Nov. 5, 2011
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The University of New Mexico volleyball team ended its two-match road swing with a, 3-1, victory over the UNLV Rebels Saturday afternoon.
The Lobos picked up a much needed win over the Rebels after having lost to SDSU two nights earlier. Currently, the Lobos are in fifth place in the Mountain West, and their victory over the Rebels puts them one game behind fourth-place Wyoming. UNM will face the Cowgirls at 6 p.m. on Nov. 10 on the MountainWest Sports Network in Albuquerque.
"We have to keep pushing harder as we move forward to the conference tournament," head coach Jeff Nelson said after the Lobos victory.
The victory was a much needed one for UNM, but the Lobos certainly need to continue to improve if they want to obtain their goal of winning the MW. One thing the Lobos can definitely take away from this win is they grinded for it. In games past if the Lobos lost a set they would tend to get down on themselves. Not in this case, however, as the Lobos kept their composure after losing the third set, finishing off the rebels in four.
"That is one transition we have made in the past few weeks," Nelson said. "We are getting the confidence to battle at the end of the match."
Game One: Lobos 25, UNLV 20
The Lobos came out sluggish and fell behind early, 6-2, to UNLV. Head coach Jeff Nelson was not happy about what he was seeing from his team, so he called a timeout in an effort to get his players' heads back in the match. The Lobos responded by reeling off four-straight points to tie the match up at 6-6. From there, it was back-and-forth between the two teams until UNM pulled ahead, 18-15. UNM got its three-point lead by way of two kills from Kelly Williamson and a service ace by Mariah Agre. From there, the Lobos didn't let up, as they outscored UNLV, 7-5, to take the first set, 25-20. Williamson led the Lobos offensively with five kills and was followed by fellow senior Ashley Rhoades, who recorded four.
Game Two: Lobos 25, UNLV 22
The second set was very evenly played. UNLV held a slight lead early over the Lobos, 11-10. The Lobos and Rebels went on to exchange points up until the set was decided. The Lobos scored three-straight points to finally break the stalemate and win the set, 25-22. There were three lead changes and 11 ties overall in the second set. Rhoades went off, recording seven kills in the set to give her a game-high 11 after just two games of play. Allison Buck was, as always, consistent on the defensive end for the Lobos. The senior had double-digit digs after two sets with 10, inching her closer and closer towards the No. 1 spot on the UNM all-time career digs list. Buck trails only Gayle Tripp, who recorded 1,578 digs in her career, for the top spot.
Game Three: UNLV 25, Lobos 16
The third set was one the Lobos would have liked to have forgotten. UNLV jumped on the Lobos from the start, building a 10-4 lead that forced Nelson to call for time. The Rebels expanded their lead to 20-10, in due part to Candice Thomas' performance. Thomas was in the Lobos' heads, as she had seven kills by the end of the second set. The Lobos couldn't find an answer to anything UNLV threw at them as the Rebels took the set, 25-16. Williamson and Rhoades continued to pace the Lobos offensively with 12 and 13 kills, respectively.
Game Four: Lobos, 25, UNLV 23
The Lobos came out ready to prove that the third set was a fluke. UNM quickly jumped out to a 6-3 lead, and looked as if it had shaken the cobwebs from game three. UNLV battled back, however, taking the lead away from the Lobos, 11-10. After UNLV took the lead, both team traded points until UNLV was able to come up with a 22-19 lead. Coach Nelson had to call a timeout before the Lobos saw things slip away. UNM rallied, scoring four straight to take the lead, 23-22. UNM finally got itself to match point, 24-23, and that is when Chantale Riddle ended things emphatically with a nasty spike through the middle of the defense.
UNM improves to 14-11 with the victory and gets back to .500 in the MW with a record of 6-6. Next up the Lobos will host Wyoming and Colorado State at Johnson Center on Nov. 10 and 12, respectively. The match against Wyoming will be televised by the MountainWest Sports Network.