at Stephen F Austin
10/29/2022 | 10 AM
october 29 (Sat) / 10 AM
at Stephen F Austin
LAS CRUCES, NM. – Coming home for one game before heading back on the road, NM State (12-8, 4-4 WAC) was unable to earn itself a bit of breathing room in a crowded conference field, falling to UT Arlington (14-7, 6-3 WAC) in four sets (13-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-23).
“We can’t seem to get out of our own way,” said head coach Mike Jordan. “We score our points and we score the other team’s points. It’s frustrating to have so many wildly inconsistent players but we have a lot brand new faces and inexperienced players. I don’t know how long it will take to turn it around.”
Katie Birtcil finished the night as the Aggies’ leader in the box score with regards to the offensive side of things as she finished with 18 kills. Molly Johnson also tallied double-digit kills – ending the match with 11.
Defensively, the block continued to be a strong point for Jordan’s squad as they finished with 12 total blocks, including five of which included freshman Taylor Snow.
The match began in familiar fashion for the Aggies, with the two teams trading blows before a quick five-point run by UT Arlington put them ahead 7-3, forcing Mike Jordan to use an early timeout. Out of the break, Lia Mosher notched a kill to break the scoring run before the Mavericks embarked on another scoring run to swell the lead 14-6. Frustrations were mounting, and NM State used their second timeout of the set to try and regroup.
Down 20-10, the Aggies were able to string together a quick three-point run thanks to kills by Mosher and Shelton to bring them within seven, before UT Arlington was able to put the set away 25-13.
Errors were the theme of the first set, with the Aggies recording eight attacking errors, posting a .028 hitting percentage, while also recording four service errors.
After dropping the first set, a troubling trend occurring the past three games for the Crimson & White, the Aggies would have to show a renewed sense of urgency in the second set.
It was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team gaining much separation through the first 19 points, with UT Arlington up 10-9. A kill by Molly Johnson would begin an 8-1 run by the Aggies, putting them up 17-11. Later, a five-point rally by the Mavericks would bring them within one (17-18)
A combo block by Birtcil and Snow eventually put the final touches on the set, giving the Aggies the 25-19 set victory.
Set three started similarly to the last one, with neither the Aggies nor Mavericks being able to gain much of an advantage early on. With UT Arlington trailing 5-4, the Mavericks were able to use a pair of aces to go on a four-point swing and take control of the set (8-4), forcing an NM State timeout.
Not to be outdone, the Aggies used a scoring run of their own to take back control 9-8 and cause the Mavericks to burn a timeout of their own.
Following more back-and-forth play, a 3-0 run that was capped by a Whitekettle-Snow combo block forced UT Arlington to burn their final timeout of the set.
Mari Sharp hammered a kill to tie things up at 24 and ensure that free volleyball would be played. An error by the Mavericks gave NM State set point, but the Aggies were unable to convert – dropping the next two points, and the set, 27-25.
Facing a must-win set, NM State fell behind early on in the third game as the Mavericks latched on to a 9-3 lead after the first 12 points were played.
UT Arlington’s lead would eventually swell as high as eight points after a block would give them an 18-10 advantage.
The Aggies did show some fight as they were able to pull within three points after back-to-back kills from Birtcil and Sharp. With some encouragement from 933 fans in the stands, the Aggies would eventually pull to within one point (24-23) before UT Arlington secured the final point of the match.
- The Aggies leader in kills per set, Katie Birtcil paced the Aggies in kills for the 12th time this season as she reached 18 kills to mark her highest total in the last four matches.
- Molly Johnson tallied double-digit kills for the fifth-straight match and the ninth time in the season.
- Darian Markham compiled double-digit digs for the 11th consecutive match – finishing with 11 digs on the night.
- Upon finishing the night with five total blocks, Snow has now turned in five matches this season with at least a handful of stuffs.
- Rylee Fay wrapped up the night just one assist shy of her career-high as she posted 34 assists against the Mavericks on Thursday night.
NM State faces a quick turnaround following the one-game homestead, traveling to Nacogdoches, Texas for a match with Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 29. This begins the final road stretch of the 2022 season, with matches against Utah Valley (Nov. 3) and Seattle (Nov. 5) on the slate before closing out the year with a pair of home matches prior to the 2022 WAC Tournament .