LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State volleyball team closed out the Borderland Invitational with a match against UTEP at the Pan American Center on Sunday. The Aggies downed the Miners 20-25, 25-16, 17-25, 25-15, 15-10, to remain undefeated this season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
NM State (6-0) and UTEP (4-3) kept the opening set close but the Aggies trailed 14-10 after allowing the opposition to score four-straight. An off-speed kill by Savannah Davison broke up the rally but as the set progressed, the squad was still unable to find a rhythm and trailed 18-13 when head coach Mike Jordan used his second timeout. The team continued to struggle late and NM State dropped the opening set 25-20.
New Mexico State came out hot in the second set, scoring the first three points. UTEP rallied to come within a point but the Aggie squad built back its lead and after the Miners’ setter committed a ball-handling error, the opposition called a timeout with the Crimson and White ahead 13-8. The teams battled back-and-forth and a cross-court kill from Davison put New Mexico State ahead 19-13. Krysten Garrison connected with Megan Hart to give NM State a seven point lead and the Miners used their final timeout following the play. New Mexico State remained in control and ace from Davison game the team set point before UTEP committed an attack error to give the Crimson and White the 25-16 win.
The Aggies went point-for-point with the Miners in the third set but at the media timeout, New Mexico State trailed 15-13. NM State gave up three-straight following the break and continued to struggle, trailing 21-15 when Jordan burned his final timeout of the set. Unable to find a rhythm, NM State dropped the third set 25-17.
Looking to bounce back, New Mexico State scored the first five points of the fourth set with three resulting from blocks. However, the lead dwindled and at the media timeout, the Aggies were only ahead 15-13. The team scored the following four-points, including a kill from Davison from the outside, to lead the Miners 19-13. New Mexico State continued to cruise and Davison sealed the 25-15 victory with a pair of kills to force a fifth set.
The Aggies started the fifth set on a 4-0 scoring run that included three kills from Davison. However the Miners did not go away easy, scoring a pair down the stretch to force New Mexico State to use a timeout leading 7-6. The Aggies took back the momentum when Julianna Salanoa and Lia Mosher posted a block on the next play but an attack error late in the set put UTEP within a point. However, it was the closest the Miners came as NM State scored the final four points of the match, sealing the 15-10 victory in the final set.
BY THE NUMBERS
New Mexico State posted 57 kills with a .248 hitting percentage in the victory. The Aggies also recorded 51 assists, 42 kills and 13 team blocks. Davison led all players with 19 kills in the match. Cat Kelly posted her first double-double of the season, tallying 16 digs and 12 kills. Following the match, Hart was named the Borderland Invitational’ s most valuable player. Salanoa and Kelly also received all-tournament honors.
The 6-0 record for NM State marks the best start for the program since 2006. That season, Jordan led his squad to a 34-4 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
New Mexico State is back at the Pan American Center for the SpringHill Suites Invitational next weekend. The Aggies welcome Portland, Grambling State and Lamar for the two-day tournament from Sept. 13-14.