The New Mexico State volleyball team (8-3, 2-0 WAC) defeated the Idaho Vandals (3-9, 1-1) in five sets (25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 16-25, 15-8), Saturday, Sept. 15 in Moscow, Idaho. It was the second consecutive five set win for the Aggies as NM State came-from-behind against Seattle U on Thursday.
The Aggies had four players with at least seven kills with sophomore Meredith Hays marking a match-high 22 kills and junior Lauren Loerch adding 13 for the second time in as many matches. NM State as a team posted 62 kills, which is the most all season. New Mexico native, freshman Nathalie Castellanos posted eight kills and junior middle hitter Desiree Scott finished with seven kills on a .417 hitting percentage.
NM State ran a 6-2 offense once again with junior Ciara Brown posting 26 assists and freshman Taylor Livoti finishing with 24. Junior libero Hannah Walker ended the night with a match-high 16 digs, two service aces and five assists, while Hays led the way with four total blocks (one solo, four assisted).
NM State took set one 25-19 hitting .484 as a team. Hays led the way with seven kills and Loerch added five. Idaho took an early 10-7 lead but a 4-1 scoring rally by the Aggies tied the set at 11-all. The Aggies took a 13-12 lead on an attack error by Idaho then extend it by two when Hays hammered a kill down the line. NM State was in control from that point on as the Vandals only got within three at 16-13.
Set two started with back-and-forth scoring from both teams before NM State took a two-point lead on a kill from Stephanie Ziegler from the back line. A double-block by Gwen Murphy and Hays put the Aggies by five at 11-7 and NM State took advantage of that momentum shift to take a 19-12 lead midway thru the set. Hays pounded a kill off the hands of two Vandal blockers to help the Aggies reach the 20-point mark first. The Vandals gained the momentum late in the set and pulled to within four at 22-18 but a missed serve by Idaho gave the Aggies a 23-18 lead. A Castellanos tip down the line gave NM State a 25-19 win heading into the intermission.
Idaho was the first to score in set three and extended its lead to as many as five at 6-1. The Aggies fought back and pulled to within two at 11-9 when the Vandals hit a ball out of bounds. After Preslie Alexander marked her third attack error of the match, coach Jordan put in outside hitter Bradley Nash. From that point NM State went on an 8-1 scoring rally to squeeze the lead to one at 18-17. The Aggies were unable to complete the sweep, however, falling 25-21.
Set four was tight early on with ties at four, five, and six but NM State started to struggle defensively and went on a 4-0 run to take a 10-6 lead. Plenty of attack errors by the Aggies gave Idaho a 16-9 lead before the Vandals won 25-16. The Aggies finished the set with nine kills and eight attack errors to go along with two service errors, while being aced once. Idaho hit .400, compared to a .033 NM State hitting percentage.
A very long set that NM State won gave the Aggies a 3-1 lead in set five and that lead was extended when Castellanos powered a kill down the line to force Idaho into a timeout. Idaho called another timeout after a Vandal attack error that put NM State up 7-2.
NM State heads back home to continue WAC play taking on Louisiana Tech, Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. before facing Texas-Arlington, Saturday, Sept. 22 at noon in the Pan American Center. For tickets call the Pan American Center ticket office at (575) 646-1420 or go online at www.NMStateSports.com .