Sept. 17, 2011
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Lobos finished up the Pitt Blue and Gold Classic on a good note as they defeated the Temple Owls, 3-1. UNM will return home after its east coast road trip with a 2-1 record.
Temple gave the Lobos a little bit of trouble, but UNM was able to regain its composure to down the Owls. Senior Ashley Rhoades had another fantastic night offensively, recording 18 kills, while fellow senior Kelly Williamson added 12 kills to go along with a career-high 19 digs.
The Lobos didn't achieve their goal of going undefeated in the tournament, but they did some things they can build off of heading into conference play.
"I was happy with the way we bounced back," Nelson said. "Losing that tough match against Pittsburgh and all the stuff that happened, I was just happy with the way we finished."
Game One: Lobos 25, Temple 16
The Lobos cruised to victory in the first set against Temple, winning 25-16. Rhoades led the Lobos in kills with five and redshirt freshman Chantale Riddle followed with four. Backup setter Jordan Russell saw some playing time for the Lobos in the first set, recording three very nice assists. After its play in the first set, it looked as if New Mexico wanted to make short work of its opponent.
Game Two: Temple 25, Lobos 16
Temple flipped the script on the Lobos in the second set. UNM trotted out some of its less experienced players in an attempt to get them some more playing time, but things didn't go as planned. Temple took the early lead over the Lobos and was able to keep the pressure on them. Once the Lobos fell behind, 13-8, coach Nelson was forced to call a timeout. Things didn't get better for the Lobos, however, as Temple took the game 25-16. The biggest reason the Lobos lost the set was due to multiple errors. The Lobos committed seven attack and four service errors. The Lobos had also failed to record a block up to this point in the match.
Game Three: Lobos 25, Temple 22
One noticeable change the Lobos made heading into the third set was they decided to insert Mariah Agre back into the lineup. Russell had done a fine job in place of Agre, but, for whatever reason, the lineup change seemed to stifle the Lobos in the second set. The Lobos found themselves in the trenches with the Owls, as the two teams were dead even with the score knotted at 10-10. Williamson began to come to life for the Lobos, both offensively and defensively. The senior racked up five kills and six digs in the set, giving herself a double-double (10 K, 16 D) heading into game four. True freshman Jayla Trombley had a couple of nice kills herself to give her four for the match. Behind Williamson, Trombley and Rhoades, the Lobos beat Temple, 25-22.
Game Four: Lobos 25, Temple 21
Temple jumped out to an early 7-5 lead in the fourth set. The Lobos stayed headstrong, though, and battled back to even things up at 11-11. Temple's Elyse Burkert had stood out for the Owls the entire match as well as in the set. Burkert had four kills in the set, finishing with 19 total. The Lobos continued to be paced by Rhoades offensively. The middle blocker had herself quite a fourth set, recording five kills to give her 18 for the match. With Rhoades leading the way, the Lobos beat the Owls 25-21 for a 3-1 match win. Williamson finished the match with 19 digs, crushing her previous career high of 12.
The Lobos finish the Pitt Blue and Gold Classic with a 2-1 record, giving them a 7-3 record overall. The Lobos will next face TCU at 7 p.m. on Sept. 23 in Johnson Center as conference play begins.