NMSU Volleyball Drops Five Set Match To UTRGV

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State volleyball team hosted UT Rio Grande Valley at a packed Pan American Center on Saturday afternoon. The Aggies fell to the Vaqueros 24-26, 25-13, 22-25, 25-23, 13-15 in front of 2,495 fans for their first loss at home since the 2017 season.

How it Happened

NM State (17-6, 7-3 WAC) battled UTRGV (17-8, 8-3 WAC) in a close opening set until the Aggies pulled away when a kill by Megan Hart began a point run that resulting in the squad holding a 15-11 advantage at the media timeout. New Mexico State continued to cruise and following a kill by Savannah Davison and the Vaqueros hoped to slow NM State's rhythm with a timeout. After the break in the action, the Crimson and White expanded its advantage l 21-13, but UTRGV did not go away quietly, scoring seven-straight while the New Mexico State held set point to close out the first set 26-24.

In the second set, the Aggies took an early 10-5 lead following a kill by Hart on an assist from Natalie Mikels. A kill by Tatyana Battle out of the back row put NM State ahead by seven and a kill by Cat Kelly expanded the 17-8 advantage. New Mexico State continued to overpower the Vaqueros late into the set and a kill by Battle sealed the 25-13 victory.

The Aggies fell behind early in the third set, trailing UT Rio Grande Valley 11-6 before a kill by Kelly snapped the opposition's rally. NM State crawled its way back and a block by Ashley Anselmo and Julianna Salanoa brought the team within a pair. The Vaqueros extended their lead to 20-12 late in the set but a scoring run with Battle behind the service line put NM State within three. A block by Kelly and Salanoa inched the Aggies closer, trailing 21-20, but New Mexico State was unable to claim the lead and fell 25-22 in the third set.

NM State took an early 13-7 lead following an ace by Davison but the Vaqueros charged back, leaving the Aggies ahead by just a point. New Mexico State found its rhythm and a service error by the opposition gave NM State the 18-15 advantage. Back-and-forth each team battled until a run by UTRGV late in the set cut NM State's lead to one. A kill by Salanoa snapped the run and an attack error by the opposition brought on set point for New Mexico State. Battle came through with a kill from an assist by Briana Ainsworth, giving NM State the 25-23 victory in the fourth set.

A kill by Hart put NM State ahead 4-1 to start the fifth set but the Vaqueros tied the set 5-5 with a rally of their own. The teams went point-for-point but when it came time to change sides of the court, UTRGV held the 8-7 lead. The Aggies went back-and-forth with the Vaqueros and a kill by Kelly off an assist from Mikels tied the set 13-13. However, UT Rio Grande Valley closed out the match by scoring the final two points, handing NM State the 15-13 loss in the final set.

By The Numbers

The Aggies posted 68 kills on hitting .210 in the loss while holding UTRGV to 48 kills and a .163 hitting clip. NM State also tallied 72 digs, 65 assists and 12 blocks. Kelly led the squad with a career-high 18 kills. Battle had a 15 kills with 10 digs for her 14th double-double of the season. Ainsworth and Mikels also tallied double-doubles with Ainsworth recording 28 assists and 13 digs and Mikels having 27 assists and 13 digs. Halle Razo led all players in the match with 15 digs.

New Mexico State hits the road for a pair of conference matches. NM State first heads to Seattle to face off against Seattle U on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. MT. The Aggies then travel for a match at Utah Valley. First serve from Orem, Utah is scheduled for 1 p.m.