The New Mexico State volleyball team hosted Utah Valley in a Western Athletic Conference clash at the Pan American Center on Thursday night. The Aggies tamed the Wolverines 25-20, 25-27, 25-20, 26-24 for the team’s 19th-straight victory at home.
“I am proud of the team for battling today. Halle Razo came off the bench and gave us a lift at the libero spot and played great,” head coach Mike Jordan said. “We did a good job managing the game from the service line. We had four players with double-digit kills, which is a great thing.”
How it Happened
NM State (16-5, 6-2 WAC) got off to a slow start, trailing UVU (11-10, 3-5 WAC) 5-1 early in the opening set. A block by Cat Kelly and Julianna Salanoa tied the set 10-10 following a scoring run and kill down the line by Tatyana Battle put NM State ahead by one. After the lead change, New Mexico State struggled to find its rhythm and trailed Utah Valley 17-12, forcing the Aggies to call a timeout. Jordan Pleasants began a rally after a service error by UVU that brought the Crimson and White within a point. A kill by Megan Hart sparked the Aggie offense and Briana Ainsworth helped the Aggies reach set point, rattling off a six-point run to give New Mexico State set point. An off-speed kill by Davison from the right side sealed the 25-20 opening-set victory.
In the second set, the teams battled back-and-forth but a four-point run by the Wolverines forced the Crimson and White to call a timeout, trailing 9-6. NM State clawed its way back and a kill by Kelly tied the set 9-9. The Aggies went point-for-point down the stretch but back-to-back aces by Utah Valley put New Mexico State behind by a pair. NM State tied the game 22-22 late and despite UVU reaching set point, New Mexico State was able to tie the set. The Aggies were able to score once more but gave up the final two points and fell 27-25 to the Wolverines.
New Mexico State fell into a slump early, trailing Utah Valley 7-1 before calling a timeout. The break stopped the Wolverine momentum and a kill by Davison started a rally that tied the third set 7-7. A kill by Hart started another early run for the squad, pushing NM State ahead 11-9. Despite holding a 15-11 advantage over the Utah Valley, New Mexico State let the opposition crawl within a point before Salanoa ended the run. The Aggies expanded their lead to five before UVU took its second timeout and kill by Davison brought NM State to set point. A blocking error by the Wolverines closed out the third set, giving New Mexico State the 25-20 win.
The Aggies kept the fourth set close early but a four-point run by Utah Valley put NM State behind 13-11, forcing New Mexico State to take a timeout. Kelly hit a kill down the line out of the timeout to snap the streak and back-to-back kills by Davison allowed the Aggies to go ahead by one. Another surge by the Wolverines resulted in New Mexico State trailing 18-15 but NM State followed by scoring three-straight, tying the set. Back-and-forth the squads fought and kills by Battle and Davison late in the set allowed NM State to take the 23-21 lead. However, UVU did not go away and scored three straight to reach set point. Kills by Davison and Battle, yet again, tied the set and a block by Hart and Kelly put the match away, sealing the Aggies 26-24 victory.
By The Numbers
New Mexico State tallied 68 kills on hitting .242 compared to UVU, who posted 49 kills and a .167 hitting clip. Four Aggies posted double-doubles with Battle recording a squad best 18 kills and 21 digs. Davison followed closely behind with 17 kills and 16 digs while Hart had 12 kills and 11 digs. Ainsworth earned her double-double when she posted 25 assists and 11 digs. The final player with double-digit kills for the squad was Kelly, who tallied 10 in the win
NM State gets set to host the Roadrunners of CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, Oct. 20. First serve from the match is set for noon MT.