NMSU Volleyball Splits A Pair Of Matches At Golden Dome Invitational

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

SOUTH BEND, IN - New Mexico State volleyball picked up another win at the Golden Dome Invitational on Saturday when they defeated Valparaiso 21-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-20. A trio of Aggies posted double-doubles including Jordan Abalos who had a team-high 20 kills.

"We started pretty slow from the service line. Defensively, we were poor early on and we lost a lot of points because of it," head coach Mike Jordan said. "I think Kaylee Neal gave us a great lift. Valpo is a team that gave Notre Dame a push last night and they gave us a push today. They are good defensively. It challenged us and I think it was good for our team to be challenged like that."

How It Happened

The Aggies (2-0) got off to a slow start in the first set when they fell behind 8-2. With Jordan Abalos serving, NM State went on a three-point scoring run to cut the Crusaders (0-2) lead to one. From there, the match went back-and-forth until Valpo went on a four-point run late in the set. New Mexico State was unable to overcome the deficit and lost a set for the first time this season.

In the second set, both teams battled for each point until the Aggies pulled away by taking a 15-9 lead, causing Valparaiso to take a timeout. The Crusaders came back, cutting New Mexico State's lead to two points, but a kill by Sasha-Lee Thomas snapped Valpo's scoring run. NM State took back control and went on a four-point scoring run before closing out the set.

Valparaiso took an early 8-5 lead with a three-point scoring run, pulling ahead of New Mexico State in the third set. After a kill by Kassandra Tohm earned NM State the serve, the Aggies went on a scoring run of their own and took a 10-9 lead. The teams exchanged points but New Mexico State took a 21-16 lead with Kaylee Neal behind the service line. The Aggies held onto the lead and won 25-21.

New Mexico State came out hot early in the fourth set pulling ahead 6-1. Valpo surged back, bringing the Crusaders within one. However, the Aggies were able to get their momentum back and forged ahead 15-11, forcing Valparaiso to take their final timeout of the set. NM State continued to dominate and closed out the match, winning 25-20.

By The Numbers

New Mexico State posted 63 kills and 92 digs while Valparaiso had 49 and 79, respectively. Three Aggies recorded double-doubles in the game. Abalos tallied 20 kills and 13 digs. Briana Ainsworth had a team-high 29 assists and 15 digs while Natalie Mikels posted 24 assists and 11 digs.

MATCH TWO

New Mexico State volleyball battled Notre Dame in the finale of the Golden Dome Invitational on Saturday. Despite taking the first set from the Fighting Irish, NM State (2-1) fell 25-20, 19-25, 23-25, 21-25.

"It was a good, winnable match for us. I think the home team has the ability to win that match a huge percentage of the time," head coach Mike Jordan said. "Notre Dame just served and blocked the ball well."

How It Happened

The Aggies battled back-and-forth with the Irish to start the match. With Jordan Abalos serving, NM State pulled ahead 12-9 but the Irish surged back, coming within one. New Mexico State forged ahead, maintaining a lead over ND (3-0) and with Kaylee Neal behind the service line, NM State took a 21-17 lead. From there, the Aggies powered by the Fighting Irish with a three-point run to close out the set.

In the second set, the Aggies kept the game close until Notre Dame pulled ahead 11-7. Sasha-Lee Thomas snapped the scoring run by the Irish with a kill from the right side. NM State chipped away at the lead until they were tied 14-14 with Notre Dame. The teams went point-for-point but ND pulled ahead late with a four-point scoring run to take a 19-16 lead. New Mexico State could not overcome the deficit and fell in the second set of the match, 25-19.

Notre Dame maintains its momentum and went on a five-point scoring run to start the third set. NM State came back with a four-point scoring run to cut ND's lead to two, but the Fighting Irish pulled ahead for a 16-10 lead. The Aggies pulled within one of the Irish, but the comeback fell short and resulted in the 25-23 loss.

New Mexico State worked for each point in the fourth set and NM State took an early 10-6 lead by scoring six-straight points. ND did not go away, following the Aggies run with a three-point run of its own to pull within one. NM State did not let up, went ahead 15-10 over the Irish, but another scoring run by Notre Dame put the Irish within one. The teams continued to battle but the Irish tied the game and pulled ahead for a 22-20 lead. The Fighting Irish proved to be too much late in the set and the Aggies were defeated for the first time this season.

Following the match Jordan Abalos and Kassandra Tohm were named to the all-tournament team. Abalos recorded a double-double in two of the three matches. She recorded 38 digs and 43 kills during the tournament. Tohm posted 40 kills and hit .240 over the weekend.

New Mexico State returns home to host North Dakota, UNLV and UCLA in the NM State Springhills Suites Invitational. The Aggies take on UND the start the tournament on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. (MT).