Jordan said. "I give credit to Seattle because they were the more aggressive team serving and defending and they did a lot of good things. We are fortunate to get the win tonight and I give Desiree Scott credit for stepping up and making some plays."
The Aggies struggled in set one both offensively and defensively, while falling 25-21. NM State was held to a .040 hitting percentage posting only seven kills to go along with six errors in the set and allowed the Redhawks to hit .250. The Aggies never led in the set and couldn't tie it up either, but battled to pull within three at 17-14 and 22-19.
Set two was a different story as the Aggies held Seattle to a .053 hitting percentage, while there were seven ties and three lead changes. NM State took an early 5-2 lead but the Redhawks gained momentum and took advantage of the small but loud crowd to fight back using a 4-1 scoring rally to tie it up at 6-6. The set was tied up at seven, and nine before Hays hit a great cross court shot to give her team a 10-9 lead. After three consecutive Seattle attack errors the Aggies went up by six at 16-10 but the Redhawks tallied an 8-2 scoring run to tie it at 18-all. NM State lost the lead at 19-18 and never regained it losing 25-23.
The Aggies took set three 25-19 while marking six total team blocks in the set and holding the Redhawks to a .095 hitting percentage. The set was tied six times but NM State never fell behind. The set was tied at one, two, three, four, five and six before NM State took a five-point lead at 15-10 on a kill from Loerch.
Set four saw 10 ties and four lead changes with NM State coming out on top 25-20. The Aggies fell behind by as many as four at 18-14 and 19-15 but battled back to tie it up at 20-all. NM State tallied a 5-0 scoring run behind some great hustle plays and good serving from Nathalie Castellanos to finish off Seattle and take the set.
NM State fell behind 3-1 in set five but tied it up at 5-5 on a service ace by Brown and again at 7-7 on a solo block by Scott. Preslie Alexander hammered down a kill to tie the set at nine, and got a solo block to give her team a 10-9 lead. She then tallied another kill as NM State went up by two. NM State wrapped up the set and match on a service ace by Brown.
NM State now heads to Moscow, Idaho to face the Vandals in a league match, Saturday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. (MT).