Nov. 29, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The Lobo volleyball team did not have to wait too long before it saw `New Mexico' pop up on the big screens in the End Zone Club of the Tow Diehm Building on South Campus on Sunday afternoon. New Mexico is making its first return appearance to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament since 1994. The 20-9 Lobos earned an at-large bid on Sunday afternoon. UNM will play Western Athletic Conference champion Hawaii (28-2) in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Dec. 4 in Los Angeles at the Galen Center. Host Southern California (21-9) and Big 12 foe Oklahoma (18-11) will be the other sub-regional match-up. First round matches will start at 6 and 8 p.m. (MST). UNM's exact match has not been determined.
All-session tickets will be $15 for adults and $12 for children/students/seniors while single-session tickets will be $10 for adults and $6 for children/students/seniors.
"First, congratulations to our players," said Lobo head coach Jeff Nelson at a gathering of family, friends and fans. "We're grateful to the NCAA Committee for their hard work and for looking favorably on our performances this year and putting us back in the tournament after a long drought."
It will be the eighth appearance in the national post-season for the Lobo volleyball program. UNM appeared in the first NCAA Tournament in 1981. The next time UNM made the tournament was 1988, followed by a string of five consecutive appearances from 1990-94. New Mexico is 5-7 overall in NCAA Tournament action with five second round appearances.
Nelson earned his 300th collegiate coaching win on Friday, Nov. 27 when the Lobos beat New Orleans, 3-1, on the road. It was also the 20th win of the year for UNM, posting consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time since a four-year streak from 1988-91.
Nelson joins a select group of NCAA Division I coaches who have taken multiple programs to the NCAA Tournament - Texas Tech (1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001), San Francisco (2003) and New Mexico (2009). Current NCAA Division I coaches who have taken more than two programs include Oregon head coach Jim Moore (Kansas State, Texas, Oregon) and Michigan State head coach Cathy George (Texas-Arlington, Western Michigan and Michigan State).
The New Mexico volleyball team becomes the fourth Lobo fall sports team to advance to the NCAA post-season. The volleyball team joins the men's and women's cross country teams and the men's soccer team so far in 2009. It is the first time in UNM Athletics history that four fall sports have qualified for post-season. The previous best was three in 2004 - football, men's cross country and men's soccer.
More information leading up to the tournament will be posted on GoLobos.com as it becomes available.