Sept. 30, 2010
Thursday: Lobos 3, Air Force 0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-13)
Saturday: UNLV at Lobos, 1 p.m., Johnson Center
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By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
In their quest for team chemistry and a convincing win, the Lobos probably need add a little perspective to their 3-0 pounding of the Air Force Falcons Thursday night at Johnson Center.
This was the height-challenged Air Force Falcons, a team that won no Mountain West Conference game in 2009 and is now 3-12 (0-2 MWC) on the year. Simply put, you are supposed to pound the Falcons and look good.
Which the Lobos did. But it gets harder at 1 p.m., Saturday when the UNLV Rebs visit looking to duplicate the Johnson Center win they posted over UNM in 2009.
"They (UNLV) has several big kids, who are capable of putting up big numbers," said Lobo coach Jeff Nelson. "We have to come out focused and ready to play."
UNM dominated the Falcons with defense, passing and net superiority. One Lobo, Ashley Rhoades, looked extremely good at the net. The 5-foot-11 junior had 14 kills against a single error in 32 attack opportunities. That comes out to a sizzling .406 hitting percentage.
"I thought Ashley did a really good job and Jade (Michaelsen) ran a pretty good offense for us," said Nelson. Michaelsen had 30 assists and seven digs.
Another Lobo, Lisa Meeter, continues to establish herself as one of the top all-around players in the conference. Meeter had a double-double with 10 kills and 12 digs.
Taylor Hadfield put away 10 kills against a single error on 18 attack opportunities for a .500 hitting percentage. UNM's backcourt was solid all night with Allison Buck and Amy Wong each getting nine digs.
The Falcons gave the Lobos a battle in the first game, but UNM's overall play and net dominance propelled the Lobos to their first MWC win of the season. The Lobos looked to be cruising when they shook out of a 13-all tie and jumped up 20-15. Air Force cut UNM's lead to 21-20 before the Lobos pulled away for the 25-22 win.
The second and third games saw the Lobos take control with runs that the Falcons couldn't match. UNM went up 15-8 and 21-12 in game two. The Lobos went up 16-7 and 22-10 in game three.
"That was more like it," said Nelson of games two and three. "Air Force came out hard like we knew they would, but we came out ready to play."
The win pushed UNM to 9-6 overall and evened their league slate at 1-1. UNM lost its MWC opener last week, 3-0 at San Diego State.
The Lobos' team attack percentage was .214 in game one, .258 in game two and a red-hot .500 in the third and final game. Air Force went .237, - (minus) .086 and .154. The Falcons got 12 kills from Caroline Kurtz, an Albuquerque St. Pius product.