NMSU Volleyball Defeats the Lobos in 4 Sets
The New Mexico State University volleyball team defeated its Rio Grande rival, the University of New Mexico, for the first time since 2008, Tuesday night in the Pan American Center.
The highly contested match went back-and-forth, but ended with the Aggies winning the first two sets and eventually the match 3-1 (25-22, 25-18, 22-25, 25-17) in front of 1,669 fans.
NM State was once again led by freshman outside hitter Meredith Hays who finished with a match-high 20 kills. Hays, however, was not alone in defeating the Lobos. Senior Jennah DeVries finished with her eighth double-double as she posted 45 assists and 11 digs. Senior Michelle Kuester was instrumental in keeping the Aggies in helping the Aggies win the first set and finished the evening with seven kills, while senior Kelsey Brennan added 10 kills.
Head coach Mike Jordan likes his team's chemistry heading into a two-game road series this weekend and a home battle with nationally ranked Hawai'i next week. NM State out-hit the Lobos .234-.158 and out-blocked them 13-3.
"This team plays a lot better together than in previous years," Jordan said. "Everybody works harder and that makes us better."
The first set went back and forth from the beginning. Neither team led by more than three points throughout the entire set, while there were eight tie scores and four lead changes. The Aggies started slow but stayed in the set with three timely kills by Kuester and three Lobos service errors. Hays had two of her four kills in the final stages of set one to give the Aggies the win.
The second set started similar to the first with both teams going back-and-forth. During the midway point of the set, the Aggies won six of eight points to take a 16-8 lead. The Aggies never looked back after that and finished off the Lobos with a couple of big kills Brennan and Kuester.
The Lobos rallied in the third set led by senior Ashley Rhoades who finished with 17 kills. After falling behind 17-12 midway through the set, the Aggies rallied to tie the set at 21. A couple of big kills by freshman Elsa Krieg late, however, put the set away for the Lobos.
The Aggies did not let the third set loss bring them down. Helped by a four-point rally midway through the set and a five-point rally late in the set, the Aggies took a commanding 21-12 lead. The Lobos didn't cave in, however, coming up with a four-point rally of their own to cut into the lead 21-16. In wasn't enough, however, as the Aggies finished of the set and the match with a couple of big kills by Kuester and Hays.
The Aggies now head out to Reno, Nev. to face the Nevada Wolf Pack in conference match Thursday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m.