LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Sun Devils remained undefeated on Sunday, taking down NM State in the Pan American Center. The Aggies took the first set, but lost the next three. Arizona State improved to 6-0, while NM State fell to 3-2.
Set-by-set: NM State loses 1-3 (25-21, 17-25, 13-25, 21-25)
The Aggies got out to a hot start in the first set, on the back of Sidney McIntosh, who had 4 kills in the first 10 points of the match, giving the home team a 6-4 lead. Ryleigh Whitekettle didn’t take long to get in on the action either. The pair finished with 11 kills in the opening set, capped off with a dominant finish. After ASU drew even at 20-20, Whitekettle collected kills on three straight points. McIntosh brought it to set point at 24-21, and the team capitalized, taking the first frame from the undefeated Sun Devils.
The next three would all go ASU’s way in relatively comfortable fashion. The Aggies did not lead in the second or third frame other than a 2-1 lead in the second set, and a 1-0 lead in the third. The second set was plagued with errors, including eight attack errors by NM State.
The third set was the most dominant by ASU, and the worst set for the Aggies this season, losing 13-25. Following a 1-0 Aggie lead, the visitors were up 9-2 in a hurry. It did get as close as 11-16 at one point, but the Sun Devils closed out the set by winning nine of the last 10 points, shutting down any momentum NM State had been building up to that point.
The experienced roster proved validity to their record, as Head Coach Mike Jordan pointed out, “They’re playing very well. They’re really tough to stop with their tempo. They’re an older, more experienced team. We looked tired, and that’s what good teams do, they pressure you.”
The fourth set was substantially more competitive, but the Aggies’ efforts weren’t enough to force a decisive fifth set. The Aggies did take an initial 5-2 lead before Marta Levinska had two kills within a span of seven consecutive ASU points. Levinska finished with six digs and 14 kills of her own, tying Whitekettle for most in the match.
- Aspen Aldous made her NM State debut late in the third set as ASU held a 22-13 lead. The setter finished with 3 assists, a block and a kill on her lone attempt.
- Darian Markham comfortably led both sides with 19 digs, and had several high-effort diving plays.
- Bianca Perez led the team in assists for the third straight match, tallying 27.
- Sidney McIntosh set a career high in kills with 13. She tied her previous career high (10) in just the second set, as the score was 15-10.
- Ryleigh Whitekettle added 14 kills, and has led the team in all five matches this season.
The Aggies will have four days off, before heading to Normal, Ill. The Redbird Classic will begin at 11:30 MT on Friday, Sept. 8. The Aggies will start by taking on the hosts, Illinois State, and play two more matches against Miami (OH) and Saint Louis.
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