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Aggie volleyball wins 15th straight clinches WAC title

PHOENIX – The New Mexico State women’s volleyball team hit a red-hot .388 and ran its win streak to 15 matches and clinched its fourth Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship in the last five seasons with an 25-22, 25-20, 25-22 sweep at Grand Canyon on Saturday afternoon. This is the Aggies’ sixth WAC regular-season championship under head coach Mike Jordan.

The Aggies (23-3, 13-0) raced out to a 4-1 lead in set one before GCU brought it back to tie up at nine. The rest of the set was a battle as both sides traded points, and the lead, until NM State found itself ahead 23-22. Then, Savannah Davison and Megan Hart hit back-to-back kills to give the Aggies the first set 25-22.

New Mexico State rode that momentum into the second, starting things off with a monster kill from Julianna Salanoa. However, the Lopes continued to battle and only trail 15-13 at the media timeout. However, NM States cored three-straight, with a kill from Hart and an ace from Halle Razo to stretch its lead to 18-13. The Lopes came back though and made it 23-20 late in the set. Then, Hart smashed a kill and Krysten Garrison served up an ace for a 25-20 Aggie win in set two.

After a kill from Salanoa started the third set, the Lopes scored the next three points to make it 3-1 before NM State went on a 4-0 run of its own. The two teams traded points with the Aggies trailing 15-13 at the media timeout. Coming out of the timeout, NM State went on a quick -0 run with kills from Savannah Davison, Hart and Garrison for a 17-15 lead. However, Grand Canyon was able to tie the set at 19. Then, New Mexico State found itself on set point, 24-21. After a kill from GCU, Davison finished the match-winning kill off the assist from Mikels for a 25-22 victory in the third set and a 3-0 sweep.

The win clinched the WAC regular-season championship and the number one seed at the WAC tournament. This is NMSU’s fourth WAC championship in the last five years.

Hart led the way for the Aggies with 15 kills on .440 hitting while Salanoa added 10 kills on a scorching .625 hitting percentage. Natalie Mikels added 23 assists with Garrison tacking on 18.

Both teams were on fire offensively with NM State hitting .388 and the Lopes hitting .329. New Mexico State finished with 52 kills to 37 for Grand Canyon.

The Aggies now return to the Pan American center to wrap up the regular season with a pair of home matches. First, the Aggies take on Chicago State on Thursday at 12 p.m. before they host Kansas City on Senior Day on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m.

Box score: New Mexico State 3, Grand Canyon 0

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