Aggie Volleyball Downs Seattle In Four Sets

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State volleyball team made up for an earlier loss this season to Seattle U by defeating the Redhawks on Thursday night in four sets, 25-16, 19-25, 25-19, 25-20, inside the Pan American Center.

The Aggies (13-9) now find themselves alone in second place in the Western Athletic Conference with a 7-3 record after Bakersfield lost to conference-leading Missouri-Kansas City on Thursday. Seattle (9-13), which entered only a half a game behind NM State in the WAC standings, falls to 5-4 in conference play.

In a matchup of the top-two blocking teams in the WAC, the Aggies outblocked the top blocking team in the conference 9-8, led by redshirt freshman middle blocker Sasha-Lee Thomas who finished with seven total blocks.

NM State also outhit the Redhawks .256 to .124 and had 57 kills to Seattle’s 40.

Freshman Jordan Abalos led the Aggies with a career-high 14 kills while juniors Bradley Nash and Nathalie Castellanos were right behind with 12 and 10 kills respectively. Castellanos also added a team-high .381 hitting percentage.

Redshirt senior Shelbi Goode, playing in her final week inside the Pan American Center as an Aggie, finished with a career-high eight kills. Thomas also added eight kills.

Setters Taylor Livoti and Ashlyn Brown once again shared the wealth in the assist category. Livoti finished 26 helpers while Brown added 25. Andrea Tauai, who was stepping in for injured Hannah Walker in the libero position, finished with a match-high 22 digs.

"We served it better tonight and defended better," Aggie head coach Mike Jordan said. "Great effort from Andi Tauai playing libero for the first time. Overall we had a better competitiveness about us."

NM State used a nine-point rally early in the first set to take a 13-4 lead. Seattle would cut the lead to as little as six, but could get no closer as the Aggies pulled away to win set number one 25-16. Nash and Castellanos each had four kills in the set and NM State outhit the Redhawks .333 to .129.

After the Aggies marked the first point of the second set, Seattle used a 7-1 rally to take a 7-2 lead. NM State would regain the lead after three-straight points gave it a 13-12 advantage midway through the set.

But the Redhawks would again go on a run, this time a 6-1 run, to take control of the set. The Aggies would come to within two at 19-21, but Seattle marked the final four points of the set to tie the match at a set apiece.

Set number three saw nine ties early. Leading 12-11, however, NM State scored six-straight points to break the set wide open. The Aggies would maintain their lead and win set three 25-19.

Perhaps the closest set was the final set. The fourth set also saw nine ties early and a total of 15 ties. Trailing 10-13, NM State went on a three-point rally to tie the set. Seattle would regain the lead at 18-17, but four-straight by the Aggies gave the home team a 21-18 lead that they would not relinquish as NM State took the fourth set and the match.

The Aggies now look forward to playing their final match of the season inside the Pan American Center. NM State concludes its home schedule with Senior Day on Saturday, Nov. 1. The Aggies will face Utah Valley at 1 p.m. (MDT) and celebrate seniors Walker and Goode. The match can be heard live in Las Cruces on KGRT AM 570.