SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The New Mexico State volleyball team fell 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-19) to the Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, Friday, Dec. 6, in San Diego Calif. The Aggies end the season at 21-11 after losing their first match since Oct. 19.
NM State struggled offensively hitting .102, while Arizona hit .230 on the match. Redshirt sophomore Gwen Murphy led NM State with nine kills, and sophomore Taylor Livoti led with 17 assists on the day. Senior Ciara Brown added 14 assists and three Aggies earned service aces on the match.
“They were tough to handle offensively and we knew that,” head coach Mike Jordan said. “I love the way we dug the volleyball, but Arizona just did a good job of stopping us. We were aggressive and we had opportunities, but we got a little nervous I think.”
Arizona took a 3-0 lead early is set one before the Aggies got on the board with a kill by Murphy. NM State answered that with a five-point run, but the Wildcats came back quickly to get the lead. The Aggies trailed 12-8 midway through the set, as Arizona’s block proved difficult for NM State. Arizona continued to hold the set to claim a 25-14 win and out blocked the Aggies 6-1.
NM State opened set two with a block by senior duo Stephanie Ziegler and Desiree Scott. The Aggies held the early lead 7-4, and kept the momentum going with a 14-10 advantage off an ace by Ziegler and a kill by Bradley Nash. NM State led until Arizona took its first lead 22-21 and the teams traded points and battled to a Wildcat win 25-23. U of A took seven of the final nine points for the win, going up 2-0 on the Aggies.
In set three, Arizona took an 8-5 lead, but NM State earned kept the match close until the Wildcats took their six-point advantage 15-9 off five straight points. The Aggies took the next four of six points, but still trailed 17-13 as Arizona looked to halt NM State’s season. Ziegler smashed the ball over the net for a kill to bring the Aggies within five at 21-16. The Aggies got the next two points, but Arizona claimed the set 15-19 to advance to round two of the tournament and end the Aggies season.
“I am very proud of this team they gave an ‘A’ effort all season and I am very optimistic for the future,” Jordan said.
NM State closes out the 2013 season 22-11 after making the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.