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Lobos Host Hilton Albuquerque Volleyball Classic This Weekend
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/23/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 23, 2006

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HILTON ALBUQUERQUE CLASSIC: The Lobos host the second annual Hilton Albuquerque Classic, welcoming Utah State, UC Riverside and Stephen F. Austin. The Lobos won the tournament last year with a 3-2 defeat over Syracuse.

Action begins Friday at 4:30 p.m. with UC Riverside taking on SFA. New Mexico opens the tournament with Utah State at 7 p.m. SFA and Utah State resume play at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, followed by the Lobos and UC Riverside at noon. After a short break, Utah State and UC Riverside kick off the evening session at 4:30 p.m. while the Lobos play Stephen F. Austin at 7 p.m. CSTV's GameTracker and live video streaming are available for all Lobo games and is free of charge at www.GoLobos.com. GameTracker is available for the neutral games as well.

IN THE PAST: New Mexico has faced each of the three teams it hosts this weekend at least once in the program's 25 years as a member of the NCAA.

Against Utah State, the Lobos were 0-5 prior as an affiliate of the AIAW between 1975 and 1980. Since then, they have posted an 11-4 record against the Aggies, including a six-game win streak.

The Lobos lone match-up with the Highlanders of UC Riverside came in on Sept. 16, 2000 in Albuquerque, with the Lobos winning, 3-0.

UNM's only match against Stephen F. Austin came on Aug. 30, 2002, resulting in a 3-1 Ladyjacks victory at the Wichita State Tournament.

Head coach Kelley McKee was leading the Lobos against Stephen F. Austin in 2002, which is the only time she has faced the Ladyjacks. McKee has never coached against UC Riverside or Utah State.

On another note, the Aggies' head coach, Grayson DuBose, was former UNM coach Tom Peterson's assistant in 2001.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Utah State Aggies: Utah State returns two starters, plus its libero, from the 2005 season as it went 21-13 overall, finished in second-place in its inaugural season in the Western Athletic Conference with an 11-5 league record, and advanced to its third NCAA Tournament in the last seven years. Overall, Utah State returns just five letterwinners from the 2005 season, and also has a new head coach in Grayson DuBose. USU's returning starters are senior libero Kelsi Peterson, and junior outside hitters Beth Hodge and Amanda (Orgill) Nielson. Hodge was named to the Big West Conference all-freshman in 2003, while Nielson was named to the league's all-freshman team in 2004.

UC Riverside Highlanders: UC Riverside returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's team that went 16-11 overall and finished in sixth-place in the Big West Conference with a 4-10 league record. The Highlanders are picked to finish in eighth-place in the Big West in 2006 according to the league's coaches.

Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks: Stephen F. Austin, which is located in Nacogdoches, Texas, returns six starters and eight letterwinners from last year's team that went 28-3 on the season and finished in first-place in the Southland Conference with a perfect 19-0 record. The Ladyjacks are once again favored to win the Soutland Conference in 2006 according to the league's coaches, while five players were named to the conference's preseason team.

LOBOS EARN AVCA ACADEMIC HONOR: The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced the University of New Mexico volleyball team as one of its 54 NCAA Division I schools that have earned the Game PlanTM/AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2005-2006 season.

The award, initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors college and high school teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale during the school year. Nominating head coaches must be AVCA members. Each school receives a plaque, and each player a certificate commemorating the designation.

The Lobos set a new program high, posting a 3.43 team GPA in the spring semester.

Individually, junior Kelly Therkelsen placed on the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District second team. The Mountain West Conference honored four Lobo volleyball players as Scholar Athletes, the conference's most prestigious academic honor. Five Lobos placed on the MWC all-academic team in the Fall of 2005.

UNM PICKED TO PLACE 7TH IN MWC: A voting panel including the nine Mountain West Conference head coaches and selected media chose BYU and Utah as the co-favorites to win the 2006 MWC regular season title. The Cougars and Utes both collected six first-place votes and 116 total points. Colorado State topped UNLV for third place as the Rams totaled 101 points, while the Rebels had 83 points. Colorado State tallied two first place votes. San Diego State and Wyoming tallied 59 points each to tie for fifth place, and were followed by New Mexico, TCU and Air Force.

A SEASON TO REMEMBER: Senior Kelly Therkelsen is poised to have an unforgettable senior season. She enters the year third on New Mexico's career block assists list. With 250, she needs three to claim second place from Laurel Luman. To claim the record however, she will have to have her best production ever, needing 184 to break the record set by Chelsea Sondrup last season.

Therkelsen is also on the career total blocks list, tied for ninth with 256. She needs 71 to claim second and 210 to set the record.

MILLER, MICAELSEN REDSHIRT 2006 SEASON: Sophomore outside hitter Michelle Miller and freshman setter Jade Michaelsen will redshirt the 2006 volleyball season. Miller is sitting out due to a tear in her ACL during the spring at the Arizona Invitational. Michaelsen, who is the third setter on the Lobos roster, will wait to have her freshman season next year, ensuring herself more playing time in the future.

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