Sept. 20, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. --- The fans in McKale Center could not be sure which team was going to show up in each set of tonight's match-up between No. 21 Arizona and New Mexico in the second round of the 2009 Arizona Invitational by Marriott University Park. Arizona edged out New Mexico, 3-2 (26-24, 14-25, 12-25, 25-14, 15-13), in a roller coaster of emotions.
The Lobos (8-3) looked like they might roll through the first set, building up to a 14-8 lead after a kill by Taylor Hadfield and back-to back kills by Lisa Meeter. But Arizona capitalized on several Lobo errors to tie the set at 17-17. Big blocks by Anna Lehne put UNM back up 22-18, but Arizona stayed in the hunt and got to 24-24. The Wildcats put together a kill and a service ace for the win, 26-24.
In the second set, UNM was a bit slow out of the gate, getting behind, 4-3, before going on a 10-0 run to take a 13-4 lead, while Allison Buck held serve for the Lobos. After a Lobo attack error and a Wildcat service error, 14-5, Hadfield placed a service ace, Lehne put down a solo block and the Wildcats put a ball out of bounds, for a 17-5 lead. UA pushed to get back in the set by cutting the Lobo lead to five at 18-13. But the Lobos got some big plays to put the lead back to 23-13 and finished it off with a block by Ashley Rhoades and Rachel Barber and an ace by Jade Michaelsen, 25-14.
The third set was more of the same with UNM gradually building a lead to start the set, then pulling away in the end. Lehne put down two big kills, followed by a Hadfield service ace to get UNM to 12-5. UA could not catch up as a service ace by Buck served an ace and Kelly Williamson's kill put the Lobos up 17-8. Williamson put down two kills and Hadfield got a rolling attack to drop in off the net for a 21-9 lead. Hadfield put down two more kills, along with a Meeter kill, and Lehne finished it off, 25-12.
It was a change of roles in the fourth set, as Arizona took 4-0 and 10-2 leads and never looked back. The Wildcats quieted the Lobos, 25-14 to force the fifth set.
After the teams swapped points to 6-6, UA's Tiffany Owens put down a kill and a block on back-to-back plays to give the Wildcats an 8-6 lead on the court switch. Owens put down one more kill, 9-6, before UNM could get back on the board with a kill by Williamson, 9-7. UA kept the Lobos just out of reach at 11-8, but UNM cut the lead to 11-10 with a kill by Rhoades and a UA error. Key plays by UA put the Wildcats at match point, 14-11. But a timely UA error and a kill by Lehne put the score at 14-13. UA's Dana Hutchison put down a kill to win the set and match, 15-13.
The Lobos had three players with double digit kills led by Hadfield with 15, Meeter with 14 and Lehne with 10. Lehne also had six blocks, including two solo stops. UA, 10-0 on the season, was led by Owens with 29 kills.
UNM out-hit Arizona .211 to .116.
Earlier in the day Arizona beat Tulane, 3-0, in the first round of the Arizona Invitational.
UNM wraps up the tournament on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. (MT) with a match against Conference USA foe Tulane. Arizona will play UTEP in Sunday morning for a chance to hold the tournament title outright.