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Aggie volleyball sweeps Montana, finishes tourney 3-1

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The New Mexico State volleyball team finishethe Falcon Classic hosted by the Air  Force Academy by defeating Montana in straight sets on Sunday, 25-13, 25-18, 25-19.

The Aggies leave Colorado with a 3-1 record, with the only loss coming at the hands of No. 16 Arizona State in a five-set thriller on Saturday.

“I’m really happy with the effort again today,” said NMSU coach Mike Jordan. “We were a tired team but really gave a good effort today.”

NMSU held the Grizzlies (2-1) to a .108 hitting percentage while the Aggies hit at .367, including finishing with a .600 hitting percentage in set number one.

Senior Gwen Murphy led everyone in kills for the fourth-straight match, finishing Sunday with 14 kills and a .722 hitting percentage.  Fellow senior Taylor Livoti, meanwhile, marked the first double-double of the season for the Aggies after finishing with 15 assists and a team-high 11 digs.  Freshman Brianna Ainsworth once again led NM State with 21 assists.

“Gwen was fantastic, as was Bradley (Nash), Nathalie (Castellanos) and Taylor,” Jordan said. “We passed well and did a good job of attacking today.”

A four-point early rally put the Aggies control in the first set at 10-5.  NMSU would only increase its lead and after winning seven of the last eight points the Aggies easily took set number one at 25-13.

The NMSU momentum continued into the second set as the Aggies sprinted to a 5-0 lead.  After another four-point rally the lead would grow to double-digits at 18-7.  Montana tried to string together a comeback, but NM State held the Grizzlies off and won the second set 25-18.

The Aggies had a tougher battle in the final set as Montana kept the set tight early and led 7-6.  But that’s the last lead the Grizzlies would see as NM State won six of the next seven points to open up a 12-8 lead.  From there the two squads would exchange points as the Aggies held on to the lead, taking the third set and the match.

New Mexico State now comes home to prepare for a trip to College Station, Texas, to participate in the Texas A&M Invitational this coming weekend, when it will face Wichita State, Abilene Christian and host Texas A&M.

Box score: New Mexico State 3, Montana 0