NMSU Volleyball Survives Five Set Road Test At Utah Valley

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

OREM, UT - Sophomore Tatyana Battle had arguably the best match of her career on Thursday, as she led New Mexico State (18-5, 8-0 WAC) to a 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 26-28, 15-7 victory over Utah Valley (9-12, 5-3 WAC). With the win, the Aggies extend their conference win streak to 22 matches.

“I like the persistence of our team,” said head coach Mike Jordan. “We bounced back from our worst serving match with our best serving match of the year, and that was key. When our outside hitters start making good attack choices more often, stop hitting low into blocks and our block starts jumping bigger and stuffing balls to the floor, we are just those things away from being a great team. I’m proud of our effort, especially with three freshmen on the floor at times. I’m proud of the effort and happy we came out with the win.”

A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Battle paced the Aggies with a career high 26 kills, four aces and 13 digs. Junior Jordan Abalos also made history as she became the first Aggie since NM State Hall of Famer Stevi Adams in 2004 to post 20 kills and 20 digs in a match, with a new career high in digs.

The Aggies looked prepared with a 3-1 start in the opening set. They held the advantage for most of the set with leads of 7-4 and 12-9. However, Utah Valley kept it close and eventually took over at 14-13. The Wolverines never looked back and eventually took the frame 25-22.

In the second set, the Aggies seemed to have figured out their problems and took a 5-3 lead early and didn’t let up for the majority of the frame. At its height, the NM State lead was 18-13. Unfortunately, UVU clawed their way back thanks to four errors by the Aggies, and took a 19-18 lead. NM State regained the lead to stay at 22-21, and took the set 25-22.

The Aggies squandered what momentum that had going into break as they went down 7-2 to UVU early in the third set thanks to four attack errors. Luckily, five Wolverine errors pulled NM State within one point at 8-7. The Aggies were able to take the lead at 10-9, and were able to pull out to a 15-11 lead at one point. But once again, errors allowed UVU to come back and take a brief 17-16 lead. NM State took over to stay at 18-17 and claimed their second-straight set with a 25-21 decision.

The fourth set was tight throughout, but was especially close in the early goings. The Wolverines were first to break away with an 11-10 lead and pushed that advantage to 15-11. NM State rallied to tie and take the lead at 20-20 and 21-20, but that was short lived as both teams battled to claim the set. With five straight ties from 22-22 on, neither seemed willing to cede the set. Eventually, UVU gained the advantage and forced a fifth and final set with a 28-26 decision.

The fifth set was closely contested early with four ties. The Aggies took over at 5-4, and proceed to go on a 10-3 run to close out the match and seal the victory 15-7. NM State is now 5-1 in five set matches this season.

The Aggies are back in action on Saturday as they travel to Seattle to face off against WAC foe Seattle U at 2 p.m. MT.