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

Aggie Volleyball sits at second place in Conference USA

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

New Mexico State volleyball traveled to Liberty University for their seventh Conference USA match but dropped the first match 3-1 after a high error performance but rebounded in the second set 3-1 to split the matchup 1-1.  

The Flames took a quick 12-4 lead in the first set following several kills, blocks, and a service ace the Aggies’ series of attack errors. After a four-point run, the Aggies cut the Flames’ lead in half but failed to persist.  The Flames regained control and dominated the rest of the set after a 5-2 run led by Kate Phillips, who recorded her third kill of the set, and a block from Madison Blane to overpower the Aggies 25-13.  

Following the first set loss, the Aggies flipped the script on the Flames and opened the set scoring the first two points off kills from redshirt sophomore Ryleigh Whitekettle and senior Mari Sharp. After a competitive second set that tied the teams at 23 a piece, the Aggies took advantage of Liberty errors and a service ace from senior libero Darian Markham to take the second set 25-23. 

After allowing the Flames to go on a 10-1 run in the third set, the Aggies stormed back and scored nine points out of 11 serves to cut Liberty’s lead 12-10. The Aggies attempted to close the gap before Liberty scored six points to give them the set point and the opportunity to take a 2-1 lead. The Aggies refused to quit and managed to cut Liberty’s lead to 24-21. Liberty bounced back with a kill by Kamryn Bacus to give the Flames the 25-21 win. 

The Aggies and the Flames kept the fourth set close, with the largest lead being only three points, before Liberty tallied seven-points to secure match point. The Aggies dropped the set after an error and Liberty took the match 3-1.  

After the match, head coach Mike Jordan commented on the team’s downfalls.  

We were too high error,” Jordan said. “It was a terrible performance by some of our attackers. It’s unacceptable to make 31 errors in four sets. You have to adjust in this game, and we failed.” 

The Aggies brought the heat in the second match to split the contest 1-1 after a 3-1 win. Redshirt junior Kacia Brown led the offensive efforts for the Aggies and recorded 17 kills over the course of the match.   

In the opening set, the Aggies took advantage of five service aces, three coming from Brown, and clinched the lead 13-7. After a Liberty timeout, the Aggies refused to let up and developed momentum with a first set win.  

The Aggies continued their offensive effort in the second set, with Brown recording five kills and a .635 hitting percentage. With 10 digs coming from senior Darian Markham, the Aggies grabbed a 16-10 lead. The Flames retaliated and scored eight points to take the lead and rode their momentum to finish the set 26-24.  

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

Refusing to go down without a fight, the Aggies responded with a 5-0 lead. Redshirt sophomore Ryleigh Whitekettle led the offense with four kills out of her eight attempts followed by sophomore Ashley Herman with three. Herman was also a wall at the net and recorded seven blocks and six block assists. The Aggies finished the set 25-20 after two consecutive kills from sophomore Rilen Garcia.  

Once again, the Flames forced a fight and surged to an 11-7 lead before coach Jordan called a timeout. Brown continued to be a powerhouse for the Aggies and scored the next five points to help the Aggies gain a 13-12 lead. Markham led the defensive effort with 10 digs in the set and finished with a total of 30 digs, the most of a single player in the history of the Liberty Arena. The Aggies rose to 6-2 in conference play after their 25-13 win.  

After dropping their first match, the Aggies responded by taking Sunday’s match with the same outcome. The Aggies started by scraping out the first set 25-20 win and the second 26-24. The flames clinched the third set 25-20, but the Aggies closed it out in the fourth 25-20. Mari Sharp led both matches with 25 kills combined, with Darian Markham leading the way with 51 digs. 

Match leader, Kacia Brown, spoke on her performance and the teams’ position going further into the season. 

Individually, I feel good with how I’m performing for the most part,” Brown said. “There are obviously things I need to continue to work on and improve, and I’m excited to keep working on my game. I think that as a team we’re learning to bounce back after losses and that’s been super fun to be a part of. 

Despite splitting the contest, the Aggies remain in second place in the Conference USA standings. The Aggies will get a short break before preparing to host Western Kentucky University on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 12 p.m. Both games will be streamed on ESPN+. 

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About the Contributors
Victor Fierro
Victor Fierro, Sports Writer
Victor Fierro is starting his first year with The Round Up as a staff writer. He is currently a senior majoring in Journalism and Media Studies with a minor in Sports Marketing. He developed a passion for writing when he was in high school. His main goal is to become a play-by-play announcer for an NBA team. Victor loves to write game stories for all sports including basketball and football. Victor hopes working for The Round Up will help him grow as a person and a journalist.
Juliana Trujillo
Juliana Trujillo, Sports Editor
Juliana Trujillo is in her first year as Sports Editor and third year with Student Media. She graduates this year with a bachelors in Journalism and Media Studies with minors in Sports Marketing as well as Social Media Management. She is excited for the opportunity of Sports Editor as a previous sports writer. She plans on attending graduate school and earning her masters in Strategic Communication with the hopes of working for the MLB. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outside, watching sports, and spending time with her friends. Her dog, Hazel, is also the mascot for The Round Up and is appreciated by the entire staff.

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