Aggie Volleyball Falls In Five To Lobos

Kelsey BrennanThe Aggie volleyball team dropped a tough five-set match to in-state rival New Mexico on Tuesday evening in Albuquerque. The Aggies won the first set 25-20 but dropped the second set 25-16. NM State rebounded to take set three 25-21 but fell 25-17 and 15-7 in the final two sets. It's the second consecutive loss to the Lobos in the Rio Grande Rivalry after the Aggies dominated the series winning 10 straight. "Give credit to UNM, they're a great team and they played well on their home court," said head coach Mike Jordan after the match. "I'm disappointed with our ball handing. We got aced too many times and passed the ball too bad to beat a good team. When we were in system we were tough but obviously that didn't happen enough."

Set one saw the Lobos jump out to a 3-0 on three kills by three different Lobos. The Aggies would get on the board behind a Kayleigh Giddens kill cutting the lead to 3-1. The Lobos would take a 5-2 lead on Ellen Miks' first service error of the season, however, the Aggies would rally to take the next three points as kills by Whitney Woods and Kelsey Brennan would be followed by a hitting error by Rachel Barber. The Aggies would take a 10-7 lead on back-to-back kills by Kayleigh Giddens however, the Lobos would tie the set 10-10. The Aggies would take a 14-11 lead after a service ace by Kayleigh Giddens, however, after back-to-back hitting errors by freshman Rocio Gutierrez the Aggies would lead by just two at 16-14.

The Lobos would tied the set at 16-16 after an attack error by Whitney Woods. THe Aggies would win the next point as Whitney Woods and Kelsey Brennan would block UNM's Kelly Williamson, however, the Lobos would go back to Williamson who would get a kill to tie the set at 17-17. The two teams would remain tied at 18 apiece, however, the Aggies would take the next two points as Kelsey Brennan would record a kill and Desiree Scott would record a solo block against UNM's Taylor Hadfield. The Aggies would extend the lead to three at 22-19 on a kill by Whitney Woods forcing the Lobos to take a timeout. The Aggies would take a 23-19 lead as Lisa Meeter's attack would find the net. After a Taylor Hadfield attack error would give the Aggies their first set point, Hadfield would record a kill to make the score 24-20. Whitney Woods would end the set on the next point with a kill giving the Aggies a 25-20 set victory.

Set two saw the Aggies record the first point as Taylor Hadfield would be blocked by Kayleigh Giddens and Desiree Scott. The Lobos would score four of the next five points to take a 4-2 lead. The set would be tied up at 6-6 and again at 8-8 but the Lobos would reel off six straight points to take a 14-8 lead. The Lobos would push their lead out to eight points at 19-11. The Aggies would cut the lead to six points at 21-15. bu the Aggies would end the set on back-to-back kills by Kelly Williamson giving them a 25-16 set two victory and tying the match at 1-1.

Set three would start off quickly for UNM as they would jump out to a 3-1 lead, however, after a Giddens kill was followed by a block by Giddens, the set would be tied 3-3. The Lobos would take a 9-5 lead after Rocio Gutierrez was blocked by UNM's Taylor Hadfield and Rachel Barber. The Aggies would trim the lead three at 11-9 after a kill by Kelsey Brennan and would tie things up two points later on another kill by Kelsey Brennan. The Aggies would take their first lead of the match at 13-12 on a solo block by Kayleigh Giddens on Ashley Rhoades. UNM would retake the lead at 14-13 on an attack error by Madison Hardy. After a kill by Kayleigh Giddens tied the set at 15-15, the Lobos would get kills by Ashley Rhoades and Lisa Meeter to take a 17-15 lead. The Lobos maintained the two point lead at 19-17 but a kill by Rocio Gutierrez was followed by an attack error by Kelly Williamson tying the set at 19 apiece. The Aggies would regain the lead at 20-19 on a kill by Kayleigh Giddens and a second kill by Giddens gave the Aggies a 21-19 lead. The Aggies would take a 23-20 lead on a block by Deirdre Pajares and Michelle Kuester and after a kill by Ashley Rhoades cut the Aggies lead to 23-21, back-to-back kills by Michelle Kuester and Kayleigh Giddens would give the Aggies the 25-21 set three victory.

The fourth set was dominated by the Lobos after the Aggies took the first point on a kill by Kelsey Brennan. The Lobos would jump out to a 5-2 lead. Back-to-back hitting errors by the Lobos would cut the lead to 5-4. The Aggies would tie the set at 6-6 on a kill by Rocio Gutierrez but the Lobos would take the next three points to go ahead 9-6. After a double-contact was called on the Lobos trimming the lead to 9-7, UNM would go on a 4-0 run to push their lead to 13-7. A service error by UNM's Mariah Agre cut the Aggie deficit to 13-8 but back-to-back points would put the Lobos up 15-8. UNM would score four of the next five points to extend their lead to 10 points at 19-9. The Aggies would score four of the next six points to cut the deficit down to 21-13, however, the Lobos would seal the set on a kill by Taylor Hadfield to win the set 25-17.

The fifth and deciding set saw the Aggies jump out to a quick 2-0 lead, however, the Aggies would have a tough time with the serve of Taylor Hadfield as the Lobos reeled off seven straight points to take a commanding 7-2 lead in the race to 15 points. The Aggies would be unable to cut the deficit as they trailed 9-4 after an attack error by Rocio Gutierrez and the Lobos would push their lead to six points on a kill by Lisa Meeter. Allison Buck gave the Lobos a seven point lead at 12-5 forcing the Aggies to call their final timeout. Kelsey Brennan would get a kill out of the timeout to cut the deficit to six points at 12-6, however, the Lobos would finish off the match winning three of the final four points to give them a 15-7 fifth set victory and the 3-2 victory in the match.

The Aggies hit .181 on the match with Kayleigh Giddens leading the Aggies will 15 kills on 43 swings. She had seven hitting errors, however, six of them came in the fourth set. She finished the night hitting .186 and added 13 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Kelsey Brennan led the Aggies in hitting percentage posting a .571 percentage and finishing with 12 kills on 21 swings while committing no attack errors. Whitney Woods shook off a rough start early to finish with 13 kills on 25 swings with five attack errors and a .320 hitting percentage. "She did really well, her and Kelsey Brennan," said Coach Jordan. "We wanted to get the ball to them and we were doing that when we handled the ball well enough, we just couldn't pass it well enough to get them more swings."

Ellen Miks led the Aggies with 18 digs while Rocio Gutierrez and Jennah DeVries each added 10. DeVries finished with 46 assists and posted a double-double. The Aggies outblocked the Lobos 13-4 as Giddens finished with two solo blocks and three block assists. Freshman Desiree Scott finished with four block assists and two solo blocks.

Offensively, UNM hit .243 for the match. The Lobos were led by Kelly Williamson who finished with a match-high 20 kills. She had eight attack errors in 46 swings and posted a .261 hitting percentage. Taylor Hadfield finished with 19 kills on 41 swings with just four attack errors and hit .366 on the match. Lisa Meeter finished with 14 kills while Ashley Rhoads added 10. Allison Buck led the Lobos in digs with 15 while setter Jade Michaelson added 13 and Meeter added 10 for a double-double.

The Aggies, who fall to 6-4 on the season, will be back in action on Friday afternoon as they travel to Tucson for the Arizona Invitational. The Aggies will face Pepperdine at 11:30 a.m. MT followed by an evening match against Texas State at 6:00 p.m. MT. The Aggies will face host Arizona on Saturday at 2:0 p.m. MT. The Aggies' match against Arizona can be heard on KSNM AM 570.