Nov. 18, 2010
Lobo Volleyball - at Utah Utes
Thursday: Lobos 3, Utah 1 (26-24, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18)
Saturday: 7:30 p.m.; Lobo at Brigham Young, Provo, Utah
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The good finish the New Mexico Lobos hope to put on their 2010 season definitely didn't have a good start in Salt Lake City vs. the Utah Utes. The Lobos fell behind 21-11 and 20-10 in the first two games. However, the Lobos did throw out a good finish vs. the Utes, winning 3-1.
It wasn't always pretty and it definitely wasn't easy, but the end result was exactly the statement the Lobos wanted to make.
The two best teams in the Mountain West Conference are Lobos and the Colorado State Rams.
"We really need to win out," said Lobo senior Lisa Meeter who hammered Utah with 20 kills and frustrated them on the back with 13 digs. "We really needed to win at Utah. This win was huge. "It was a very hard (win). Utah is always a tough atmosphere. We had to grind it out today as a team."
The Utes were in reach of overtaking the Lobos for second place in the MWC. The match ended with the Lobos grabbing their eighth consecutive league win and pushing their overall mark to 19-8 and their league mark to 11-3.
Utah fell to 14-14 and 8-5. The Utes probably are shaking their heads trying to figure out how they lost this match. They went up 20-10 in two games and only won one of them. They had four players in double-figure kills. The outhit the Lobos .206 to .163.
The difference probably was Meeter up front (.341 hitting) and a tenacious Lobo defense paced by Allison Buck with 24 digs. UNM had 68 digs to 55 for Utah. The Utes also damaged their chances with 15 serving errors.
The Lobos visit Brigham Young at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Game One: Lobos 26, Utah 24
The Lobos were extremely polite guests in Game One. They played soft and let Utah power to leads of 7-3, 14-7 and 20-10. The Lobos who two games back smashed Colorado State finally decided to show up in Salt Lake City.
The Lobos surely were encouraged to make an appearance by coach Nelson, who had some fiery words for his team during timeouts with his team down 7-3 and 14-7. Still, the Utes weren't ready to roll over. They went up 18-8 and 20-10. Then the Lobos pulled momentum to their side of the net.
The Lobos went to work with solid all-around play. They cut Utah's lead to 21-16, 22-19 and 23-22. UNM was on a 12-2 run and Utah called a timeout. The Lobos had gone from ten down to one down.
Utah got to set point on a double hit by UNM: 24-22. Ashley Rhoades put one away to make it 24-23. Utah went wide on a spike and UNM had a 24-24 tie. A Rhoades' block made it 25-24, setting up an interesting conclusion.
The Lobos won the game 26-24 and then had the point taken away and then had the point returned. The controversy was whether UNM's Rhoades illegally reached over the net. The final decision gave UNM the amazing comeback win at 26-24.
Game Two: Utah 25, Lobos 19
The Utes definitely were rattled by wasting their 20-10 lead. They decided to give that lead another shot in Game Two.
Utah came back strong and again took control early. The Utes rolled to the same 14-7 lead they had in Game one. UNM cut it to 14-9 and 15-10. Utah then went up 20-10 off a 5-point run. The Utes had now matched the 20-10 lead they had in Game One.
The Lobos definitely won Game One with more aggressive play, but Utah also lost energy down the stretch. The Lobos put the pressure on the Utes again. When the Utah lead was cut to 21-15, the Utes burned a timeout.
This time the Utes did not let the Lobos steal the game away. UNM scratched to 22-18, but a long UNM serve at 24-19 ended any Lobo hopes for another amazing rally. Utah won 25-19 and the teams went into the half knotted a one game apiece.
Game Three -- Lobos 25, Utes 23
The first game after the break was a see-saw battle. UNM then worked into a 10-8 lead on errors by Utah. Meeter kept UNM up 11-9 on a spike that was blocked out. A Meeter spike, a Utah error and a Williamson spike gave UNM a 14-10 lead. Utah called time.
The Utes cut their hole to 14-12 before UNM threw out another rally. A Meeter spike, a Barber block and two Utah errors made it 20-13. Utah called a time, down by seven.
The Utes came out of their huddle and threw out a rally. When UNM's lead faded to 23-20, Nelson called time. Utah had some momentum, but UNM needed only two points to end Game Three. The Lobos do so many things well that it's tough to pull a victory away from them when they smell the win.
The Utes made it 24-23 before falling 25-23. The Lobos were up 2-1.
Game Four -- Lobos 25, Utah 18
The Lobos took control early and went up 14-10. Utah cut it to 15-14. Utah's 14th service error of the match gave UNM a 16-14 lead. Rhoades threw down a kill to make it 17-14. A Hadfield block pushed UNM up 19-15. A Meeter spike made it 20-15 for UNM and Utah called a timeout.
The Lobos were pulling away with a lot of defense and a lot of Meeter. Meeter's 20th kill of the night pushed UNM up 22-16. The Lobos held on for the 25-18 win.