OREM, Utah (KTSM) – Back to back.
The New Mexico State volleyball team swept Grand Canyon 25-17, 25-23, 26-24, in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship match to punch its second-straight ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
Megan Hart won her second-consecutive WAC Tournament MVP while Savannah Davison was named to the All-Tournament team as the Aggies did not drop a set during the WAC Tournament. It was also New Mexico State’s 19th-straight win.
Grand Canyon did not take a single set off the Aggies in three matchups this season.
Just like in the semifinal against Utah Valley, NM State (27-3) blitzed the Lopes in the first set, 25-17. Cat Kelly, who sat out the final two matches of the regular season with a hamstring injury, was particularly effective as she crushed eight kills in the first set alone. As a team, the Aggies hit .240 in the set and held Grand Canyon .036.
The Lopes bounced back in the second set and led 10-8 early on before stretching it to 14-10. Then, Megan Hart and Kelly kick-started an NM State run that put the Aggies back ahead, 18-17. The teams then went back-and-forth before back-to-back kills from Hart and Kelly put New Mexico State on set point. After GCU got a point back, Julianna Salanoa crushed a kill off the assist from Krysten Garrison for a 25-23 win in set two.
The Aggies ripped off an 8-2 run to start the third that included a setter kill from Natalie Mikels and was capped by two missiles from Davison. NM State kept its foot on the gas and led 24-20 late in the set. However, the Lopes refused to quit and scored four-straight points to tie the set at 24. Then Kelly hit her 15th kill of the night and Davison finished off a spirited rally with a laser beam to send the Aggies to their second-straight NCAA Tournament.
This is the 10th NCAA Tournament Appearance for New Mexico State under Mike Jordan.
As a team, the Aggies hit .208 with 47 kills while GCU hit just .117 with only 31 kills. Kelly wrapped up her night with a scorching .429 hitting percentage and 15 kills, two shy of her career-high. Hart hit 12 kills while Davison added eight and 14 digs. Salanoa, Hart and Lia Mosher all recorded four blocks and Ashley Anselmo added three. Garrison finished with 19 assists, Mikels with 15 and Annalyssa Acosta finished with 16 digs.
NM State now waits to find out where it will travel for the NCAA Tournament. Join the Aggies for the NCAA Selection show on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m. (MT).