BERKELEY, Calif. – The New Mexico State volleyball team wrapped up its opening weekend with a five-set loss to UC Santa Barbara in Haas Pavilion, Saturday, Aug. 31. The Aggies are now 1-2 on the year and head to Honolulu next week to for a tournament featuring Hawai’i, UCLA and Santa Clara.
The Aggies won set one 25-22, but fell in set two 25-20 and in set three 25-19. NM State returned from intermission to win set four in dominant fashion, 25-17 while outhitting the Gauchos .314-.095 in the set. The Aggies seemed to have control in set five taking an 8-6 lead but fell apart in the final points of play, losing 15-13.
“We missed two crucial serves late in set five and we must have the veterans step up for us,” head coach Mike Jordan said. “Our team played hard in spurts but we seem to get soft when play gets to a crucial point. Our serve-and-pass game must improve.”
Senior Desiree Scott led the Aggies marking 15 kills on a .440 hitting percentage while adding four solo blocks and three block assists. Senior outside hitter Lauren Loerch, who was named to the all-tournament team, added eight kills to go along with eight digs and five total blocks. Loerch was one of three Aggies with eight kills as redshirt sophomore Bradley Nash and freshman Aleisha Coates also added eight kills.
The Aggies seemed to take and hold momentum in the fifth and final set of the match as they took an early 7-2 lead. Loerch powered down a kill to give the Aggies an 8-6 lead midway through the set and NM State scored another two points off attack errors by the Gauchos. The Aggies made a few errors themselves and allowed UCSB back into the set. The Aggies called timeout after UCSB tied the set at 11 but an attack error, a service error and a couple of defensive miscues allowed the Gauchos to pick up the 15-13 win.
Log on to the Internet at www.NMStateSports.com to keep up with Aggies as they travel to Honolulu next week.