Aggie Volleyball Sweeps Bakersfield, Clinches Share Of WAC Regular Season Title

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - In Thursday’s 3-0 win over CSU Bakersfield, NM State clinched a share of the WAC regular season title.

“I’m happy for the players,” head coach Mike Jordan said. “We want to win [the title] outright, and we do that on Saturday hopefully. I think these five senior have done a lot for us and I’m excited they’re going out with a title.”

The Aggies took care of business against the Roadrunners with the 25-21, 25-18, 25-19 decision, their 11th straight win in conference and 13th overall.

The senior trio of Bradley Nash, Andrea Tauai and All-America candidate Gwen Murphy set the pace for NM State. Nash, the Kayenta, Ariz./Monument Valley HS native, led all scorers with 10 kills. Tauai, a native of Tauranga, New Zealand/Tauranga HS, registered nine kills and 14 digs. Murphy, from Elfrida, Ariz./Valley Union HS, had nine kills and three blocks.

The duo of Senior Kelsee Sawyer and Carol Grasso led the ‘Runners, both with nine kills.

However, the story of the night was Gwen Murphy, who broke the school record for career matches played with 129.

“She is a great athlete, and has become a great player,” said Jordan. “We think she is an All-America caliber player. She’s been able, the last couple of years, to stay healthy, and I think our system has helped. We’re in a 6-2 and we don’t rely on her as much as some teams would, we’ve got some other pieces. I think she is the best player in this league, [Seattle U’s] Martina Samadan is right there with her. Gwen is a great player and an even better person.”

The first set of the match was the most tightly contested frame of the night with the Aggies not holding more than four-point lead for most of the set. However, NM State began to pull away late in the frame with a 24-19 lead, and went on to claim the set 25-21.

The Aggies used the momentum of the first set to propel themselves to an 11-3 lead early in the second set. The ‘Runners manage to fight back and cut the lead to 14-9, but were unable to mount a more sizeable comeback as NM State won the frame 25-18.

The Aggies came out of the break on fire, as they rolled up a 5-0 lead to start the third set, and pushed it to 11-3. Down 24-14 late in the final frame, Bakersfield managed to go on a five-point run and cut the lead to 24-19. However, NM State clinched the set and the match 25-19.

NM State is back in action on Saturday, as they look to clinch the regular season title outright against Grand Canyon on Senior Day. First serve is set for 1 p.m. at the Pan American Center.

“[Winning a] conference title is the first goal on our list of goals,” Jordan said. “We are one win away from doing that. Clinching on Senior Day and the last home match for these guys would be a great thing, and we are looking forward to it.”