LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Aggies (9-6, 2-2 WAC) struggled early and often in a rare home loss – falling to Utah Tech (7-6, 1-3 WAC) on Saturday afternoon.
Offensive woes did much of the damage for the Aggies as they were held to a .155 hitting percentage – a number well below their .212 season average. Aggie attackers also compiled a season-high 29 attacking errors while adding 13 errors from the service line.
In contrast to the Aggies’ struggles as a team, sophomore outside hitter Sidney McIntosh put the best performance of her young career on display as she recorded a career-best 10 kills on just 19 swings.
On the back end, Libero Darian Markham reached 20-plus digs for the third time this season as she tallied 21 total digs. In addition, Fay recorded 32 assists after notching a career-high 35 in the win on Thursday. The Iowa City, Iowa, native also racked up a pair of aces after entering the day ranked eighth in the nation in aces per set.
With the two sides tied through the first eight combined points, the visiting Trailblazers scored the following seven points to take an 11-4 lead before a Kacia Brown kill could put an end to the streak.
From that point, NM State would be fighting an uphill battle in the opening set before falling 15-25 to open the match.
Utah Tech would take hold of an early three-point lead in the second set following a three-point run that included back-to-back hitting errors.
Trailing 10-7, NM State managed to score three of the ensuing four points to climb back within one point. However, later in the set, the Trailblazers would put together a run of six unanswered points to go out front 19-12. This run would ultimately prove to be the difference maker in the set as UT went on to win the set 25-17.
The Aggies began to turn things around in the third set as they put together an early 4-0 run that was capped off by consecutive Birtcil kills – giving NM State a 5-2 lead. Utah Tech would eventually draw the score even at eight points before Mike Jordan‘s squad responded with a five-point streak powered by a pair of kills from Sidney McIntosh.
Later, kills from Molly Johnson and Katie Birtcil followed by a combo block involving Taylor Snow and Rylee Fay gave the Aggies a commanding 18-12 lead. The Aggies would only increase the distance on the scoreboard as they went on to win the set, 25-16.
The Aggies battled closely with the Trailblazers to start the set before Utah Tech put together an eight-point run to take a 14-5 run.
NM State punched back with a three-point run, however, the Trailblazers would put an end to the Aggie surge by scoring the following two points.
Eventually, the Aggies would reduce the lead to just five points, however, another Utah Tech run would put the visitors back ahead by nine (23-14). Utah Tech would later close out the set and match with a 25-18 win in the final frame.
- Sidney McIntosh blew past her previous career-high kill mark of six kills as she finished with 10 kills in just her fifth appearance of the season. This included a seven-kill third set.
- Rylee Fay posted her second-straight match with 30-plus assists and fourth match of the sort this season as she finished with 32 on the day.
- Katie Birtcil managed double-digit kills for the 10th time this season as she finished with a team-high 16 terminations.
The Aggies hit the road for a pair of games in the Lone Star State as they take on Sam Houston in Huntsville, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 8, before traveling to Edinburg, Texas, to conclude the season series with UT Rio Grande Valley.