With the three dominating wins NM State jumps to 6-5 overall on the season. The Aggies outhit and outblocked every opponent this weekend to win nine-straight sets.
Junior setter Taylor Livoti collected her second double-double of the day, and team-leading fourth overall, after posting 28 assists and 10 digs versus New Hampshire.
Murphy led the team with 11 kills, junior Nathalie Castellanos added 14 assists and Walker once again led in the dig department, this time with 20 total digs. Junior Andrea Tauai matched Livoti with 10 digs of her own.
For the first time all weekend NM State was challenged from the beginning of the first set. The Aggies saw themselves down early, 6-5, in set one, but a quick five-point rally gave NM State a 10-6 lead.
The Wildcats kept the set close throughout, drawing to within one point midway through the set at 15-14. But the Aggies marked 10 out of the final 14 points in the set to win going away 25-18.
Set two was the closest NM State got to losing a set this weekend as the set went into extra points. New Hampshire would actually lead through much of the set with their biggest lead at 19-16 late in the set.
But the Aggies fought back to tie the set at 22-22 and take the lead at 24-23. With the set tied at 24, NM State marked the final two points to win the closest set of the weekend, 26-24.
As was the case all weekend, the Aggies would take control of the third and final set. NM State jumped out to a 5-0 lead and then, after two Wildcat points, went on a 9-0 run to lead 14-2 and take control of the match and tournament.
The Aggies would pull away and win the final set 25-11 to put an exclamation point on the Holly Young Invitational.
NM State now puts its focus on going for a three-peat of the Western Athletic Conference title. The Aggies begin WAC play next week at home by facing Grand Canyon on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. (MDT) and Bakersfield on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 1 p.m. (MDT).
Volleyball Sweeps Brown
The win brings the Aggies back to .500 on the season with a 5-5 record. NM State will have a chance to go above .500 tonight when it faces host New Hampshire in the final match of the tournament, a match that will probably be for the tournament championship.
Defense was once again key for the Aggies as they held the Bears to a .066 hitting percentage in the match, including a .000 percentage in the first set and a .027 percentage in the final set. NM State also had nine blocks in the match.
The Aggies finished with a .231 hitting percentage and, a day after accumulating a season-high 10 service aces, added another eight aces.
Junior setter Taylor Livoti marked her third double-double of the season after a 15 assists, 15 digs performance. The 15 digs is a season high for the preseason All-WAC member. Middle hitter Sasha-Lee Thomas led the way for NM State with nine kills and also added four block-assists.
As in Friday’s match, the Aggies jumped out to an early lead in the first set of the match, but after leading 6-2, NM State would surrender three-straight points to allow Brown to cut the lead to one.
NM State would be content to trade two points for one throughout the middle portion of the set and after a three-point rally of their own the Aggies had opened up a 19-12 lead. The Aggies would hold on to the lead and win the set 25-16.
The Bears were not flustered by their first-set loss and began set two with an early five-point rally to take a 7-3 lead over NM State. But the Aggies responded, and after a running off four-straight points they had tied the set at 7-7.
NM State would go on to win eight of the next 12 points to take a 15-11 lead midway through the set. Brown would cut the lead to as little as two, but leading 18-15, the Aggies went on another run, this time a five-point rally, to take command of the set at 23-15. The Bears would try to come back, but NM State marked the final point to win the set 25-19.
The young Aggies demonstrated on Saturday, as they did on Friday, that they are learning how to close out matches when the opponent is down.
NM State used a five-point rally early in the third set to take an 8-3 lead. After a match-high six-point rally, the Aggie lead had ballooned to 16-6 and the team from the Southwest never looked back.
Brown would once again mount a slight comeback late, winning eight of 10 points, but the NM State lead was too big to overcome and the Aggies closed out the Bears and the sweep by winning set three 25-18.
Volleyball Sweeps Rhode Island
The Aggies gave the Rams a taste of their own medicine as Rhode Island had swept seven of its first 10 opponents this season. NM State improves its record to 4-5 overall and 2-1 in neutral courts while handing the Rams their second loss of the season (9-2).
NM State outhit Rhode Island .240 to .109 and had a season-high 10 service aces on the day. Freshman Jordan Abalos had four of those aces, a personal high and team high for the season, while junior setter Taylor Livoti added three more aces.
“We were pretty good defensively and served it well,” Aggie head coach Mike Jordan said. “Anytime you get 10 aces in three sets you have to feel good about the effort. We beat a good team that was 9-1 coming in.”
Junior outside hitter Bradley Nash led the NM State offensive attack with eight kills and a .412 hitting percentage. Fellow junior Nathalie Castellanos was right behind with seven kills, tying a personal season high.
Livoti led the way with 18 assists while redshirt senior libero Hannah Walker finished with a match-high 13 digs.
The Aggies took command of set one early, marking the first five points of the contest to go up 5-0. Rhode Island fought its way back into the set and cut the NM State lead to three at 17-14 after winning three of four points.
NM State, however, responded with a six-point rally and won eight of the final 10 points of the set to take the opening set 25-16.
The second set would prove to be much tougher for the Aggies to win. Once again NM State jumped to an early lead at 5-2, but the Rams would rally to tie the set at six and take their first lead of the match at 7-6. The middle portion of the set would see ties at six, seven, nine, 10, 11, 12 and 16.
With the Aggies leading 19-17, Rhode Island would mark four-straight points to take a 21-19 lead, forcing Jordan to call a timeout. The timeout proved timely as the Aggies regrouped and responded by scoring the final six points of the set to win 25-21 and take a 2-0 lead.
The way the second set ended seemed to lift NM State and take the air out of the Rams’ balloon as the Aggies began the third set by winning 10 out of the first 11 points, including a seven-point rally, to take a commanding 10-1 lead that left no doubt of the sweep.
Rhode Island tried to make a final run late in the set, and after winning six of seven points cut the NM State lead to 21-13. But it was too little too late as the Aggies extended their lead with three-straight points and then finished off the Rams by winning set three 25-16.