After a three-set sweep of Grand Canyon last time out, the UVU volleyball team returned to action Thursday night for a pivotal conference road match against the first place Aggies of New Mexico State. Despite a valiant effort by the Wolverines, the Aggies proved to be too much, as NMSU (18-7, 9-2) defeated UVU (12-14, 7-4) in three sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-15).
After falling into a quick 2-0 hole in the opening set, a couple of Madison Dennison kills helped the Wolverines take the lead at 5-4. The Aggies tied the score and retook the lead with consecutive scoring plays, when after several key blocks UVU was able to tie the score at 10-10. NMSU reeled off three straight points to take a three point lead, its largest of the set, before an Alexis Davies kill stopped the Aggie run. After some back and forth, the teams found themselves deadlocked again at 19-19 before another Davies kill gave the Wolverines their second lead of the set. Despite this late lead, the Wolverines were unable to hang on as the Aggies snatched up a first set win by the narrowest of margins.
The second set began with two quick UVU scores, first on an Aggie service error followed by an Izzie Hinton block, before NMSU evened things up at 4-a-piece to make the first of five ties in the set. After trading points for several plays, the teams found themselves still knotted up at 8-8 before NMSU pulled off a 5-0 run to take a 13-8 lead. The Wolverines battled back with consecutive scores to cut the deficit to three, but the Aggies were able to respond as their lead grew to eight at 20-12. A late UVU comeback bid was denied as NMSU held on to take a 2-0 lead.
Following a hotly contested first and second set, the Wolverines came out flat in the third. After a Lexi Thompson kill tied the score at 1-1 in the third set, the Aggies took a lead that they would retain for the remainder of the set. A kill from Megan Boudreaux pulled the Wolverines to within one at 9-8, but the Aggies responded with a 6-1 run. The NMSU lead would grow to as many as 11 before the end as the Aggies won the third set to complete the sweep of UVU.
Lexi Thompson paced the Wolverines with 13 kills, while Sierra Starley led all players in assists with 29 and Madison Dennison added four blocks.
Next up for the Wolverines is a showdown with conference foe UT Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, Tex., on Saturday, Nov. 4.