LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State volleyball team increased its winning streak to six games after defeating the Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos in four sets (26-28, 25-18, 25-20, 25-15) on Thursday night inside the Pan American Center. The Aggies improve to 17-10 overall and a league-leading 12-2 in Western Athletic Conference play, including 6-0 at home. The ‘Roos fall to 13-12 overall and 7-6 in WAC play.
Leading NM State was redshirt sophomore outside hitter Bradley Nash who finished with 13 total kills and 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season. Also with double-figures digs,13, was redshirt senior Stephanie Ziegler who tallied her first double-double of the season, adding 10 kills to her dig total.
Senior Desiree Scott (12) and redshirt sophomore Gwen Murphy (11) also finished the night with double-digit kills. Senior setter Ciara Brown also joined the double-double parade, finishing with a match-high 31 assists and 13 digs. Sophomore setter Taylor Livoti added another 25 assists while sophomore libero Jordan Reifsteck led NM State with 15 total digs.
“They made some really good plays and mixed some things up on us a little bit in the first set,” head coach Mike Jordan said. “But I think when we have our backs to the wall we have some fighting spirit. I think we’re growing a little bit, we know who our leaders are late in the game.”
The Aggies went down early in the first set. An early six-point rally by the ‘Roos put NM State in a seven-point hole at 13-6. The Aggies marked the next five points, however, to cut the Kansas City lead to two. A second five-point rally later in the set gave NM State a 19-17 advantage. The Aggies seemed to have the set in hand after holding a 23-20 lead, but could not close out the set, eventually losing in extra points 26-28.
Ziegler led NM State with five kills in the first set. The Aggies had 18 total kills in the set but were hurt by also committing 14 attack errors to finish with a .093 hitting percentage.
During set two, NM State cut its attack errors in half and improved its hitting percentage to .273. The ‘Roos could not string more than two points together in the whole set as the Aggies took a commanding 15-5 lead midway through the set and never looked back, ending the set at 25-18. Nash and Murphy led NM State with four and three kills in the set respectively.
As in the first set, the Aggies went down early in the third. Separate four and five-point rallies by Kansas City gave the ‘Roos a 9-4 early lead. NM State did not panic, however, and went on a match-high eight-point rally to overtake the lead at 12-9. The Aggies increased their lead to 21-12, but again as in set one, Kansas City rallied, scoring seven of the next eight points to cut the NM State lead to 22-19. This time, however, the Aggies were able to close out the set with a big solo block by Murphy, 25-20. Nash once again had four kills in the set while Scott, who had two thunderous kills right down the middle, also had four.
With momentum on its side, NM State attacked early and often during set four. Two separate five-point rallies by the Aggies gave them a commanding 16-5 lead midway through the set. There would be no rally by the ‘Roos this time, as NM State put the set and match away with the set ending at 25-15.
The Aggies now prepare for a Saturday evening match against Chicago State on Nov. 9 starting at 7 p.m. inside the Pan American Center. A win by NM State on Saturday could possibly set up a matchup with Utah Valley on Thursday, Nov 21, for the WAC regular-season title.