LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State volleyball team fell to Northwestern 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 27-25) in the title match of the La Quinta Invitational, Saturday, Sept. 1 in the Pan American Center.
Both teams seemed to be evenly matched offensively as the Aggies posted 57 kills compared to Northwestern's 59, while NM State hit .230 and the Wildcats hit .246. Tournament MVP Stephanie Holthus of Northwestern marked a match-high 21 kills with Aggie sophomore outside hitter Meredith Hays not far behind her slamming down 18 kills of her own to go along with 10 digs. That marks her third double-double of the season and the 15th of her career.
Junior Preslie Alexander tallied a season-high 14 kills on the night with junior Lauren Loerch adding seven of her own. The Aggies out-blocked the Wildcats 11.5-8 but made a few mental mistakes during the match which might have made the difference.
The Aggies fell behind 10-5 in set one and pulled to within three at 21-17 when Loerch came up with a kill and stayed within three on an Alexander kill but couldn't get the break they needed to get the win. NM State jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the second set and held the lead until NU tied it at eight. The Aggies fell behind by four at 17-13 but got squeezed the lead to one 23-22 on a Hays kill, although NU won 25-22.
NM State took an early lead in set three but the Wildcats wouldn't let up and eventually pulled to within one at 11-10. The Aggies regained momentum putting together a point run to take a 21-20 lead. The Aggies went 25-22. Set four started with the Aggies falling behind 10-5.NM State bounced back and jumped to within one at 11-10 in a set that saw seven ties and four lead changes. Alexander hammered down a kill to tie the set at 25-25 but two straight points gave the Wildcats the victory.