NMSU Volleyball Survives Five Set Match With Utah Valley

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - In what looked to be a replay of Thursday’s match, New Mexico State (11-4, 2-0 WAC) outlasted Utah Valley (4-11, 0-2 WAC) 18-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-15, 16-14 on Saturday. The Aggies are now 3-1 in five set matches this season, with the only loss coming to UC Santa Barbara in the opening weekend.

“You have to give credit to Utah Valley, they are a great blocking team and came out did some good things in the first half,” said head coach Mike Jordan. “I felt like they were definitely more prepared to play than we were. It was tough match back and forth. There were a lot of errors on both sides, and it was not pretty volleyball. However, we are finding ways to win. Other than being a little tougher and more competitive, I don’t know if I can ask for much more from our team. We are really happy to be 2-0 in the Western Athletic Conference.”

Two Aggies finished the match with double-doubles. Reining WAC Player of the Week, Jordan Abalos paced NM State with a career-high tying 22 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore Tatyana Battle racked up 16 kills and a new career-high 16 digs. WAC Preseason Player of the Year Sasha-Lee Thomas also contributed with 11 kills and three total blocks. Redshirt Freshman Megan Hart and Freshman Lexi May put together three blocks apiece as well.

NM State started slow as Utah Valley opened the match on a 4-0 run. The Wolverines pushed their lead to 7-4, but the Aggies fought back and tied the match at 10-10 and 12-12. However, 13 Aggie errors doomed the reigning conference champs as UVU claimed the first set 25-18.

NM State finally got it together in the second set as they started on a 5-1 run. The Aggies looked to run away with the frame as they pushed their lead to its largest at 16-10 and 18-12. UVU tried to make a game of it, but fell short as NM State took the set 25-23.

The Aggies looked to have their issues solved after break as they took a 3-1 early in the third set. However, errors plagued them again as the Wolverines took over and ran the lead up to 9-6 and then 14-10. NM State couldn’t quite recover from their mistakes as UVU took the set 25-23.

Finally, in the fourth set the Aggies got the kinks worked out as they opened with a 9-3 lead. They would increase the lead to 14-5 and then 19-9. NM State forced a deciding fifth set with a 25-15 decision.

Both teams fought hard to claim the fifth set, which featured 5 ties. UVU took an early 4-3 lead, and would increase it to 7-3. The Aggies would not be denied at they would close the gap 10-9, and eventually tie it at 13-13. After two match points, NM State emerged the victor with a 16-14 decision in the final frame.

NM State will be back in action Thursday, Sept. 29 as they take their first WAC road trip of the season to CSU Bakersfield.