NM State Volleyball Brings Home WAC Tournament Championship

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

KANSAS CITY, MO – NM State rolled to a 3-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield to claim the Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship on Saturday.

“I thought we were tentative for long stretches of the first couple of sets, but we managed to make plays late and that’s the sign of a veteran team,” said head coach Mike Jordan. “I just really proud of the effort they gave. I think everyone had a big hand in what was going out there, including the people that didn’t play. Our practices have been good, we are a competitive group with each other, and that helps us get better. Especially proud of the seniors, Nathalie for gutting it out with a bad back, until she took that hard fall. Kassandra Tohm came in and got a couple kills. It was good team win. Our fans that traveled to Kansas City provided a great atmosphere tonight as well.”

The Aggies were able to put the ‘Runners away in a 25-22, 25-23, 25-16 decision.
Senior Andrea Tauai and All-America candidate Gwen Murphy were named to the All-Tournament team.

Murphy, the tournament MVP, led NM State in the match. The Elfrida, Ariz./Valley Union HS native racked up 12 kills, a .435 hitting percentage and three blocks.

All-WAC selection Kelsee Sawyer paced Bakersfield with 11 kills and a block.

The Aggies started the opening set slow with a 1-4 deficit, and didn’t take their first lead until 12-11. But once they got the lead, NM State never let go and took the set 25-22.

The second set was the most hotly contested frame of the night, with 16 ties and five lead changes. Both teams were matching each other point for point for most of the set. Neither team was able to go on sustained runs or open up a sizable lead, never getting further than two points away. The Aggies finally went up to stay at 23-22, and took the set 25-23.

It was in the second set where senior Nathalie Castellanos took a nasty spill coming down from a block and was helped off the floor. She did not play the rest of the match.
After the break, NM State came out on fire, opening up on a 5-3 run. At the height of their lead, the Aggies held an eight-point advantage at 18-10. They eventually clinched the set and the championship 25-16.

By winning the WAC Championship, the Aggies clinched an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. NM State will find out their first round opponent on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m during the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show on ESPNU.