LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State University volleyball team won its second match in as many days by defeating South Dakota State University in straight sets, 25-18, 25-18, 25-9, Saturday afternoon inside the Pan American Center to conclude the NM State/UTEP Tournament. The Aggies now move to 5-7 on the season.
The Aggies were led by senior middle hitter Desiree Scott who finished as the only Aggie with double-figure kills. Scott marked 10 kills including some thunderous strikes during the final set to finish off the Jackrabbits. Senior Lauren Loerch and freshman Aleisha Coates each finished the match with eight kills.
Sophomore setter Taylor Livoti finished with a team-high 19 assists while senior Ciara Brown was right behind with 17 assists. Brown missed marking her first double-double of the season by one dig, finishing with nine. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Bradley Nash led NM State with 13 digs.
The Aggies were led in set one by Scott and Loerch, each tallied four kills in the set. NM State outhit the Jackrabbits .394 to .259. The Aggies started the set off strong, scoring the first three points of the set. They maintained their three-point lead at 9-6, before proceeding to win seven of the next eight points, culminating in a couple of kills by Loerch. With a 16-7 lead, NM State fought off a late five-point rally by SDSU and finished off the set with the final two points to win 25-18.
NM State once again jumped out to an early lead in set two by marking the first three points of the set. With the Aggies up 8-4, the Jackrabbits went on a 5-0 run, however, to take a 9-8 lead. NM State struck right back and with the set tied at 12 the Aggies won seven of the next nine points to take a 19-14 advantage. The run culminated with two service aces by Livoti. NM State would maintain its lead and finish off the set the same as the first, 25-18. Coates led the Aggies in set two with four kills. Although the Aggies only hit at a .156 percentage during the set, they held SDSU to a -.094 kill percentage.
After winning the first two sets, NM State finished off the Jackrabbits with a dominating third-set performance. Down 2-1 early, and with Scott serving, the Aggies proceeded to mark the next eight points to take a 9-2 lead. The rally was highlighted by three consecutive service aces by Scott. A nine-point rally later in the set gave NM State a commanding 21-5 lead that put the match away. Nash put the Jackrabbits away with her fifth kill of the match, ending the set at 25-9.
The Aggies continue their home stand by hosting their in-state rivals New Mexico Lobos on Monday night, Sept. 23. Game time is set for 7 p.m. inside the Pan Am Center. The game will be broadcast live over the Aggievision airwaves.