LOGAN, Utah - The New Mexico State volleyball team cruised to its seventh consecutive victory with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-21) win at Utah State inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum Saturday night.
After the win, the Aggies improve to 9-1 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and 15-9 overall; setting up a battle for the conference lead next week at league leader Hawai'i. Utah State falls to 3-5 in the conference and 15-6 on the season after the loss.
NM State hit .444 against Utah State recording 54 kills against 12 errors. On the other side of the net, Utah State posted 41 kills versus 14 miscues. The Aggies notched 40 digs while USU tallied 25.
"We were very good offensively tonight for sure," head coach Mike Jordan said. "Both teams hit a pretty good percentage; we just hit it a little bit better. (Gutierrez) bounced back tonight and showed some toughness with some really good swings at the ball tonight."
Junior Jennah DeVries tallied a match-high 47 assists while adding four kills and eight digs. Senior Kayleigh Giddens led the team in kills with 17. Freshman Rocio Gutierrez added 12 kills as did junior Kelsey Brennan. Junior libero Kelsi Phillips and Gutierrez led the defense with a match-high 10 digs each. As a result, Gutierrez recorded her second double-double of the year.
NM State did not lead until 15-14 in the first set but was able to hold off Utah State the rest of the way for the 25-23 win. The home team jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and held onto it until midway through the set. Neither team led by more than two points the rest of the way, but the Aggies won three of the final four points to win the set. NM State powered 20 kills through the USU blockers. Giddens led the Aggies with six kills in the set. NM State hit a scorching .432 while committing just four errors. Utah State tallied 15 kills and made only three miscues to hit .353.
Freshman Rocio Gutierrez led NM State offense in set two with six kills including four as part of the Aggies' first six points and capped off the set with a final kill for the 25-18 victory. NM State jumped out to a 5-2 lead behind Gutierrez. However, USU fought back to tie the set at 7-7. The northern Aggies led 13-10 midway through the set but NM State caught fire with two 4-0 runs to build its largest lead of the match at 21-16. The Aggies finished the set off by winning four of the final six points. The Crimson and White continued to hit the ball with authority, boasting an impressive .481 percentage in the stanza. Giddens added five kills while NM State out-blocked USU 3-2.5 at the net. USU hit .250 in the set with 12 kills against five errors.
In the third set, both teams led by no more than two points until NM State took a lead at 17-14 as part of a crucial 4-0 run. Utah State would not recover as the Aggies closed out the match by winning five of the final eight points. The Aggies hit well again in the third set at .429. NM State powered down 19 kills versus four late errors. USU hit .235 with 14 kills and six errors.
Shay Sorensen and Liz McArthur led the northern Aggies with 10 kills apiece in the match while Christine Morrill topped the Utah State defense with five digs.
The Aggies have a week off from competition before they continue their three-game conference road swing at Hawai'i on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 9:00 p.m. (MT). Be sure to follow the Aggies on Twitter.com @NMStateAggies.