(Courtesy: NMSU Athletics)
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Lia Mosher hit a career-high 16 kills and the New Mexico State volleyball team defeated Tarleton State 25-15, 25-19, 21-25, 25-14, in its return to the Pan American Center to clinch a share of the Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship and the number one seed at next month’s WAC Tournament.
Victoria Barrett also set the school record for service aces in a four-set match with seven.
It was the first home volleyball match for the Aggies since Nov. 16, 2019.
“I thought a lot of people played really well,” said head coach Mike Jordan.
“They’ve got a couple of pretty good weapons over there and one of them (Tarleton right-side Lauren Kersey) scored a lot but I thought we did a pretty good job overall.”
NM State (12-1, 12-1 WAC) rode four early kills from Mosher to a 15-4 lead at the media timeout of the first set.
Then, freshman Victoria Barrett got hot, recording three kills in NM State’s final 10 points to clinch the 25-15 set-one win for the Aggies.
Mosher and Barrett each hit five kills in the opening set.
Tarleton (10-10, 6-7 WAC) battled to start the second set with NM State leading 9-7 early.
However, a 9-3 run put the Aggies out of reach at 18-10 before eventually closing the set, 25-19.
NM State’s defense was terrific in the set, allowing the Texans to hit just .061 in the frame.
Unfortunately, NM State couldn’t ride its defensive momentum into the third frame as Tarleton raced out to an 18-12 lead.
The Aggies closed to within two points, 22-20, before the Texans finished strong to take the set, 25-21. NM State hit .242 in the set but allowed Tarleton to hit .250.
The fourth set was back-and-forth with NM State holding a 14-12 edge as Barrett stepped to the service line.
After two kills from Shaney Lipscomb and a block from Lipscomb and Lindsay Blakey opened the lead to 17-12, Barrett dealt the knockout blow with five-straight aces to propel NM State to a 25-14 victory in the final set.
Mosher hit .636 with 16 kills on 22 swings to lead the way for an Aggie offense that hit .311 on the afternoon.
Along with her record-setting performance at the service line, Barrett hit 14 kills on .310 hitting to go with 13 digs for her third double-double of the season.
Lipscomb also added double-digit kills with 12 to go with four blocks while Blakey finished her afternoon with eight kills and six blocks.
Senior setter Natalie Mikels dished out 27 assists and moved into sixth in the Aggie record book for career aces with two to push her to 134 for her career.
Carly Aigner-Swesey also had a solid outing for the Aggies with 24 dimes and nine digs while freshman Libero Darian Markham added 13 digs.
NM State returns to the court with a chance to clinch its second-straight WAC regular-season championships tomorrow, March 15, at 12 p.m. (MT) inside the Pan American Center.
No fans are allowed but the match is set to stream live on the WAC Digital Network.