LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State volleyball team took the Utah Utes to five sets but lost 25-13, 10-25, 25-20, 23-25, 4-15 at the Pan American Center, Thursday, Sept. 19. The Aggies 3-7 on the year and Utah, out of the PAC-12, is now 11-1.
Although the Aggies hit .397 on the night, Utah hit .449 while NM State was out-blocked 13.5-6.0. The Aggies tallied 53 kills but also struggled with serve-receive as Utah marked eight service aces. Senior Lauren Loerch paced the Aggies with 14 kills and six digs while sophomore Bradley Nash tallied a double-double with 10 kills and 16 digs to go along with a solo block and a block-assist.
The Aggies got off to a great start winning set one 25-13 with hitting .556 with 18 kills and only three errors. Senior Desiree Scott posted five kills on five attempts while Loerch also tallied five kills of her own. NM State took a 2-0 lead and never lost the lead or even allowed a tie to take the set.
The tables were turned in set two with the Aggies being held to a .000 hitting percentage while being blocked four times. The Utes marked 13 kills and hit .407 as they won 25-10.
NM State bounced back after the intermission and marked 12 kills, a .300 hitting percentage and to blocks as Utah struggled with a .179 hitting percentage and eight attack errors. The two ties of the set came early on as the Aggies pulled away at 13-8 before eventually winning by five at 25-20.
Set for was close but the Aggies were not ever able to take the lead. NM State was out-hit .256-.225 and the Utes had more kills (15-14). After falling behind by five at 22-17, the Aggies fought back to pull within one at 23-22 and 24-23 but a Utah attacker found a hole to get the final kill and allow the Utes to win 25-23.
The Aggies could not find any momentum in set five as they posted a negative hitting percentage while falling 15-4.
NM State takes on Hampton, Friday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. (MT) in the Pan American Center as a part of a tournament co-hosted with UTEP.