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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 fights to victory homecoming weekend

Leah De La Torre
The Aggies defeated the Sam Houston State Bearkats 3-2 on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023.

After a standout performance, the New Mexico State University volleyball team went 2-0 against the Sam Houston State University Bearkats in their last home games of the season and their penultimate games of the regular season on Friday and Saturday.  

The first set was a slug fest from both sides with the Aggies going on a 10-point run late in the game to close it 25-12 after a shared block from redshirt junior Kacia Brown and junior Aleka Darko. The offense was a powerhouse throughout and finished with a .417 hitting percentage while Brown recorded four kills on six attempts without any errors.  

The Aggies lost some momentum in the second set after the Bearkats carried a four-point run to grab a 13-7 lead. The Aggies retaliated and rallied together as a team and scored seven points in a row to win 25-22 with a decisive kill from redshirt sophomore Ryleigh Whitekettle.  

The Aggies entered a rough stretch the next two sets, narrowly dropping both.  

Both sides went back and forth with 11 ties and three lead changes, but the Aggies fell just short of closing out the third set and lost 25-20.  

A string of sloppy defensive mistakes in the fourth set did them in with the Bearkats as the Aggies dropped the set 25-22.  

Kacia Brown winds up to hit the ball. Nov. 4, 2023. (Leah De La Torre)

In the do-or-die fifth set, the Aggies finally started looking like themselves again with five quick kills from Whitekettle and senior Mari Sharp to close out the set and the match 15-8.  

The Aggies finished the first match with 63 kills coupled with 61 assists and four aces on offense, and an astounding 13 blocks and 65 digs on defense complimented the victory.  

The leaders on offense were Whitekettle with 20 kills (tying her career high), followed by Brown’s 12. Sophomores Rilen Garcia and Bianca Perez topped the assists with 29 and 24 respectively.  

Defensively senior Darian Markham continued her trend of leading digs with 20 and Brown led blocks with nine total.  

Head coach Mike Jordan reflected on the team’s inconsistency throughout the night and noted what they needed to improve going into the next match.  

“Mental toughness is an issue,” Jordan said. “We’ve got to be stronger mentally and emotionally.”  

Freshman Bella Castro discussed the team’s morale and overall feelings throughout the long match. 

“It was frustrating because we knew we were better than them,” Castro said, “Tomorrow we just need to come out more ready to play.”  

The Aggies entered the second day prepared for another battle ahead of senior night. They were unable to overcome the Bearkat lead in the first set losing 25-18, and narrowly dropped the second set 28-26.   

The Aggies bounced back in the third set, taking the lead early and never letting up. After a dominant 23-7 run and six aces, the Aggies sealed the decisive 25-10 win. The Aggies displayed their stalwart defense and kept up their offense in the fourth set, as they continued to push their advantage, winning 25-17 and forcing a fifth set.  

The Aggies looked to pull off the reverse sweep in the final set and succeeded in taking the match with a 15-12 win after a final Brown kill.

Ashley Herman raises her arms in celebration during Saturday’s game. Nov. 4, 2023. (Leah De La Torre )

The defense, which was integral in the comeback, recorded 69 digs and nine total blocks. The offense totaled 58 kills, 51 assists and nine aces.  

Markham led the team with 16 digs and four aces followed by Castro’s 12 digs and two aces. Brown topped the team’s blocks once again with six. Brown also led the team in kills with 12, followed by senior Mari Sharp’s 11 while Garcia totaled another 29 assists.  

Markham noted what she’s thinking about ahead of the CUSA tournament in two short weeks. 

“I’m looking forward to…pulling out better wins,” Markham said. “We have been starting out better as a team.” 

Coach Jordan also spoke on what he wants to see from the team as they prepare for the postseason.  

“We can be more a little more consistent as a team in our assignments,” Jordan said, “If we can do those, we’ll have a shot.”  

The Aggies will hit the road next week in their final games of the regular season against the Florida International University Panthers on Friday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. followed by Saturday’s match at 11 a.m.  

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About the Contributors
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.
Leah De La Torre
Leah De La Torre, Multimedia Specialist
Leah De La Torre is entering her second year at The Round Up as a multimedia specialist. She will be majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. She grew up in El Paso, Texas. De La Torre has been making videos with her family and friends since she was in elementary school, and her love for the camera continued through high school as she became a member of the video and broadcast team. There, not only did she learn more about photography and video making but gained an interest in journalism. Her other interests include playing the cello, sewing, and listening to her favorite music artists like Her’s and The Strokes. Working for The Round Up, she hopes to continue doing what she loves, being behind the camera and contributing to making and telling stories about her community.

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