NMSU Volleyball Downs CSU Bakersfield In Four Sets

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

BAKERSFIELD, CA - The New Mexico State volleyball team outlasted a pesky CSU Bakersfield squad behind a strong defensive performance for its 14th-straight win, 30-28, 21-25, 27-25, 25-17 on Thursday night at the Icardo Center. The win means the Aggies (22-3, 13-0 WAC) can clinch the Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship with a win at Grand Canyon on Saturday.
"The block came up big at the end, we finally started getting our hands in good spots," said head coach Mike Jordan. "I thought we dug the ball really well in stretches which probably saved us because we weren't very good offensively or passing it. Defensively we were really good in stretches and I think that was the deciding factor."

After Bakersfield (8-16, 3-10) scored the match's first point, back-to-back kills from Ashley Anselmo started an NM State run that gave it a 5-2 lead. The Aggies continued to play well, stretching their lead to 10-4 before the Roadrunners began to battle back, eventually trimming the deficit 20-18. Then, CSU Bakersfield stormed out ahead, 24-23, before Anselmo saved set-point with a kill. The teams continued to trade points until Cat Kelly hit a kill followed by an attack error from the roadrunners to give NM State set one, 30-28.

The Aggies started the second set strong, leading 15-12 and later, 20-17 after a kill from Kelly. However, the Roadrunners closed the set on an 8-1 run to win it 25-21. CSU Bakersfield carried the momentum into the third set, starting with an early 4-0 lead.

NM State battled back, however, and took a 7-6 lead after an ace from setter Krysten Garrison. After CSU Bakersfield re-took the lead, Savannah Davison hit kills around a Roadrunner attack error for a 15-13 lead at the media timeout. As the set progressed, neither side backed down and they found themselves tied at 24. Then Julianna Salanoa crushed a kill followed by an attack error on the Roadrunners for a 27-25 set two victory for the Aggies.

NM State was firmly in control to start the fourth set with Davison, Salanoa, Megan Hart and Lia Mosher all contributing kills as the Aggies built a 10-5 lead. Salanoa then hit back-to-back kills as part of an NM State run that gave it a 15-9 lead at the media timeout. Then, the Aggie block came alive with Mosher teaming up with Hart directly out of the media timeout for a block before her and Davison recorded another block. Then, with NM State leading 22-17, Salanoa and Ashley Anselmo joined up for back-to-back blocks to bring up set point. Salanoa then put the finishing touches on the match with her 13th kill.

Davison led the way for NM State with 15 kills on .275 hitting with Salanoa adding 13 kills on .545 hitting to go with six blocks. The 13 kills were a season-high for Salanoa. Hart and Mosher also solid defensive nights, finishing with seven and five blocks respectively while Analyssa Acosta led the team with 19 digs. Natalie Mikels added 22 assists with 20 from Garrison.

As a team, NM State out-hit CSU Bakersfield .280 to .148 and posted 14 blocks to the Roadrunners' six. The Aggies finished with 55 kills with CSU Bakersfield registering 43.

New Mexico State volleyball is back in action when it travels to Phoenix for a chance to clinch the WAC regular-season championship against Grand Canyon on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. Fans can stream Saturday's match on the WAC Digital Network