LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State volleyball team (19-10, 12-6 WAC) lost to Idaho (15-13, 13-5 WAC) in straight sets (22-25, 29-31, 19-25), in the Pan American Center, Tuesday, Nov. 15.
With the loss, the Aggies will be the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament, which starts Monday in San Antonio, Texas.
NM State was outhit by the Vandals, .156-.257 and was out-blocked 13-8. Sophomore Meredith Hays led the Aggies offensively with a match-high 17 kills but NM State's five service errors and 28 attack errors would not allow for the team to get into a rhythm.
Junior Desiree Scott and sophomore Stephanie Ziegler added six kills each, while red-shirt freshman Bradley Nash tallied five kills on a .364 hitting percentage. Senior Madison Hardy marked a career-high 13 digs on "Senior Night."
The first set began with a couple of kills by Aggie middle blocker Desiree Scott. After the set was tied at two, however, the Vandals proceeded to mark 13 of the next 16 points to take a commanding 15-5 lead midway through the set. NM State slowly began cutting into the lead after that point and after a kill by Ziegler and a solo block by Scott the Idaho lead was down to one at 18-17. That would be as close as the Aggies would get, however, as the Vandals closed out the set 25-22. NM State was outhit in set one .273 to .154. Hays and Ziegler each finished the set with four kills to lead the Aggies.
The second set was a model of equality between both teams. Aside from a three-point rally from the Aggies midway through the set, neither team could string more than two consecutive points at any point in the set. Also, neither team would lead by more than two points throughout the set. The set was tied a total of 25 times with the final tie coming at 29-29. Three big kills by Hays late in the set gave NM State a few chances to close out the set, but the Vandals marked the final three points of the set to win the set 31-29 and take a 2-0 lead in the match. Hays finished with 11 kills during the set to lead the Aggies.
The third set began as the second, with the two teams battling back and forth and neither being able to put a good rally together. With Idaho leading 15-14, however, the Vandals scored six of the next seven points to take a 21-15 lead. NM State put together a three-point rally of its own aided by a couple of kills by freshman outside hitter Nathalie Castellanos to pull within three points, but could not get any closer. Idaho scored the last two points of the set to take the set and match. Castellanos and fellow freshman outside hitter Bradley Nash each finished the set with three kills to lead the Aggies.