Aggies Fall In Four Sets To No. 16 Arizona

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

TUCSON, AZ - The New Mexico State Aggies fought another nationally-ranked opponent tooth-and-nail, but the No. 16 Arizona Wildcats held on to take a 3-1 win to open the Wildcat Classic Friday morning at the McHale Center.

NM State (8-4) fell 15-25, 26-24, 19-25, 23-25 to the home-standing Wildcats (9-1).

“Arizona’s got a great team,” said NM State Head Coach Mike Jordan. “But neither team played very well in the match. There were a lot of attack errors (48). It was really hard to watch at times.”

NM State hit .191 for the match, while Arizona hit .201. Both teams collected double-digit blocks, with the Wildcats posting 13.0 team blocks to the Aggies 11.0.

Senior Gwen Murphy of Elfrieda, Ariz./Valley Union once again set the pace for the Aggies. She collected 16 kills with five blocks. Senior Nathalie Castellanos posted 12 kills as the pair both hit .333 to lead the team.

“Gwen is one of the most physical players in the country, a real All-American grinder,” said Jordan. “We need to get everyone competing as hard as she does.”

Arizona’s Kalei Mau led the Cats with 20 kills in the match.

The Aggies got off to a slow start, falling 25-15 in the first set, before coming from behind to even the match at 1-1 with a 26-24 win in set two.

After intermission, the Aggies slipped in the third set. NM State posted nine errors in the set and allowed the Wildcats to grab the 25-19 win and a 2-1 advantage.

Paced by Murphy, the Aggies fought through the fourth set and held a two-point lead at 21-19, but saw the Wildcats collect three straight points to snatch the set and the match.

“We out hit Arizona in the second and fourth sets, but then we got aced and made the errors to let the match get away,” said Jordan. “We can’t allow nine aces in a match.”

The Aggies are back at it in the Wildcat Classic on Friday night when they take on Savannah State at 6 p.m. Mountain. They’ll conclude the tournament on Saturday morning by taking on No. 2 Texas at 11 a.m. Mountain.