Aug. 28, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The crowd at the Johnson Center came alive as the New Mexico volleyball team beat Long Island, 3-0, on Tuesday night to improve to 4-0 on the season. It is the best start to a Lobo volleyball season since 1994.
"The crowd was awesome!" said UNM head coach Jeff Nelson. "Thank you to all the students that came out. All the fraternities and sororities, they were absolutely fantastic! It made a huge difference for us. It really impacted the other team with all their noise. It was just loud all night and we are grateful for that support."
The Johnson Center crowd got into the match early as the Lobos went on a 7-1 run to start the action in Game One. Junior libero Gayle Tripp held serve for that stretch, while the Blackbirds struggled with their attack.
Long Island settled down and forced their way back into the game, going on an 8-2 run to even the score at nine.
The teams battled back and forth with neither team building a decisive lead, until freshman outside hitter Lisa Meeter put New Mexico ahead 25-22 with the first of her two service aces on the evening.
New Mexico got the serve at 26-23 on a Long Island service error and Tripp was able to hold serve again, building a 29-23 lead.
UNM All-America candidate Jeanne Fairchild put Game One away for the Lobos with a kill, 30-24.
Game Two started out in similar fashion with the Lobos building a 6-2 lead, before Long Island evened up the score at nine.
After being tied at 15, New Mexico was able to gradually build a lead until the final six-point advantage, 30-24. Sophomore outside hitter Rose Morris had the game-winning kill.
In Game Three, the Lobos kept Long Island at arms-length after the Blackbirds closed to within one at 3-2 and 5-4. New Mexico built up to a double-digit lead at 26-16 and pushed on to a 30-17 final for the match win.
"It was a great win for our team," said Nelson. "This team is in the (NCAA) tournament every year and are a really good team. That was exciting for us."
Fairchild led the team in kills with 12, while junior middle blocker Kerri Beck added 10 kills and a team-high three service aces and six blocks.
"I thought our serving was awesome with eight aces," said Nelson. "We got after it all night and took them out of their game. We also blocked really well tonight."
New Mexico will take its 4-0 season start on the road with weekend. The Lobos will be competing in the Hilton Phoenix/East Mesa Challenge hosted by Arizona State. Iowa State will be the Lobos first opponent on Friday, Aug. 31, at 3 p.m. (MDT) at Wells Fargo Arena. UNM will play host Arizona State later that evening at 8 p.m. and wrap up the tourney at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Northern Arizona.
New Mexico def. Long Island 30-24,30-24,30-17
Long Island (2-2) (Kills-aces-blocks) - WAGNER, Martina 11-0-5; RACIC, Martina 10-0-0; DYSON, Trevon 7-0-2; HEGGIE, Shleby 4-0-0; MILIN, Dunja 4-1-0; PERHAT, Toni 1-0-0; SIMIC, Svetlana 0-1-0; Totals 37-2-5.0. (Assists) - MILIN, Dunja 23. (Dig leaders) - WAGNER, Martina 10; RACIC, Martina 10
New Mexico (4-0) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Fairchild, Jeanne 12-0-3; Beck, Kerri 10-3-6; Meeter, Lisa 7-2-1; Morris, Rose 6-0-1; Michaelsen, Jade 4-0-5; Lehne, Anna 1-0-6; Phillips, Kelsi 0-1-0; Tripp, Gayle 0-2-0; Totals 40-8-12.0. (Assists) - Kwasigroch, Sarah 19; Michaelsen, Jade 13. (Dig leaders) - Tripp, Gayle 16; Phillips, Kelsi 11