Stevens: Lobos Get Bumped & Bruised in 3-0 Loss To No. 5 Nebraska
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/27/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 27, 2011

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Saturday: Nebraska 3, Lobos 0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-17)

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

It was a game of bumps and bruises on the scoreboard and maybe a bit to the University of New Mexico Lobos' egos, which might be a good thing.

Time to get better. Time to work harder.

"I was really disappointed," said Lobo Coach Jeff Nelson after his Lobos fell 25-16, 25-17 and 25-17 to the No. 5 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. "Nebraska was really good tonight. If we had played our best, I don't think we could have won. But we could have done some things a lot better."

One huge difference in the championships game of the MCM Elegante Lobo Classic played Saturday night in Johnson Center was the domination by the Cornhuskers at the net. Nebraska ended with 46 kills to 24 for UNM. The Huskers had 18 blocks and the Lobos had three stuffs.

But the Cornhuskers were good in the backcourt, too. That balance allowed Nebraska to sweep to the title in front of an outstanding Johnson Center crowd of 4,112.

"We have some work to do," said Nelson. "Some of our kids need to step up and be better than they were this weekend. Kelly (Williamson) took too many swings. But I thought in the backcourt the passing and the defense was outstanding."

Nebraska was led at the net by Gina Mancuso with 11 kills and Morgan Broekhuis and Hannah Worth with 10 kills each. Lauren Cook had 40 assists and 12 digs for Nebraska.

The Lobos got nine kills from Ashley Rhoades off 28 attempts for a modest .107 attack percentage. Williamson had six kills and eight errors off 33 attack opportunities. She hit a minus .061. The Lobos' attack percentage was .103, .000 and .030 for the three games. Nebraska went .333, .235 and .257.

"In the frontcourt, we made too many mistakes," said Nelson. "We didn't execute. Nebraska was firing tonight. When a team is that big and physical and passing that well ...."

Well, you lose three straight.

"We could have done a lot better," said Rhoades. "Our hitting was not up to par. Our defense was awesome. Our hitters weren't putting it away. They (Cornhuskers) are such a huge block.

"(The game was) a challenge to be smart. We have to outwork them, be smarter than them. Unfortunately, tonight we weren't playing smart."

Rhoades and Allison Buck made the all-tourney team for UNM. Buck led UNM with 12 digs vs. Nebraska. Mariah Agre had 20 assists, but a number of nice sets ended up in UNM spikes that came off Nebraska blocks. UNM is 1-1 on the season and Nebraska is 2-0.

Game One: Nebraska 25, Lobos 16

The Lobos were down 7-6 before the Cornhuskers pulled away using superior height at the net, but also added in solid defense. Nebraska got a lot of power at the net from Brooke Delano and Hannah Werth, each with five kills on 10 attempts. Nebraska ended the first game with 17 kills to only eight for the Lobos.

Each team had four errors at the net, but Nebraska's superior net game in had UNM on the defensive too much to match Nebraska's attack up front. Allison Buck had five digs for UNM and Mariah Agre and Miquella Lovato each had three digs. Nebraska' s kill percentage was .333 to 103 for UNM. Lobo Kelly Williamson had 16 attack opportunities and had only two kills in the game. Nebraska had 20 digs to 12 for UNM.

Game Two: Nebraska 25, Lobos 17

Pretty much the same stuff. Coach Nelson called time with his Lobos down 10-3. The Lobos were on their heels at bit. Again, Nebraska was controlling the game with its height at the net backed by solid defense. UNM came out of that timeout with a burst of energy and some good net work to cut the gap to 10-6. Nebraska called timeout at the 10-6 mark. Then the Cornhuskers again pulled away.

When the scored rolled to 18-11 Nelson tried another timeout. This one didn't work. Nebraska went up 20-12 and 24-15 before closing the Lobos out at 25-17. The Lobos were a bit more aggressive at the net, but also made more errors in the second game. The Lobos had eight kills in the game, but neutralized that with eight hitting errors - for a .000 attack percentage.

The Cornhuskers' percentage also went down to .235, but they only had to make eight digs in the second game thanks to UNM's hitting errors. Nebraska didn't record a block in Game One, but had eight total blocks in Game Two.

Game Three: Nebraska 25, Lobos 17

A huge factor in Game Three is energy. If you are down 0-2, you have to come out charged and try to reverse the dynamics of the match. If you are up 2-0, you need to make sure your team doesn't come out complacent, expecting to roll to the win.

The Lobos came out with good energy early and went up 4-2. However, Nebraska didn't come out of the locker room any shorter. Nebraska used three consecutive blocks and a monster spike to help the Huskers go up 6-4. Another Nebraska block made the score 7-5 and Nelson called his Lobos in for a huddle.

This game Nebraska didn't pull away until the end. The visitors went up 16-11, but UNM cut the gap to 16-13 and Nebraska asked for a huddle. UNM made it 17-15 before Nebraska drifted to 21-16 and UNM called a timeout. Another hammer spike by Worth put Nebraska up 22-17. Worth again: 23-17. The Huskers coasted in for the 25-17 win.

Saturday, August 22
7:00 PM - 
vs. Alumnae (Exhibition)
Friday, August 28
8:00 AM - 
at Belmont
3:00 PM - 
at Albany