Aggie Volleyball Drops Five Set Match Against UMKC

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State volleyball team jumped ahead early against Western Athletic Conference leader Missouri-Kansas City but could not hold a two-set lead, eventually losing to the ‘Roos in a five-set thriller, 17-25, 20-25, 25-17, 25-23, 15-13, on Thursday night inside the Pan American Center.

The Aggies, who lost their first WAC match at home in 12 matches, a streak that dates back to 2012, fall to 4-2 in WAC play and 10-7 overall while UMKC remains perfect at 5-0 in the WAC and improve to 17-3 overall with its 13th-consecutive win of the season.

Junior Bradley Nash led the NM State attack with a match-high 15 kills and a .375 hitting percentage. Fellow juniors Gwen Murphy and Nathalie Castellanos also had double-digit kills as each finished with 10 kills.

Taylor Livoti and Ashlyn Brown shared the setting duties. Livoti finished with a match-high 29 helpers while Brown was not far behind with 24. Libero Hannah Walker once again led the squad in digs, finishing with 16, while outside hitter Andrea Tauai added 12 digs.

Perhaps the most telling stat in this matchup between the top hitting team in the conference (UMKC) and the top defensive team in the conference (NM State) is the ‘Roos hitting percentage. During the first two sets, which the Aggies won, the ‘Roos finished with a .062 and .080 hitting percentage. In the final three sets, which NM State lost, UMKC hit .258, .368 and .231.

The Aggies seemed to have things in control after winning the first two sets of the match. Especially after considering that NM State was 10-0 after winning the first set this season. That trend, unfortunately, would not hold true on Thursday.

The ‘Roos showed why they are atop the WAC standings, winning the third and fourth sets. UMKC controlled the third frame from start to finish, but the Aggies had an opportunity to put the match away in the fourth.

Although NM State would trail throughout the fourth set, the home team came back and cut the ‘Roo lead to one at 21-20. The Aggies would also trail 21-22, 22-23 and 23-24, but just could not pull even with UMKC. The ‘Roos eventually would take the set, 25-23, and tie the match at two sets apiece.

UMKC seemed to take its momentum and pull away in the deciding set as an early five-point run gave the visiting team a 7-2 lead. But NM State showed its resiliency, marking five-consecutive points of its own to tie the final set at 7-7 midway through.

In a final set that saw back-and-forth rallies from each team, the ‘Roos marked three-straight to take a 10-7 lead. But a 4-0 Aggie run gave NM State its first lead of the fifth set at 11-10. After a UMKC timeout the ‘Roos marked two-straight points to retake the lead at 12-11.

From there the final portion of the final set saw ties at 12-12 and 13-13. Unfortunately for the home team, UMKC would mark the final two points of the match and steal away a win from the Aggies.

NM State will try and regroup and get back on the winning track versus Chicago State, which is winless in the WAC. The two teams will face off on Saturday, Oct. 18, inside the Pan American Center. The match was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. (MDT) start, but was moved to a noon start. KGRT AM 570 will carry the match live over the Las Cruces radio airwaves with Adam Young on the call.