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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Aggies swept by undefeated Western Kentucky

Photo+courtesy+of+NMSU+Athletics.+
Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

In an underwhelming performance, New Mexico State University women’s volleyball team faced off against the conference leading Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers who swept the Aggies in both matches.  

The Hilltoppers entered the match undefeated in conference play, having won their last 64 matches in a row. The Aggies appeared determined to bring this losing streak to an end but fell short and dropped to 6-4 in conference play, 13-8 overall and fifth in the CUSA standings.  

The Aggies failed to get their offense rolling in the first match and were swept in three close sets by the Hilltoppers, first time the Aggies have been swept since their season opener.  

Opening the first set strong, the Aggies kept it close against the Hilltoppers until they broke the 6-6 tie and went on a run to go up 10-6 to force an Aggie timeout. The Aggies were unable to recuperate and only managed to bring their deficit within three points and lost 25-20. The Aggie offense struggled and only earned six kills and a hitting percentage of -0.08 in set one.  

The Aggies improved their play in the second set, trading blows with the Hilltoppers until WKU went in a 6-0 run. Refusing to quit, the Aggies rallied to only trail by one at 24-23 but were unable to take the lead, losing 25-23. The third set got away from the Aggies early as they fell to 7-2 and unable to gain a lead, the Hilltoppers swept them. 

The stats reflected the struggle the Aggies faced in the first match, having only 30 kills, zero aces and a .106 hitting percentage. With the team’s 12 blocks and 32 digs the defensive effort remained somewhat strong as the team didn’t lose by more than six points. Senior Mari Sharp and sophomore Ryleigh Whitekettle led the offensive effort with eight kills each while sophomore Biana Perez earned 20 assists. For the defense, senior Darian Markham led with eight digs and redshirt junior Kacia Brown led with five blocks.  

After the match, head coach Mike Jordan discussed his team’s downfalls.  

“They [WKU] executed at a really high level,” Jordan said. “We were bad defensively and missed a lot of assignments. We’ve got to get that corrected before we play tomorrow. We can’t be that inept at setting it and attacking. We’ve got to do a better job tomorrow, and hopefully we will.” 

After opening with another round of back-and-forth play, the Aggies fell to 10-5 before coach Jordan called a timeout. The Hilltoppers continued to dominate and forced the Aggies to call their second timeout as they dropped to 16-7. Offensively, the Aggies started to find their footing and went on a six-point run to bring the score to 22-15. Unable to overcome the large deficit, the Aggies fell in the first set 25-16.

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

The Aggies’ momentum was short lived when the Hilltoppers went on a 4-0 run and prompted an Aggie timeout.  NMSU attempted to stop the bleeding before the Hilltoppers increased their lead to 21-13 and quickly finished the set with a 25-15 win. Despite the dropped set, senior Darian Markham recorded 11 digs, but the Hilltoppers were steadily able to sideout.  

In the third set, the Aggies finally started to look like their usual selves with 13 ties and three lead changes between the two sides. Kaylee Cox led the offensive effort for the Hilltoppers and posted 23 kills in the final set for the 25-23 win.  

The Aggies had a better performance in the second match and tallied 37 digs and eight blocks. The offense failed to keep up and only tallied 32 kills compared to WKU’s 42 and finished with a low .200 hitting percentage. Sharp and Whitekittle led in kills with nine apiece while Perez led with 10 more assists.  

After the match, Whitekittle spoke about the adjustments that the Aggies need to make moving forward.  

“We played our hardest in the end, and it just wasn’t enough,” Whitekettle said. “I think minimizing errors and just working on third ball control will help us in the coming weeks.” 

Coach Jordan shared a similar sentiment and expected more from his team.  

“I’m disappointed with our execution today,” Jordan said. “WKU played really well. We had no answer for Kaylee Cox and were too inconsistent offensively.” 

The Aggies will stay on the road and travel to Jacksonville State University for their first match on Friday, Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. followed by their second match on Saturday at 12 p.m. Coverage will be streamed on ESPN +.  

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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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