NM State Volleyball pick up sixth win this weekend against Big Wests UCSB

After falling 21-25 to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Friday, the New Mexico State volleyball team dominated in kills the second day bringing them to a 6-2 record on season.

There were several season-bests this weekend which really showcased the depth and versatility of this Mike Jordan team. Junior Katie Birtcil made herself especially known as she became the first attacker with 20 or more kills for the team this season. On day 2 of the tournament, Darian Markham tallied up 13 digs continuing her streak of 10 digs a match to 22 total. If that was not enough,  with seven total blocks against UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, graduate student Lia Mosher replicated her best performance of the year as a defender.

NM State volleyball defends in match against UCSB. Sept. 9, 2022 (Carlos Herrera)

Set one starting out Friday was a loss for the Aggies despite Katie Birtcil assisting the team with kills to lessen the point gap as well as Rylee Fay and Ryleigh Whitekettle bringing an offensive force who tied up the set at 18 points. After trailing by 12 points, Bianca Perez provided a notable nailbiter in the second set with a nice ace to settle a three-point burst. Despite ten ties UCSB secured the small leg up taking it 25-23.   

 NM State overcame the previous sets by succeeding in a nine point lead. Molly Johnson made consecutive kills to bring the team an advantage. The Aggies achieved their only win of the day with 25-16.  

The game ended after four sets with 25-21 in favor of the Gauchos. Pushing to reach a fifth set, Darian Markhan made an ace, but it was not enough to beat UC Santa Barbara.  

NM State overcame the previous sets by managing a nine-point lead. Molly Johnson made consecutive kills to bring the team an advantage achieving their only win of the day with 25-16. NMSU scored a total of 44 kills with Molly Johnson having the most of the game with five. Despite having a higher hitting percentage of 0.131 to UC Santa Barbaras’ 0.124 the Gauchos secured the win based on aces 5-3.The game came to an end after four sets with 25-21 in favor of the Gauchos.

Ashley Herman serving Sept. 10, 2022 (Carlos Herrera)

At the start of Day 2, An early lead from the Aggies mirrored the dominance the Gauchos had shown with their 11-4 lead just the day before in Fridays match. The tables where turned this time, however, with the Aggies getting the leg up 25-16 early flipping the power dynamic of play. Over the duration of two sets, the Aggie squad made 17 kills and continued to overcome several ties showing the offensive power right off the bat. The team claimed a 25-20 victory in similar fashion to the Gauchos win finishing in the fourth set. 

“I’m just amazed at how our team bounced back from yesterday, yesterday was a tough loss for us because it was a game we should have won. Every set was close and we battled so being able to come out today and win in four like they did to us was the perfect end to the weekend I think. Birtcil continued, “our attitude today was we are not gonna give up the same points we are not gonna make the same mistakes, we are gonna come out and we are gonna ball and win the match no matter what.”

The NM State Aggies now will now hit the road and travel to Southern California set to play in the Trojan Invitational the weekend of September 15th,  playing against their last three none conference opponents before WAC matchups begin. 

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