Aggies Sweep Utah State For Seventh Straight Victory

Kelsey BrennanThe Aggie volleyball team won their seventh consecutive match by sweeping Utah State in Logan on Saturday night to improve to 9-1 in WAC play and 15-9 overall. The Aggies rallied to win the first set 25-23, controlled the second set winning 25-18 before holding off the UtAgs 25-21 in the third set.

The Aggies hit .444 for the match and committed just 12 attack errors, four in each set. The Aggies hit .432 in the firs set recording 20 kills then followed that with 17 kills on a .481 hitting percentage and then closed out the match hitting .429 in the third set and recording 19 kills.

Kayleigh Giddens recorded 17 kills on 32 swings with just four attack errors to hit .406 while fellow outside hitter Rocio Gutierrez added 12 kills on 21 swings with just four attack errors to hit .381. Middle blocker Kelsey Brennan also finished with 12 kills and did not make an attack error in 17 swings and finished with a .706 hitting percentage.

The Aggies trailed Utah State 6-2 early in the first set but battled back to tie the set at 8-8. From that point in the set neither team would lead by more than two points as the set saw 10 ties and four lead changes leaving the two teams tied at 22 points apiece. The Aggies would take a 23-22 lead behind a kill from Kelsey Brennan which would force a Utah State timeout. The Aggies would get a kill by Rocio Gutierrez to set up match point at 24-22. Utah State would get a kill by Shantell Durrant to cut the Aggies' lead to 24-23 but the Aggies would close out the set on a kill by Kelsey Brennan winning 25-23.

The second set saw another tight battle early as the two teams would sit tied at 9-9. Utah State would take a 13-10 lead forcing a New Mexico State timeout. The Aggies would respond going on a 7-2 run to take a 17-15 lead forcing a Utah State timeout. After Utah State cut the lead to one at 17-16, the Aggies would scour four consecutive points to go up 21-17. The two teams would trade points to make the score 22-18 and the Aggies would score three straight points including kills by Kayleigh Giddens and Rocio Gutierrez to close out the set 25-18.

The two Aggie teams would again battle closely in the third set as the set would be tied 12-12 before back-to-back timeouts by the Aggies behind kills by Kayleigh Giddens and Kelsey Brennan would give them a 14-12 lead prompting a Utah State timeout. The Aggies would extend their lead to five points at 19-14 but Utah State would close to within two points at 20-18. The lead would remain at two points with the Aggies up 23-21 but New Mexico State would get a kill by Rocio Gutierrez and a triple block by Kelsey Brennan, Whitney Woods and Rocio Gutierrez on an attack by Katie Astle to close out the set 25-21 securing the 3-0 sweep.

The Aggie defense outdug Utah State 40-25 and outblocked the UtAgs 7.5 to 5.0. Rocio Gutierrez recorded 10 digs to go along with her 12 kills for her second double-double this season. Kelsi Phillips also added 10 digs for the Aggies and she also added a pair of service aces.

Katie Astle finished with seven kills on 11 swings with two attack errors for Utah State hitting .455. Shay Sorensen and Liz McArthur each finished with 10 kills to lead the UtAgs. Sorensen finished the match hitting .286 while McArthur hit just .146.

New Mexico State is back in action next Sunday night as they travel to Honolulu to take on No. 4 Hawai'i.