Aggies blow early lead, lose to CBU in five sets

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Emma Hood

NMSU Aggies vs. California Baptist Lancers

The NMSU volleyball team looked to continue their winning ways on Saturday afternoon, as they currently stood at a 12-3 overall record and undefeated in the Western Athletic Conference games.

Their opponent would be the California Baptist University Lancers, a WAC rival with a record of 6-6 heading into this matchup. CBU is currently working through a transfer to full-time NCAA Division 1 action as it enters its third year of a four year transitionary period. Though they have not been a “D1” school for very long, they are still a formidable opponent for the Aggies and won’t go down easily.

Despite the great optimism heading into the game, head coach Mike Jordan was unable to attend for the second straight game due to COVID-19 restrictions. He will continue to sit out for the next game as well, but will return to the action soon after.

The game started in the classic Aggie fashion, with a dominating performance on both sides of the ball, leading to a resounding 25-15 win in the first set. The ferocious offense of senior Shaney Lipscomb lead the Aggies to a quick 5-0 run to start the game, and lifted them to the win in this set.

The second set was a bit more of the same, with great blocks by senior Lia Mosher and more impressive kills from Lipscomb. This set was quite a bit closer than the first, ending with a score of 25-22 and showcasing a much more cohesive Lancer offense than that which was shown in the first set. This would end up becoming a theme of the entire game as it progressed. 

Heading into the third set with a resounding 2-0 lead, and only in need of one more set win to end the series, the Aggies seem to become a bit more comfortable in their play. There was an obvious momentum shift in favor of the Lancers, as they quickly gained a six point lead and ended the set with a 25-22 victory.

This momentum shift only seemed to increase as the set continued, with the third set being followed by another win by the Lancers, this time with a score of 25-21. The defense of the Aggies remained stout throughout, but this CBU offense just found its rhythm and continued to pile on the points.

Entering the fifth and final set of the game, the Lancers were on fire. The offense continued to fire on all cylinders, pushing CBU ahead by as much as six points mid-way through the set. Although, the Aggies were not ready to end it there. They attempted to mount a comeback and brought the set to a tie score and eventually forcing a win-by-two scenario. Unfortunately for the Aggies, this wasn’t enough; the Lancers triumphed in a 16-14 win, ending the match 3-2.

Lipscomb remained impressive throughout, but the Aggie defense struggled as the sets continued, leading to large volume scores by the Lancers. The offense looked consistently efficient and productive throughout the entirety of the match, but this wasn’t enough to overcome the tenacious Lancer offense.

The Aggies will look to bounce back next week, as they travel to Chicago, Illinois to face the 10-6 Chicago State Cougars on Oct. 7 in another WAC Tournament bout.

 

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