The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Aggies undefeated in conference play

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

In their home opener, the New Mexico State volleyball team went 2-0 against Middle Tennessee State with a clean sweep and a nail-biting five set match. The Aggies are now undefeated in Conference USA and improve to 9-4 overall.   

They swept the Blue Raiders in the first match 3-0 with an all-around dominant performance to snap MTSU’s previous eight game win streak.  

Both sides came out fighting from the get-go, but the Aggies persisted, after nine ties, with a score of 27-25. With a steadfast offense, the Aggies recorded 16 kills complemented by 16 assists, but the Blue Raiders were right behind them with 15 kills. It was a close push and pull set, but the Aggies persevered defensively with 7 blocks and 10 digs.   

The second set was another neck and neck battle, tying at 6-6 and 10-10, but the Aggies prevailed once again 25-23. After a four-kill run, the Aggies’ offense rode their momentum with 17 kills and matching the assists with another 16. The Aggies’ defense came prepared and responded to the Blue Raiders offense with 12 digs and 3 blocks to keep Middle Tennessee to only 11 kills.  

With all the momentum on their side, the Aggies finished their sweep with a steam roll of 25-12. The defensive effort by the team earned them 32 digs and 10 blocks, led by seniors Darian Markham’s 14 and Mari Sharp’s 5.  

Sharp also provided offensively to lead the team with 11 kills and commented on the offense and the prospects the team has. 

“It feels like we’re going to do some serious damage in the CUSA,” Sharp said. 

Redshirt sophomore Ryleigh Whitekittle and redshirt junior Kacia Brown also achieved double digit kills with 10 a piece, and the team finished the night with 48 kills and 46 assists.  

Head coach Mike Jordan discussed the team’s performance and how he felt about the win. 

“We had a better serving game today.” Jordan said. “You know, emotionally we just kept competing even when it got hard, or we got messy. I like that about this group.”

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

The Blue Raiders came into the second game ready to play and showed off their adaptation against the Aggies and dominated in the first set 25-15. That would be the last easy win of the day by either team as the Aggies answered back by winning set two 25-20 and set three 27-25.   

In set number four, Middle Tennessee was able to fend off a series loss in another extremely close-set finishing 25-22. The final set was by far the longest tug of war battle between the two teams, as they alternated ties and leads from 12-12 until Bianca Perez served up an ace to take the final set 18-16.  

Darian Markham led with 19 digs and her joy in leading the defensive effort. 

“It was fun digging.” Markham said. “For me defense is the funnest thing out there…and it’s just fun being all together.”  

Coach Jordan closed the weekend by quoting the late Lou Henson after stating the team’s mixed performance in the second game. 

“Lou Henson said this to me once: three times a year you play terrible,” Jordan said. “And if you win any, you smile and go on your way.”  

The Aggies will travel for the next match against Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana on Friday, Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. 

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About the Contributor
Kaden Martinez
Kaden Martinez, Staff Writer
Kaden Martinez is entering his first year at The Round Up as both a staff and a sports writing intern. This is his first time writing for a local publication (or any publication for that matter!). He is also entering his first year as a freshman majoring in Cybersecurity with a minor in Computer Engineering. Since his dad is in the military, he has moved all around New Mexico, having lived in Albuquerque, Springer, Maxwell, and finally Rio Rancho where he graduated. He is the oldest of three siblings. Kaden has always enjoyed writing, whether it was school related or as a hobby. He decided to become a member of The Round Up both to broaden his horizons and step out of his comfort zone by trying something new. Some of his interests include exercising, playing sports, video games, TV shows, and movies.

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