NMSU Volleyball Survives Seattle Comeback Attempt, Opens WAC Play With 3-2 Win

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Once again, New Mexico State (10-4, 1-0 WAC) and Seattle U (7-7, 0-1 WAC) took five sets to determine a winner, with the Aggies coming out on top with a 25-16, 25-15, 23-25, 21-25, 15-13 decision, to start the Western Athletic Conference season.

"I liked our service pressure," said head coach Mike Jordan. "In the first couple of sets, we blocked well and got in their heads a little bit. They didn't look characteristic of themselves. I really expected this to be a close match. Then the 10-minute break happened, and it changes the momentum sometimes. We came out and got super high air. Their service pressure improved and started serving it tougher. They started taking better swings. It looked like the match had flipped. We went from looking the best we have this year, to looking like we did the first week of the season in the third and fourth sets. We started getting in our own heads, trying to hang on and hope they would make mistakes, instead of making plays. I tried to fire them up and I don't know if it worked or not, but we are happy to get a win."

Three Aggies finished the night with double digit kills. As has been the case recently, the reigning WAC Player of the Week, Jordan Abalos, paced the Aggies with 21 kills. Sophomore Tatyana Battle finished with 16 kills, two service aces and two blocks on the night. WAC Preseason Player of the Year, Sasha-Lee Thomas racked up 13 kills and a team-leading five blocks.

The match started out fairly close as both teams traded points up to 6-6 in the first set. The Aggies took the lead and control of the frame at 7-6, and proceeded to go on a 12-3 run pushing the lead to 18-9. Seattle U attempted a comeback, but the deficit was too large as NM State took the opening frame 25-16.

The second set looked to be more of the same, as the squads kept it close until the Aggies took the lead to stay at 8-7. From there, they pushed their lead to 17-12. NM State went on a 7-2 run to close out the set 25-15.

After the break, the Aggies looked to roll as they opened on a 4-0 run. However, the Redhawks clawed their way back and tied the match at 6-6. They went on to take their first lead of the match at 9-8. NM State would reclaim the lead at 12-11, and would go up 19-16. Seattle tied it again at 20-20, but the Aggie fought back and ran their lead to 23-20. The Redhawks would attempt another comeback, but this time it would prove successful as they claimed the third set 25-23.

The fourth set proved to be the most tightly contested set of the match, which featured 13 ties and six lead changes. Neither team could gain a significant advantage for most of the sete, until Seattle took a 21-20 lead late in the frame. They would win the frame and force a deciding fifth set with a 25-21 decision.

The Redhawks looked to have all of the momentum heading into the fifth and final set as they opened on a 3-1 run, and pushed their lead to 5-2. NM State fought back and tied the set at 6-6. From there the Aggies took over claiming the lead to stay at 11-10. Seattle made one final effort to come back, but NM State took the match and set with a 15-13 decision.

The Aggies are back in action on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. as they welcome Utah Valley to Pan American Center.