Aggies take down Roos in five-set thriller

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New Mexico State volleyball welcomed Kansas City to the Pan American Center for a Western Athletic Conference match on Thursday night. The Aggies took down the Roos 18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 15-10 in the five-set thriller.

“Tatyana Battle played great tonight. She became the best player on the floor late, which was good for us,” head coach Mike Jordan said, “UMKC has a really good team. It was a good battle, I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

How it Happened

NM State (21-7, 11-4 WAC) came out flat in the opening set, trailing UMKC (20-8, 11-4 WAC) 9-1 to begin the contest. The Aggies gained momentum when a kill by Julianna Salanoa sparked a rally that brought the squad within a point of the Roos. However, a three-point swing favored Kansas City late in the set and despite calling a timeout to break up the opposition’s rhythm, New Mexico State was unable to stop the UMKC offense, allowing the team to reach set point. Despite scoring on two-straight plays, NM State fell in the first set 25-18.

Looking for redemption, New Mexico State came out swinging and a kill by Megan Hart started a 3-0 run that put the Aggies ahead 9-6. Battling point-for-point with the Roos, back-to-back kills by Tatyana Battle and Savannah Davison brought NM State the 20-15 advantage. Kansas City hung tough, and a kill by the Roos’ middle hitter brought the opposition within a score late in the set. The Aggies did not give up and after Davison’s kill off an assist from Natalie Mikels gave the Crimson and White set point, Battle put the 25-22 victory away with a kill.

NM State maintained its momentum into the third set when the team jumped out to a 3-0 lead. However, Kansas City kept the set close tying the set at 7-7 and taking a 16-15 lead down the stretch after a three-point rally. New Mexico State battled back, rattling off a pair of three-point runs to hold a 21-17 advantage late in the set. Despite UMKC coming back to tie the set at 22, the Aggies went on a 3-0 run at the end and a kill by Battle sealed the 25-22 win in the game.

In the fourth set, the teams fought for every point but following back-to-back scores by UMKC, Jordan a timeout with New Mexico State trailing 14-13. The Roos scored following the break but a serving error brought NM State within a pair. Despite keeping the set close down the stretch, UMKC pulled out in front after a four-point run to lead the Aggies 23-19 late but a four point run that included an ace by Kiley Tonge, helped NM State tie the set 23-23. However, it wasn’t enough for NM State as the Roos scored the final two points to take the 25-23 set and force the winner-take-all fifth.

Kansas City came out hot, leading the home team 4-1 to start the set. After going back-and-fourth, a three-point rally that started with a Davison kill tied the set 6-6. The teams continued to fight for each point but the Aggies had the edge when it came time to switch sides of the court, leading 8-7. NM State expanded on its lead late in the set and following a Halle Razo ace, a kill by Battle gave the team the four-point lead. The advantage was enough and after Briana Ainsworth went to Battle for a kill that brought on set point, an attack error by the Roos gave New Mexico State the 15-10 victory.

By The Numbers

NM State tallied 64 kills on hitting .194 for the match. Battle led all players with a season-best 27 kills and also held a .333 hitting clip in the victory. The senior posted 12 digs for the victory to record her league-leading 18th double-double. Ainsworth also recorded a double-double when the senior setter had 23 assists and 13 digs and Davison got in on the action with 17 kills and 10 digs.

For their final match of the regular season, the Aggies host Chicago State on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m. MT. Following the match, the team is set to honor seniors Ainsworth and Battle in a special ceremony. Fans that can’t make the contest or the senior ceremony can catch the action on the WAC Digital Network.

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