Aggies overpower Runners in conference clash

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New Mexico State volleyball hosted California Baptist in a conference clash at the Pan American Center on Saturday, The Aggies reached the 20-win mark by downing the Lancers 25-16, 11-25, 25-8, 25-20 in the match.

“I thought we attacked the ball pretty well. Except the one stretch in the second set, we were pretty balanced” head coach Mike Jordan said. “We defended a lot better than we did the first time we placed this team. Also, to serve 10 aces against what I believe has been the best passing team in the league is impressive. Overall, it was a great team win.”

How it Happened

NM State (20-7, 10-4 WAC) battled point-for-point with CBU (19-10, 9-7 WAC) early in the set and a kill by Ashley Anselmo put New Mexico State ahead by a pair. Briana Ainsworth served back-to-back aces for the Aggies to extend the advantage and at the media timeout, NM State was ahead 15-11. Following the break, the Aggies continued to cruise and a four-point run with Natalie Mikels behind the service line gave the Crimson and White the eight-point advantage. An attack error by the opposition brought on set point for the Aggies and a kill by Savannah Davison put away New Mexico State’s 25-16 victory in the opening set.

In the second set, the Aggies came out flat, trailing the Lancers 13-7 early in the set. Megan Hart tallied a kill to cut NM State’s deficit to six down the stretch but New Mexico State continued to struggle and allowed a seven-point rally to the opposition following the play. A CBU service error ended the run but the damage was done and the Aggies allowed a pair to California Baptist to end the 25-11 loss.

Looking for redemption, Tatyana Battle came out hot in the third set, posting four kills when NM State began the third set on a 6-0 run. The Aggies continued to cruise with a six-point rally to take the 12-1 advantage over the Lancers. After holding a 19-5 lead thanks to a solo block by Davison, New Mexico State scored five-straight including three aces at the hands of Mikels. Despite giving up a three-point rally to CBU while holding set point, NM State closed out the third set with a Davison kill to win 25-8.

New Mexico State dug itself into a hole to begin the final set, trailing California Baptist 7-1. However, a kill by Julianna Salanoa snapped the momentum of the Lancers and the Aggies rallied to come within three of the opposition. With NM State on a hot-streak, Battle rattled off three-straight services aces, which allowed the Crimson and White to take the 11-10 lead over CBU. The teams fought back-and-forth but with Halle Razo serving, California Baptist’s struggles continued when the team posted four-straight attack errors. The lead Razo built up was enough for the Aggies late in the set and the final blow came as a kill by Davison, sealing the 25-20 victory and the four-set victory for New Mexico State.

By The Numbers

NM State reached the 20-win mark with the victory, making it the 15th time in the last 17 seasons that the Aggies have reached the milestone. In the victory, New Mexico State tallied 51 kills on hitting .290 for the match. Davison led all players with 14 kills and posted a double-double when she added 12 digs in the win. Battle led the NM State squad with 20 digs and her 13 kills gave her the 17th double-double of her senior campaign. Mikels led the team with 23 assists and four aces while Brigette Lowe had a squad-best three blocks.

The Aggies close out the regular season with a pair of matches at home. NM State hosts UMKC on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m. MT before welcoming Chicago State for a Senior Day match on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.

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