LAS CRUCES – Playing at home for just the second weekend this season, the New Mexico State volleyball team suffered a home sweep in its Western Athletic Conference opener.
UT Rio Grande Valley beat the Aggies 25-19, 25-19, 25-22 on Thursday at the Pan American Center. The Aggies (7-5, 0-1 WAC) host California Baptist at 1 pm, on Saturday.
“We blocked it OK, didn’t block it to the floor enough, but we just made way too many errors,” Aggie’s head coach Mike Jordan said. “It was just error, error, error. It was a terrible performance. One of the worst ever for a team at home.”
NM State had swept Rio Grande Valley in the past four meetings and Thursday was the Aggies first loss to UTRGV since 2018. It was the first time the Aggies have been swept by a WAC opponent since a 3-0 loss to Utah Valley in the COVID -19 shortened WAC Tournament championship match in 2020.
“They are one of the better teams in the league, they are a contender,” Jordan said. “We have a lot of room for improvement, obviously. It’s going to be a grind.
“I don’t know if this team is going to be good this year, or if it’s going to take until next year.”
The Aggies had seven attack errors in the first set and trailed 6-0 in the second set.
NM State had an early lead in the third set, but UTRGV pulled ahead with 4-0 and 3-0 runs and a 15-10 lead. The Aggies closed to within two points on a Molly Johnson kill and Katie Birtcil service ace, but UTRGV closed it out to improve to 12-4 on the season.
The Aggies committed 22 attack errors, three passing errors and 10 service errors.
Johnson led the Aggies with nine kills and Lia Mosher had six errors.
UTRGV setter Luanna Emiliano had 31 assists while sophomore Rylee Fay, freshman Bianca Perez and sophomore Alana Embry combined for 28 assists.
“Other than Lia and Katie and Molly Johnson, everyone else is so inconsistent that we can’t play them on a regular basis,” Jordan said.
Jason Groves can be reached at 575-541-5459 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jpgroves.