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Aggie volleyball wins opener at Arizona State tourney

TEMPE, Ariz. – The New Mexico State volleyball team opened its season at the Wells Fargo Arena on Friday by defeating Pacific in the Sun Devil Classic. The Aggies defeated the Tigers in four sets 25-23, 14-25, 28-26, 25-22.

The Aggies were to face host Arizona State Friday at 8 p.m. The Aggies close out weekend competition with a match against UT Arlington on Saturday at 11 a.m.

“The first weekend is not pretty when you only have a couple weeks to prepare. You expect a lot of peaks and valleys and we certainly had that today,” NMSU coach Mike Jordan said. “I liked the competitiveness we showed at the end of the third set, coming back from a deficit. I think that injected some life into the team. Jordan Pleasants did a good job coming off the bench and helping with that as well. It was a good win against a WCC team and we’ll take that any day. We look forward to our next matches.”

How it Happened

NMSU (1-0) got off to a dominant start with a four-point scoring run with Tatyana Battle behind the service line. After an error by Pacific (0-1) gave the Aggies the 9-3 lead, the Tigers called a timeout, looking to stop NM State’s rally. The Aggies continued to power past Pacific until a three-point run gave the Tigers the momentum, forcing New Mexico State to call a timeout. The back-and fourth-match continued but back-to-back kills by Savannah Davison gave the Aggies a 19-17 lead, however it was short-lived when a four-point Pacific rally put New Mexico State behind 21-19. NM State continued to fight and a pair of kills by Megan Hart and Battle tied the match 21-21. After the Tigers tied the match 23-23, a kill in the middle by Hart and a block by Lia Mosher and Ashley Anselmo sealed the 25-23 first-set victory.

The Aggie offense came out flat to start the second set and the team trailed 4-0 before a kill by Battle on the outside ended the scoring run. A rally with newcomer Halle Razo serving put NM State within a point, but the Aggies were unable to take the lead. The teams continued to battle for each point but New Mexico State errors resulted in the team trailing 18-11 late in the second set.  The deficit proved to be too much to overcome as the Aggie squad gave up an ace to end the second set and the team fell 25-14.

New Mexico State needed to bounce back in the third set and the team went point-for-point with the opposition. With the game tied 10-10, mistakes by NM State put the Aggies behind 13-10, but New Mexico State clawed its way back. However, an attack error by Julianna Salanoa led to NM State trailing 24-21 late in the set. A rally that included kills by Davison and Hart tied the set 24-24. With the team’s going back-and-forth, a service error by Pacific resulted in a one-point advantage for NM State. Battle followed the point with a kill on the outside, assisted by Natalie Mikels, to complete the comeback and give the Aggies the 28-26 victory.

Looking to clinch their first win of the season, the Aggies were on a mission in the fourth set and took an 11-8 lead early in the set. With Battle serving, NM State posted a four–point scoring run to hold the 19-13 advantage. The Tigers chipped away at the New Mexico State lead late in the set, but the Aggies came through in the end and a hard-hit kill out of the middle by Mosher gave NM State the 25-22 win.

By the Numbers

As a team, New Mexico State posted 43 kills, 38 assists, 45 digs and eight blocks. Battle posted a double-double to start her senior campaign as she tallied 13 kills and 15 digs. Hart also tallied 13 kills in the match, accompanied with her team-best .348 hitting clip.

Box score: NMSU 3, Pacific 1

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