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Aggie Volleyball Team Defeats UNLV to close out Springhill Suites Invite

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Bryan Chavez

Bryan Chavez

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The New Mexico State volleyball team defeated the UNLV Rebels three sets to one in the final game of the New Mexico State Springhill Suites Invitational tournament.  It was also the Aggies’ first home win of the season.  Last night, the Aggies lost a tough game to #11 UCLA, but played well overall.  Despite last night’s loss, head coach Mike Jordan said that it was a positive step for his team.

“I thought we took a step forward yesterday against UCLA. I told the team that before the match today,” Jordan said.  One of the glaring differences between UCLA and UNLV was that UNLV wasn’t nearly as tall up front as UCLA.

It seemed like the Aggies had a much easier time against a smaller UNLV team, with the exception of Ashley Owens, the Rebels’ 6’2” senior middle blocker.  Owens finished the match with 12 kills on 35 attempts to go along with a match-leading 8 blocks.  Owens was matched by Jordan Abalos, who lead the way for the Aggies with 16 kills on 46 attempts and 3 blocks.   Coach Jordan was also impressed with the way his senior played.

“Jordan (Abalos) had a really slow start, but got it together.  She handled the ball really well, passed it and dug it really well. That was a key for us,” said Coach Jordan.  Freshman middle blocker Brielle Sterns also had a nice game, as she finished the match with 8 kills on 21 tries and 4 blocks.

Junior outside hitter Tatyana Battle “battled” her way through the Rebels’ front line as she finished in double-figures with 13 kills of her own and added 3 rejections.

Going into next week’s Borderland Invitational tournament, the 3-3 Aggies will host Abilene Christian, Delaware State, and Samford.  Coach Jordan would like to see his team get a little bit more consistent as the season progresses.
“Sterns is doing some good things for a freshman, she’s inconsistent. We’re all inconsistent right now. I don’t know a team, other than the elite teams that have a lot of returners, that are consistent this time of year.  We’ve got to start working towards that,” he said.

The Aggies will have the rest of the weekend plus three more days to prepare for their second home tournament.  They will play a double-header next Friday against Abilene Christian at 2:00 p.m., and Delaware State at 7:00 p.m. Saturday’s game against Samford is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. UNLV dropped to.500 with tonight’s loss (3-3).  They will head back to Las Vegas next weekend to host the UNLV Challenge against UC-Irvine, Weber State, and Louisville.

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Aggie Volleyball Team Defeats UNLV to close out Springhill Suites Invite