Lobo Volleyball -- August 29-30 -- Johnson Center
Who: Vs. Texas, UTEP, Seattle University
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The eyes of New Mexico will be on Texas in August. And Lobo volleyball coach Jeff Nelson is hoping there will be a whole lot of those eyes in Johnson Center looking at the match between his Lobos and one of the top volleyball programs in America.
“The Texas Longhorns are exceptional,” said Nelson. “They have been in the last four Final Fours and were national champions two years ago. They should come out of the blocks ranked in the top three and that’s exciting for our fans and also our players.
“We really need to promote this match. If we can get a lot of people out early, it usually carries over with our attendance the rest of the season. It gets our fans excited early.”
For sure, this is a game fans should get excited over. The Longhorns are exceptional. The Lobos are very, very good and don’t roll over for anybody, but this will be a severe test for the 2014 Lobos. Consider just a few Longhorn facts:
-- The Longhorns were 27-3 last season and the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They were upset in the national semis.
-- Texas carried a 23-match win streak into those semifinals and had won ten consecutive NCAA Tournament matches prior to that loss.
-- The Longhorns are two-time national champions with the last title coming in 2012.
-- The Texas roster includes former Cleveland High star, Sara Hattis, who played club ball for Jeff Nelson and picked the Longhorns over the Lobos.
-- The Longhorns win about 75 percent of their matches and about 78 percent of their Big 12 matches.
-- They have been to the NCAA Tournament 30 times and the Final Four nine times.
What these facts and stats basically are saying is that Nelson’s Lobos get to take a shot at one of the members of the Royal Court of women’s volleyball. And Lobo fans get to benefit from the battle.
“The team is ready for this and it’s time to challenge them to play at a higher level,” Nelson said of his Lobos. “If we handle the ball well, we can play with anybody.
“Texas might be the most athletic team in the country, but we are pretty athletic, too. They are very good and we need to see how we match up with a team at their level. We are excited about this match and I’m sure the community will be excited, too.”
The Texas Longhorns will be in Johnson Center on August 29 or August 30. The game day is still being juggled around because the New Mexico football team plays host to UTEP on August 30 (Saturday) and the kickoff time for that game is not yet set in stone.
Nelson said if his Lobos decide to play Texas on Friday he will try to form a doubleheader on Saturday with Bob Davie’s football team. Nelson’s Lobos also play UTEP and Seattle that weekend in Johnson Center.
“This is a weekend we can do some big things with in marketing our sport and giving our fans a huge weekend of volleyball,” said Nelson. “We had great gate success when we brought in Stanford and Nebraska and Texas is at the same level.”
The Lobos are 6-4 vs. Texas with a 2-1 record in Albuquerque. New Mexico and Texas last faced each other across the net on Nov. 11, 1995 with the ‘Horns winning 3-0 (5-15, 4-15, 1-15).
New Mexico Volleyball 2014 Schedule:
Seattle University Johnson Center
UTEP Johnson Center TBA
Texas Johnson Center TBA
4 at Hawaii Stan Sheriff Ctr 7:30pm
5 St Johns Stan Sheriff Ctr 5pm
6 Oregon Stan Sheriff Ctr 3:30pm
12 Montana State Johnson Center 7:30pm
13 Bethune Cookman Johnson Center 1pm
13 UC Irvine Johnson Center 7:30pm
19/20 AT SMU Tournament(SMU, College of Charleston, Houston Baptist)
25 at SJSU* Event Center 7pm
27 at Nevada* Virginia St Gym 1pm
2 Utah State* Johnson Center TBA
4 Boise State* Johnson Center 12 noon
9 at SDSU * Aztec Court 7pm
11 at UNLV* COX Pavillion 3pm
16 Colorado State* Johnson Center 7pm
18 Wyoming* Johnson Center 7pm
20 New Mexico State Johnson Center 7pm
23 Nevada * Johnson Center 7pm
25 SJSU* Johnson Center 2pm
30 at Boise St* Bronco Gym 7pm
1 at Utah State* Dee Glen Smith 7pm
6 UNLV* Johnson Center 7pm
8 SDSU* Johnson Center 7pm
13 at Wyoming* Sports Complex 7pm
15 at CSU* Moby Arena 1pm
22 at Fresno State* Save Mart Center 1pm
25 Air Force* Johnson Center 7pm