Aug. 25, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The New Mexico volleyball team (0-1) opened the Albuquerque Hilton Classic with a tough 3-1 loss to former assistant coach Grayson DuBose's Utah State Aggies. The Lobos battled with the Aggies and had chances to turn the game around but unforced errors led to their demise.
"We just made too many mistakes," head coach Kelley McKee said. "We need to stay calm and play the game."
Utah State opened game one with a 4-0 run and never looked back, going on to a 30-16 win. The Aggies' Beth Hodge was on fire, hitting .444 (5K-1E-9TA) on a team-high five kills and two aces. Freshman Allison Suiter led the Lobos, going a perfect 3-for-3 with no errors.
The teams battled in game two until Utah State's Melissa Larson stepped back to serve at 19 all. Larson led the Aggies on a 5-0 run that put the game out of reach, holding on for a 30-26 victory. Hodge again topped the Aggies' offense, hitting .556 (5K-0E-7TA) while sophomore Joelle Ingram took charge for the Lobos, going 2-for-3 with no errors (.667 attack percentage).
Trailing 26-28 in game three, the Lobos benefited from two unforced Utah State errors, putting the pressure on sophomore server Gayle Tripp. Senior Kelly Therkelsen and Ingram teamed up for a block, putting the Lobos up by one. Therkelsen, determined to win, slammed down a kill off a pass from sophomore Sarah Kwasigroch to keep the team alive with a 30-28 win.
Again, the Lobos found themselves with their backs against the wall in game four. Junior Jennifer Heasty and Ingram stuffed back Hailey Jeppson's attack, pulling the team within one at 25-26. But a Utah State kill and two Lobo errors put the game at match point for the Aggies. The Lobos rallied again, scoring two straight points but Utah State new exactly what to do, going to Hodge for the game-winning kill.
Therkelsen led the Lobos offensively, putting down 14 kills and three blocks with 10 digs. Ingram added 10 kills and a team-high eight blocks and four aces. Kwasigroch dished out a team-leading 38 assists and Tripp had a team-high 21 digs. Hodge finished with 17 kills for the Aggies.
"Kelly was exceptional tonight," McKee said. "She led our team emotionally and in every aspect of the game. Sarah also did a good job leading the team. They complimented each other well."
The Lobos return to action tomorrow at 12 p.m., taking on UC Riverside. The Highlanders were shut out by Stephen F. Austin in tonight's earlier match.