Oct. 6, 2011
Albuquerque, N.M. - Sometimes it takes a tough loss to embolden a team. Coming off a difficult 3-1 loss to rival New Mexico State in Las Cruces on Tuesday, the Lobos returned home and demolished the Rebels of UNLV 3-0 in front of an announced crowd of 1,860 at Johnson Center.
"The tough loss at New Mexico State really got us refocused," said senior outside hitter Kelly Williamson. "We need to do well in conference and it's always that the next day is an opportunity to shine, and we took that to heart."
And took it to heart they did. As head coach Jeff Nelson noted, "we really got after it. We probably had our toughest practice of the year yesterday." And it showed, as UNM took no time in routing the Rebels, even after a tightly contested first set that the Lobos won, 25-22. But after that, the Lobos became almost unstoppable, especially in their hitting percentage, where they set their season high at .347, well above the previous high of .317 set on Sept. 10 against Portland State. Chantale Riddle hit .500 (her best percentage in a three-set match, which Nelson described as "a ridiculous performance") en route to recording 11 kills, while Kelly Williamson notched 14 kills and a .370 hitting percentage and Ashley Rhoades contributing 11 kills of her own.
Game One: Lobos 25, UNLV 22
In the first game, the Lobos rode both the energy of the crowd and a roller coaster ride of scoring, as both teams traded off scores, sometimes point-for-point. UNM would tally a point, only to have the Rebels come right back and score, which kept the game within two points until the Lobos took a 19-16 lead. The ladies managed to extend their lead to up to four at 23-19, and rode the momentum for a game one victory of 25-22. Led by seniors Ashley Rhoades's (six kills) and Kelly Williamson (five kills), the Lobos took the advantage in that area, outdueling UNLV 19 to 14 in that regard. However, the Rebels played the Lobos fairly closer in regard to hitting percentage (UNM's .371 to UNLV's .345), assists (15 to 14), and digs (10 to 9) and even out-blocked the Lobos 2 to 1.
Game Two: Lobos 25, UNLV 17
The Lobos came out a bit slower in the second set, falling behind early to the Rebels by a score of 7-4. However, UNM rocketed back and quickly knotted the game back up at 7-all and subsequently sparked a 19-8 Lobos' run to take the lead 23-15. The Lobos rode their torrid-scoring pace to closing out the second set, 25-17. Despite the slower start, the Lobos recorded their season-high in hitting percentage for any set, hitting .457, which was over sixty points higher than their old high of .389, set against Hampton on Sept. 2. The ladies were paced in their game two victory by their redshirt freshman Riddle and Williamson, who each recorded 10 kills apiece. The Lobos posted a scorching .457 hitting percentage the second set and were lead by Williamson's .714, Riddle's .700, and Lexi Ross's .429. Sophomore Mariah Agre registered 17 assists while senior libero Allison Buck tallied 6 digs.
Game Three: Lobos 25, UNLV 16
The third set started like the second ended with the Lobos jumping on top of the Rebels, 10-3, to start the set. UNLV tried to close the gap by scoring four straight, but UNM answered every attempt by maintaining a solid lead for the entirety of the set. Again, the Lobos rode their high-octane offense on their way to their third Mountain West victory. While their .222 hitting percentage wasn't up to the same astronomical level as in the second set, it was all the Lobos needed to overcome a dismal -.026 UNLV hitting percentage as Williamson posted another 4 kills compared to the Rebels' 9 as a team.