Las Cruces, NM — The New Mexico State volleyball team got off to a slow start but defeated Texas-Pan American 3-1 (25-20, 14-25, 17-25, 13-25), Saturday, Sept. 28 in the UTPA Fieldhouse to move to 6-8 overall and 1-0 in Western Athletic Conference play. The Broncs fall to 0-1 in WAC play.
The Aggies finished with a .203 hitting percentage and held UTPA to a .064 hitting percentage, out-blocking the Broncs 13-8 on their home court. Senior middle hitter Desiree Scott led the Aggies with nine total blocks (7 block assists, 2 solo blocks) while marking nine kills. Senior outside hitter Lauren Loerch tallied a season-high 18 kills to go along with two service aces and five total blocks as the Aggies earned their first league win.
“UTPA came out aggressive in set one and we made adjustments to come out and play a lot better in the final three sets,” said head coach Mike Jordan. “Jordan Reifsteck came in and helped us settle down with some great serve-receive as well as some good serves.”
Red-shirt sophomore Gwen Murphy posted a match-high .333 hitting percentage on the afternoon with sophomore Taylor Livoti marking a season-high 33 assists against the Broncs. Reifsteck, who coach Jordan considered a difference maker, posted 14 digs and two service aces on Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies struggled in set one and lost 25-20. It was close throughout the set with ties at 10, 11, 12 and 14 but the Broncs went up by two at 21-19 before winning 25-20. NM State was out-hit in set one .242-.053 with the Aggies posting nine attack errors.
NM State bounced back in set two winning, 25-14 as the Aggies improved their hitting percentage to .290 with 12 kills and only three errors in the set. Scott marked four kills on five swings and Loerch had five kills. The Aggies started out with a five point lead at 11-6 before eventually extending their lead to 10 at 20-10.
NM State used six consecutive serves from libero Jordan Reifsteck out of the intermission to take a 9-3 lead, forcing the Broncs to call a timeout. Reifsteck served four more times as the Aggies went up by 10 at 13-3. The Aggies went up by as many as 13 at 21-8 before winning 25-17.
The Aggies continued to play well and cruised into an 18-9 lead in set four before winning 25-13. The NM State defense held the Brons to a negative hitting percentage and posted five total blocks to close out the afternoon.
NM State continues WAC play, Monday, Sept. 30 when it faces Bakersfield in the Pan American Center. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and is scheduled to air on TV as a part of the AggieVision productions.
“Bakersfield has a solid team and we are hoping for the fans to show up and help us out as we are hungry to go for another WAC title,” Jordan said.