The New Mexico State volleyball team improved to 4-0 on the season with a 3-1 (17-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-7) victory over Cincinnati to open the La Quinta Invitational. Meredith Hays finished a career-high five service aces including four during an 11 point run on serve in the fourth set. The sophomore also finished with 13 kills. Desiree Scott had a career night finishing with eight kills on nine swings hitting .889.
The Aggies dropped the first set 25-18 after Cincinnati broke a 5-5 tie with a 5-0 run. The Aggies closed to within four at 11-7 but a four point run by the Bearcats gave them a 15-7 lead and they maintained a comfortable advantage the rest of the way as the Aggies had a difficult time with the Bearcat block. The Aggie offense was held to a -.030 hitting percentage committing eight attack errors while recording just seven kills.
Set two began with a pair of runs by each team as the Aggies scored the first three points followed by four in a row from Cincinnati. The Aggies held a 14-10 lead and extended it to 18-13 but a 3-0 run cut the Aggies' lead to 18-16. After a timeout the Aggies pushed the lead to four at 20-16 but three straight Bearcat points cut the Aggies' lead to one at 20-19. Trailing 22-20 the Bearcats scored three straight points to take a 23-22 lead but the Aggies responded scoring the final three points of the set to win 25-23 tying the match 1-1.
Coming out of the intermission the Aggies fell behind early in set three as a 5-0 scoring run put the Bearcats up 6-3. The Aggies tied the set on a 3-0 scoring run but a 7-3 run by Cincinnati left the Aggies trailing 13-9. The Aggies responded with a 3-0 run to cut the deficit to one at 13-12 and trailed by one at 15-14. Another 3-0 run by the Aggies gave them a 17-15 lead in the set. After a Cincinnati point the Aggies scored four more consecutive points to take a 21-16 lead. The two teams traded points and the Aggies then won three of the final four points of the set to win 25-18 taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set saw Cincinnati score the first point but New Mexico State responded with a 6-0 run to grab an early 6-1 lead. Cincinnati outscored the Aggies 5-3 over the next eight points to cut the deficit to 9-6 but the Aggies would win 14 consecutive points to take a commanding 23-6 lead. Cincinnati would finally break the Aggie scoring run but a service ace by Bradley Nash, the Aggies' tenth of the match, ended the set with the Aggies winning 25-7.
The Aggies finished the match hitting .246 but hit .348 over the final three sets. The Aggies held Cincinnati to a .219 hitting percentage after the Bearcats hit .423 in the first set. Each team finished with seven total blocks while the Aggies outserved the Bearcats collecting 10 service aces to just five for Cincinnati.
The Aggies return to action on Saturday when they take on Drake at 12:30 p.m. (MDT) and Northwestern at 7:00 p.m. (MDT)