Aggies drop early lead despite offensive efforts


Emma Hood

NM State Aggies lost yet again against the UTEP Miners

The New Mexico State Aggies Women’s Volleyball hosted the University of Texas El Paso Miners in a close five set match where the Miners outlasted the Aggies. NMSU overpowered UTEP in the first two sets but dropped the last three, 26-24, 25-19, 23-25, 19-25, 13-15.  

The Aggies final non-conference matchup started promising with a strong presence from hitters Katie Birtcil, Shaney Lipscomb, Cat Kelly, and a breakout performance by freshman Sydney McIntosh. After the second set, however, NM State appeared to slow down and was unable to function to their usual standards.  

The Miners, a typically strong team on the road, started the match just like any other— strong. The Aggies struggled to capitalize on offensive opportunities until a 4-0 surge late in the set led to a 24-22 score. Assisted by Birtcil, McIntosh and a final kill by Lipscomb, NMSU overcame the deficit and took the first set.  

Riding the momentum, NM State better competed in the second set. In order to combat the Miners strong blocking presence, setter Carly Aigner-Swesey moved the ball around to every hitter. Birtcil, especially powerful from the back row, earned a total of 25 of the Aggies’ 66 kills. Redshirt senior Lia Mosher also came in strong and helped the team finish.  

Set three was a back and forth battle with a total of 11 ties. The Aggies looked confident until opposing hitter Paulina Perez Rosas initiated a UTEP 3-0 run. Still able to maintain a small lead, it appeared as though NM State would walk away with a sweep, but the Miners persisted and forced a fourth set.  

The Aggies struggled to muster up some energy to start the fourth set and fell to 1-6. Then freshman setter Alana Embry came in and served an ace which started a three point run — NMSU was in striking distance of taking the lead. However, the Miners continued to control the score and forced a fifth set contest.  

The fifth started neck and neck with crucial kills by Lipscomb and Kelly until a media timeout switched the momentum. The Miners were up 13-8. Then back to back kills by Sharp led the Aggies to a one point deficit at 13-14. One final hitting error gave UTEP the win.  

After the long set, Head Coach Mike Jordan spoke on his team’s struggles.

“We just made too many unforced errors,” he said. “I mean, we had plenty of opportunities and we made some bad choices and made some errors that you can’t make. They played soft a couple times too and we shouldn’t have,” Jordan finished.  

The Aggies now look to rest their star players for their final regular season match against Chicago State. They will host the Cougars at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13.  

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