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Volleyball: Rallying Aggies extend win streak to eight

LAS CRUCES  – New Mexico State volleyball extended its win streak to eight in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Seattle University  to close out the first half of the WAC schedule Saturday afternoon at the Pan American Center.

The Aggies finished the first half of conference play undefeated with a 7-0 record, 17-5 overall. They go into the second of the WAC schedule with a two game lead in the conference after the  25-23, 22-25, 14-25, 25-18, 15-13 decision over the Redhawks (4-3, 12-8).

Senior Andrea Tauai led the way for NMSU with 16 kills. “She stepped up big, took some big swings. I knew we could get her one-on-one in a couple of situations. She stepped up big and got herself some kills,” head coach Mike Jordan said of the Tauranga, New Zealand/Tauranga HS native.

Senior Bradley Nash, of Kayenta, Ariz./Monument Valley HS, also managed to rack up double digit kills in the match with 13.

Senior Martina Samadan led the Redhawks with 19 kills, the Split, Croatia/Virginia Commonwealth native hit for an astonishing .405 in the match.

The Aggies started out strong taking the tightly contested first set 25-23, rallying back from a 21-23 deficit.

The second set was just a hard fought as the previous frame with the 11 ties and six lead changes. However, the Aggies never led by more than one point during the set with the Redhawks taking it 22-24.

SU came out hot to start the third set, taking a 10-5 lead early in the frame. NMSU played flat for most of the frame with the Redhawks jumping out to a 20-9 lead late in the set. Seattle U. would go on to claim the set 14-25.

“We had a lot of trouble with [the Redhawks) serve and service game. They are the best serving team in the conference, they hit a lot of tough, hard balls. It really forced us into bad passing. We were tripping all over ourselves there for a while, all of the third set…” remarked Jordan, “When you pass bad, you put your attackers in bad positions because the set typically winds up not being very good. Bad passes lead to bad sets lead to bad swings…we just needed to calm down and get our act together.”

They indeed calmed down, as the Aggies rallied from a 5-8 deficit early in the fourth set to take a 20-15 lead and eventually take the frame 25-18, forcing a crucial fifth set.

The momentum carried over to the fifth and final set as NMSU scored four unanswered points right out of the gate and held a 10-5 lead late in the set. The Aggies ended up winning the frame 15-13, and in the process notching their eight-straight win.

The Aggies are back in action on Tuesday, October 20 as they take on rival UTEP in the Battle For I-10 at the Pan American Center.

“Rivalry games are always fun. We are happy it’s a home game,” said Jordan.

Box score: NMSU 3, Seattle University 2

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