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NM State fail to take a set in back-to-back losses to Western Kentucky

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Western Kentucky wrapped up the weekend with another sweep of the Aggies. For the first time this season, NM State (13-8, 6-4) failed to take a set in back-to-back matches.

WKU utilized a third-set hitting percentage of .324 to narrowly avoid heading to a fourth set, moving to 8-0 in CUSA and 18-4 overall. 

Set-by-set: NM State loses 0-3 (16-25, 15-25, 23-25)

WKU replicated their success from Friday in the opening moments of set one. After Kacia Brown put up a kill and an ace to start the match, the Hilltoppers went on a tear, ripping off a set in which they hit .310 as a team. The Aggies quickly found themselves down 22-9, and only put up a hitting percentage of .083 in the frame. While they did manage a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to seven points, WKU rattled off three kills in the next four points, closing it out 25-16.

The second set was all about momentum-building runs. WKU started the frame with a 4-1 lead. NM State responded with a 4-0 run of their own, taking the lead back for the final time in the second. From that point on, the Hilltoppers put together five streaks of three or more consecutive points won. Adding in the aforementioned 4-1 run to open the set, WKU outscored NM State 22-1 in the six pivotal stretches. Darian Markham put up 11 digs in the middle set, as part of her 19-dig performance in the match. Despite the senior’s best defensive efforts, the team’s sideout percentage of .375 was too low to stop the Hilltoppers.

For the second consecutive match, the third set would prove to be the final one. On Saturday, however, it was the Aggies’ best of the entire weekend. The back-and-forth affair featured three lead changes and 13 ties. Anji Vishwanathan got involved, putting up a kill, a block solo and another block assist. Appearing in two sets, the sophomore middle blocker celebrated her birthday by getting in on more action than in recent matches. Her solo block led to one of the 13 ties, notching it up at 4-4. Ultimately, the Aggies had no answer for Kaylee Cox. The junior posted eight of her 23 kills in the final set, passing the 20-kill mark for the second consecutive match. Callie Bauer tallied more than 30 assists for the second time on the weekend. She set up her teammates 33 times, including the final point that ended the match at 25-23. 

Head Coach Mike Jordan, on the loss: “I’m disappointed with our execution today. WKU played really well. We had no answer for Kaylee Cox and were too inconsistent offensively.”

Up Next

The Aggies now turn to Alabama to take on Jacksonville State for a pair of matches. The Gamecocks will host NM State on Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21. Each match will be streamed live on ESPN+, and available to follow via StatBroadcast. Those links can be found at

Article Topic Follows: NMSU

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Rachel Phillips

NMSU Athletics


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