Kenzie Jones, Sports Editor, @KenzieScribbler
For the second time in as many matches the defending Western Athletic Conference Champions, New Mexico State, walk off the court with a win. The Thursday night home match up for the Wolverines was concluded in five sets with final scores of 19-25, 27-25, 25-16, 15-25, 11-15.
The opening set showed a lack of brava, with neither team making any form of an outstanding play. The most note worthy aspect of the set was the 6-point difference in the final set scores. The points volleyed back and forth for a while and in the end had the Aggies on top. UVU was just unable to perform at the level NM State set for the first.
The Wolverines came back looking like a team who could play against last season’s WAC Champions by striking an early 6-2 lead. The quick happened mostly because of a Lauren Bakker and Kiahna Steiner block assist. The Aggies showed off their play that gave them the title last season as the set remained tight from there. New Mexico State pushed Utah Valley’s backs to the wall late in the frame, 24-25, and it looked like the Wolverines would drop this set as well. UVU slammed home three straight points to take the set. The crucial clutch run was led by Steiner with a block and a kill.
NM State lost the third set after falling behind 8-2 early on and not being able to mount any form of a comeback. The setting the stage led of the Wolverines was all thanks to consecutive blocks from Steiner and Bakker along with a pair of Bakker kills. The Aggies couldn’t get any closer then 5-point in the whole set as UVU took the frame by nine points.
After the steller win in the third it was starting to look like history was going to repeat its self. The game was looking like NM State’s winning streak would end in the same place where the Aggies had lost a conference match last year. Utah Valley was are the last WAC team to defeat New Mexico State after the Wolverines swept the Aggies last season at home.
NM State were the first to get things going in the fourth as they took a 9-17 lead. The lead happened from a match-high seven-point run and showed off what the Crimson and White are known for; being able to show composure in tense times. After another four-straight points later in the set, the Aggies had doubled the Wolverine’s score at 11-22. From there all the momentum stayed on the NM State side of the court as they took the set and pushed the game into the decisive fifth frame.
Even though the Aggies had force the match into a fifth frame and had seized the game’s momentum, UVU wasn’t about to hand the win over especially not at home during the pink-out match. The Wolverines clawed and scratched as they kept the game seesawing as the set showed ties at points one through nine and four lead changes. It wasn’t until NMSU took an 9-11 lead following an ace from Bradley Nash that there was any sign of a dominate team. UVU then cut the deficit to one on a couple of occasions but they just couldn’t manage to get over the hump. The Aggies outlasted the Wolverines and took the frame along with the match.
The lady Wolverines will concluded their six-match homestand on Saturday, October 4th as they face off against Texas-Pan American. The conference clash will begin at 1:00p.m. MT in the PE Building.
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