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The New Mexico State University volleyball team cruised to a 3-0 sweep of rival University of Texas- El paso in the Battle of I-10 on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at the Pan American Center.
The Aggies notched their 17th victory out of the last 18 meetings, third straight, with the 25-21, 25-14, 25-15 decision over the Miners.
“What we wanted in these matches was competition and competitiveness, maybe an opportunity to experiment a little bit. We did that a little,” Head Coach Mike Jordan said, “I think when nobody gets hurt in a nonconference game and you beat your rival, you have got to be happy with that outcome.”
The senior tandem of Nathalie Castellanos and All-America candidate Gwen Murphy lead the way for NM State. A Vado native out of Gadsden, Castellanos had probably her best match of the season with 14 kills and a stunning .650 hitting percentage. Murphy continued to show why she is one of the best players in the conference with 10 kills and a hitting percentage of .643.
Tatyana Battle also played a large role in the win. The freshman registered nine kills and a .438 hitting percentage.
Junior Tatum Winter set the pace for the Miners with 7 kills and a hitting percentage of .429.
The Miners kept the first set close with four ties and only letting the Aggies jump out to a five-point lead at the most. However, NM State claimed the set 25-21.
The second set was all Aggies, as they jumped out to a 10-2 lead to open the frame. However, UTEP battled back to make it 12-7, but NM State ran away with the set winning it 25-14.
The Miners didn’t go down with out a fight, as they forced six ties in the third set. UTEP kept it close all the way to 12-10, but the Aggies took the set over and clinched the victory with a 25-15 decision in the set.
NM State is back in action on Saturday, Oct. 24 as they travel to UTRGV to start the second half of the WAC schedule. First serve is set for 11 a.m.
“I expect us to improve. I don’t expect us to stay the same. We are going to challenge them in practice. We’ve been pretty good at resting people. We’re going to start going a little bit harder now. Making two or three days a week productive, hard practices that challenge us. I expect to see improvement,” said Jordan.