Nov. 5, 2010
Lobo Women's Volleyball
Friday: Lobos 3, TCU 0 (25-22, 25-14, 25-17)
Up Next: No. 14 CSU, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Johnson Center
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It is a victory the Lobos put into their rearview mirror with a sigh of relief for at least three reasons:
1- Revenge is sweet and New Mexico's 3-0 romp over the TCU Horned Frogs Friday night in Johnson Center provides payback for TCU's surprising 3-0 sweep over the Lobos in Fort Worth.
3- The win raises UNM's league mark to 8-3, which is huge because UNM (16-8 overall) is in a dogfight with Utah for the second spot in the Mountain West Conference race and the Lobos still have to visit Salt Lake City.
3- Finally, the Lobos can look ahead to what goes down as the match of the year in Johnson Center: A visit by the No. 14-ranked Colorado State Rams this coming Thursday.
You can tell the Lobos can't wait to jump ahead to CSU's visit and that really has nothing to do with the 2010 MWC crown. Lobo coach Jeff Nelson has pretty much conceded that title to the 21-2 Rams, who are undefeated in league play at 10-0.
However, that doesn't mean the Lobos don't think they can't upset the Rams in Johnson Center. Not only that, the Lobos love to play underdog against ranked opponents and this talented Lobo team should have a net full of confidence when CSU visits.
The Lobos are on a nice, five-game roll since they fell 3-0 at Colorado State. The Lobos stayed sharp for the Horned Frogs' visit, winning 25-22, 25-14 and 25-17.
UNM's Ashley Rhoades had another solid net game with 12 kills off a .550 hitting percentage. Senior Jade Michaelsen had 40 assists to further her lead as UNM's all-time assist leader. Senior Taylor Hadfield had 11 kills.
TCU's Irene Hester had 11 kills, but seven attack errors. Net miscues hurt the Frogs as they hit .111 as a team -- 37 kills on 117 attacks. TCU fell to 13-11 overall and 4-6 in MWC play.
The Frogs came out fighting in the first game battling out of a 10-5 deficit into a 13-all tie with UNM. A smash by Rhoades pushed UNM up 17-14. CSU cut it to 17-16 before UNM went back up 20-17 on a kill by Meeter. A Williamson kill gave UNM a comfortable 23-19 lead and UNM held on for the 25-22 win. The difference in the first game might have been attack errors: five for TCU, two for UNM.
The Lobos wasted no time in game two showing their overall superiority. The Lobos ran to a quick 11-2 lead with the 11th point coming off a Williamson kill. The Lobos then posted leads of 14-4, 16-5 and 19-9 in running to the easy 25-14 win.
TCU actually had a 2-1 lead in game three and trailed UNM 11-10, before UNM rolled to a 20-11 lead off a Rhoades' kill. The Lobos coasted in for the 25-17 win with Hadfield ending the match on a kill off a Michaelsen set.
The Lobos are off until CSU's Thursday's visit. The Rams play Air Force on Saturday in Fort Collins, but that game probably is a formality in having an undefeated league team step into Johnson Center. The Rams' also are coming off an impressive 3-0 sweep at San Diego State and a 3-1 home win over visiting UNLV.
If CSU beats Air Force, the Rams will fly into Albuquerque on a 12-game win streak. CSU coach Tom Hilbert is now the winningest head coach in CSU history, in any sport. Hilbert has 353 wins as a Ram.
The Rams have a number of outstanding attributes as a team, but they can be very impressive at the net in killing the ball and blocking the ball. In one win against UNLV, the Rams had 10 block assists.
What this means is that the Rams are very good, talented and, yeah, road tough. Which makes UNM vs. CSU a must-see on Thursday.