NMSU Volleyball Sweeps Tennessee State To Claim Auburn Tournament Title

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

AUBURN, AL - New Mexico State volleyball closed out the War Eagle Invitational with a match against Tennessee State at Auburn Arena on Saturday. The Aggies took down the Tigers 25-22, 25-20, 25-20, completing their third-straight sweep.

"Today was a bit of a test for us. Tennessee State really made us work," head coach Mike Jordan said. "People missed a few assignments but we held up defensively. Late in the match, our team really stepped up when we needed them."

HOW IT HAPPENED

NM State (3-0) battled back-and-forth with TSU (1-2) early in the opening set but a kill by Megan Hart allowed the Crimson and White to go ahead by three. However the advantage did not last and the Tigers clawed back, tying the game 12-12. Keeping pace with the opposition, a kill by Cat Kelly put NM State ahead 20-18 but Tennessee State cut the lead in half on the following play. The Tigers tied the set after a New Mexico State timeout but the Aggies then scored two-straight to take back the momentum. Holding set point, Ashley Anselmo nailed a cross-court kill to give New Mexico State the 25-22 victory.

In the second set, both teams went back and forth but a four-point run by NM State gave the Crimson and White the 17-14 advantage. TSU countered with a rally and a service ace for the Tigers tied the set 20-20. However, New Mexico State ended the second set on a 5-0 scoring run that included a block by Julianna Salanoa and Lia Mosher to seal the victory.

The Crimson and White took an early 11-7 lead following a kill by Kelly. Tennessee State looked to stymie the NM State offense when the Tigers called a timeout with the Aggies ahead 13-8, but Kelly came up with a kill out of the break to keep the momentum in New Mexico State's favor. NM State pulled away, taking a 23-15 lead late in the set but TSU rallied by scoring four straight. A kill by Katie Birtcil broke up the run and gave New Mexico State match point before Salanoa put the game away with a kill down the line.

BY THE NUMBERS

NM State posted 42 kills with a .183 hitting percentage. As a team, the Aggies recorded 43 digs, 37 assists and 10 blocks. Kelly tallied a team-best 11 kills and four service aces. Natalie Mikels came away with 19 assists and Halle Razo posted 12 digs.

Following the tournament, three New Mexico State players were selected to the all-tournament team. Salanoa and Mikels earned the all-tournament distinction while Megan Hart took home the Most Valuable Player award.

The Aggies return to the Pan American Center for the Borderland Invitational from Sept. 6-8. The Aggies host Pacific, New Mexico and UTEP as a part of the tournament.