UTPA Volleyball Opens WAC Era With Loss

In the first Western Athletic Conference contest in school history, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs volleyball team fell to the defending WAC champion New Mexico State University Aggies 3-1 on Saturday at the UTPA Fieldhouse in front of a season-best crowd of 939. The Broncs (10-7, 0-1 WAC) took the first set 25-20, but the Aggies (6-8, 1-0 WAC) won the final three sets, 25-14, 25-17 and 25-13. Freshman Anjan Janda led the Broncs with 10 kills. Senior Nycole Masaki had 31 assists. Junior Nausheen Merchant posted 16 digs. Masaki and sophomore Haley Durham tied for the team-high with five blocks each. Lauren Loerch led the Aggies with a match-high 13 kills, six digs and five kills. Desiree Scott finished with a match-high nine blocks and nine kills. Taylor Livoti had a team-high 33 assists and 17 digs. The Aggies jumped out to an 8-3 first set lead. A kill by Maria Kliefoth sparked a 4-0 run as the Broncs tied it up at 8-8. The Broncs and Aggies traded points from there, with the Broncs taking the lead for good on a Krysta Freitas kill that made it 15-14. Freitas also had the set winning kill to give the Broncs a 1-0 lead. The Broncs scored the first two points of the second set and led 3-2 on two kills by Alisha Watson and one by Janda. The Aggies tied it up on a service error by Watson and took the lead for good on back-to-back kills by Loerch. The Broncs were within 12-7 after a Janda kill, but the Aggies went on a 12-3 run to pull away and tie the match at 1-1. The Broncs again led 2-0 and 3-2 in the third set, but the Aggies responded with an 11-0 run to take a commanding lead en route to a 2-1 lead. The Broncs were within 5-3 early in the fourth set on a Kliefoth kill, but the Aggies scored seven of the next eight points to go up 12-4. The Broncs came back to pull within 13-7 on a Freitas kill, and 18-12 on a kill by San Benito alum Kasey Sanchez, but the Aggies closed the set on a 7-1 run to win the match.