SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The New Mexico State volleyball team suffered its first two defeats of the season on Saturday as the Aggies started the day by losing to Montana State in four sets, 25-19, 25-20, 18-25, 25-18, and finished play at the Utah Classic by losing to host Utah in straight sets, 25-17, 31-29, 27-25.
One bright spot for NM State on Saturday was the placement of junior middle blocker Gwen Murphy on the all-tournament team. Murphy finished with 24 kills, including a match-high 13 against Montana State, and 12 block-assists.
The Aggies’ first loss of the season came at the hands of the Montana State Bobcats. NM State lost the first two sets of the match, and of the season, before winning set three 25-18. The Bobcats would win set four, however, by the same margin.
NM State only hit .140 for the match. The Aggies could not get over a .115 hitting percentage in any of the three sets they lost, including a .000 hitting percentage during the final set.
Murphy’s 13 kills and .435 hitting percentage led NM State. Freshman outside hitter Jordan Abalos had her first double-double as an Aggie after finishing with 12 kills and 16 digs while also adding a couple of ace services. Redshirt freshman Sasha-Lee Thomas also had double-figure kills, finishing with 11.
Junior setter Taylor Livoti had a team-high 28 assists while redshirt senior libero Hannah Walker led the squad with 22 digs.
The Aggies final match of the day came against host Utah. Although the Utes would win in straight sets, the match was heavily contested and could have gone either way as the final two sets both went into extra points.
After losing the first set 25-17, NM State was up 20-11 at one point in the second set and poised to tie the match at one set. In fact, the Aggies led 24-20 and were one point away from taking the set. But the Utes fought back to tie the set at 24 and would eventually win the set 31-29.
The final set was also tight as it included 10 ties throughout the set. This time it would be NM State that would fight back to stave elimination. With Utah leading 24-21 and one point away from putting away the match, the Aggies marked three-straight points to tie the third set at 24. Unlike the Utes, however, NM State could not finish the comeback as the host team won 27-25.
Aggie outside hitter Bradley Nash had her second double-double in as many days after posting a match-high 13 kills while adding 10 digs. Nash had 10 kills and 13 digs on Friday versus Missouri State.
Freshman setter Ashlyn Brown had a team-high 19 assists while Livoti was right behind with 17 helpers. For the second-consecutive match Walker led NM State in digs, this time with a match-high 13 digs.
The Aggies will now return home to host their home tournament beginning Thursday, Sept. 4, with a matchup versus North Dakota State beginning at 7 p.m. (MT) inside the Pan American Center.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM FOR UTAH CLASSIC
Loni Kreun, OH, Montana State
Gwen Murphy, MB, New Mexico State
Maddy Hogan, L, Missouri State
Andrea Beaty, MB, Missouri State
Chelsey Schofield-Olsen, OH, Utah
Shelby Dalton, RS, Utah
MVP – Bailey Bateman, MB, Utah