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 respond with a clean sweep against the Gamecocks

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

After a tough five set match loss, New Mexico State volleyball responded by sweeping the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in the second matchup.  The Aggies now sit at 7-5 in conference play and fifth in the Conference USA standings.  

Redshirt sophomore Ryleigh Whitekettle led the Aggies in their sweep with 12 kills and a career-high six blocks while Starr Williams followed with nine kills. Senior Darian Markham recorded 16 digs to put her at 1,500 career digs, making her the fourth Aggie in history to do so.  

While the Gamecocks had a hopeful start in the first set with a 5-4 lead, the Aggies hit an unexpected burst of momentum led by Whitekettle and sophomore Ashley Herman who carried the team to an 8-0 run. In a 12-point stretch, the two combined for two block assists and each earned a solo block, accounting for four of the five total NMSU blocks. Redshirt junior Kacia Brown and Williams aided the effort with three straight kills. The Aggies finished the set with a 4-0 run after several Gamecock errors to close out the first set 25-13.  

After the match, Whitekettle spoke about her personal and the team’s performance.  

“It feels great to come back and make less errors,” Whitekettle said. “Putting the ball away better always feels nice. We learn from mistakes and are improving our third contact control as a team.” 

Hanging onto their momentum in the second set, the Aggies quickly found their groove as sophomore Bianca Perez dealt a pair of aces and assisted Brown in two kills for a 7-2 lead. More notable plays were made by sophomore setter Rilen Garcia, who posted 17 assists and five digs which helped to carry the Aggies to a 25-20 win.  

The Gamecocks pulled ahead 7-3 in the final set, but the Aggies responded with a 7-0 run sparked by three kills and a solo block from Williams. After three ties, the Aggies’ defense powered through to take the final set 25-20 following two Whitekettle kills.  

Head coach Mike Jordan praised his team after the match, and shared part of the team’s strategy for the next match.  

“It was a good performance today,” Jordan said, “We have to be more consistent on Friday night. Some of our team will benefit a lot from the time off. Others will take a day or two, and they need to get some training in and get better.” 

After their weekend off, the Aggies will remain at home for a non-conference match against Chicago State on Monday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. Coverage will be streamed on ESPN+.  

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About the Contributor
Madeline Nielsen
Madeline Nielsen, Staff Writer
Madeline Nielsen is a freshman at NMSU majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. This is her first semester at The Round Up as a writer. She is excited for the learning experiences in Student Media and in college at large. She is originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and graduated from St. Michael’s High School in 2023. In High School, she participated in creative writing and theater, and is excited to continue working with all facets of student media in college. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and painting.

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  • AnonymousOct 25, 2023 at 7:35 PM

    You have such an excellent writer, Madeline Nielsen. She explains everything so well that it makes me feel like I was at the game. Be sure you reward Madeline Nielsen