Aggie Volleyball Falls In Five Sets At Grand Canyon

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

PHOENIX, AZ - The New Mexico State volleyball team put itself in a 2-0 hole on Saturday afternoon but rallied to tie the match at two sets apiece versus Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, the Aggies could not finish off the comeback and lost to the ‘Lopes in five sets, 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 15-11.

NM State, which was trying to win its first match of the season after losing the first set, moves to 12-9 overall and 6-3 in Western Athletic Conference play. Grand Canyon picks up its first-ever win versus the Aggies (1-6) to move to 14-9 and 4-6 in the WAC.

Just as the score, the stat sheet shows how evenly the match was played. Both teams finished with 63 kills, the Aggies won the dig battle 99-97 and the assist battle 61-57 while the ‘Lopes outhit NM State .176 to .157.

The Aggies did have plenty of season highs in the match, led by setter Taylor Livoti and outside hitter Andrea Tauai, each of whom picked up a double-double.

Livoti had a season-high 17 digs to go along with a team-high 29 assists for her team-leading fifth double-double of the season while Tauai led NM State with 15 kills and also added 13 digs to pick up her third double-dipper of the season.

Freshman Jordan Abalos almost joined the double-double party as she tied a personal season high with 12 kills and added nine digs, falling one dig short of her fourth double-double of the season.

Middle blocker Sasha-Lee Thomas added 11 kills and hit at a match-high .409 percentage. As Livoti, freshman setter Ashlyn Brown also finished with over 20 assists. She tied a career-high with 24 assists.

Freshman libero Ariadnne Sierra, who was stepping in for an injured Hannah Walker for the second-straight match, finished with a career-high 25 digs to lead the Aggies. Junior Bradley Nash had 18 digs, a season high for the preseason All-WAC player.

The Aggies used separate four-point and three-point rallies to take an early 11-8 lead in the first set, but for the second-straight match NM State allowed nine-straight points in a set. After the Grand Canyon run the Aggies trailed 17-11.

NM State would get to within two at 21-19 after three-consecutive points, but the ‘Lopes won four of the final six points to take set one 25-22.

Unlike the first set, the Aggies trailed throughout the second set. Grand Canyon had two separate four-point runs to take an early 10-5 lead.

Another run, this time five-straight points, opened the ‘Lopes’ lead to 19-10. NM State tried to get back into the set, going on a 9-2 run to climb to withing 23-21 late, but Grand Canyon held on to a 25-23 win to put the Aggies down 2-0.

One set away from elimination, NM State would win the next two sets to tie the match at two sets apiece. There were, however, some tense moments for the Aggies in the third set.

NM State fell down early in set number three 7-4. Trailing 13-11, the Aggies ran off five-straight points to take their first lead since early in the set at 16-13.

But the ‘Lopes went on a five-point rally of their own to retake the lead 18-16. NM State struck right back with a four-consecutive points to gain a 20-18 advantage. From there the set would be tied at 20, 21 and 22. The Aggies, however, won three of the final four points to stave off elimination and win set three 25-23.

The fourth set was also tight throughout as the set saw a total of 14 ties. With the set tied at 16-16, NM State marked three-straight points, then Grand Canyon did the same and after that the Aggies did it once again to take a 22-19 lead.

As in the third set, NM State would dig in late and win three of the final four points of the set to tie the match at two sets and force a fifth and deciding set. The Aggies were one set win away from coming back from 2-0 to win the match.

NM State and Grand Canyon fought point for point during the final set. Neither team could open up a lead of more than two points. Trailing 7-9, the Aggies marked three-straight points to take a 10-9 lead, but it was not to be for the visiting team as the ‘Lopes answered with a 4-0 run that deflated the Aggie balloon. Grand Canyon scored the final two points of the match to win the deciding set 15-11.

NM State now comes home for its final two home matches of the season. The Aggies will face Seattle on Thursday, Oct. 30, in the Pan American Center beginning at 7 p.m. (MDT). The match will be aired live on AggieVision.

The Aggies then finish off the home schedule with Senior Day on Saturday, Nov. 1. NM State will face Utah Valley beginning at 1 p.m. in a match that will be aired live over the radio on KGRT AM 570.