April 21, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- After finishing the 2009 season with their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 14 years, the University of New Mexico volleyball team is going to pick up right where they left off to start the 2010 season. Lobo head coach Jeff Nelson has announced an aggressive schedule which features five 2009 NCAA Tournament participants in the first six matches of the season. UNM will face a total of eight '09 NCAA teams by the end of the regular season.
The Lobos will begin the season by hosting the annual MCM Elegante Lobo Classic on Aug. 27-29 with Pepperdine, Tulane and No. 7 Stanford. Tulane and Stanford made appearances in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, while Pepperdine has made numerous NCAA appearances over the years.
Labor Day weekend will be a trip to the islands for the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic, Sept. 2-4. The tournament will feature four 2009 NCAA teams - the Lobos, Michigan State, No. 16 USC and host No. 3 Hawai'i. The Rainbow Wahine beat UNM in the first round and USC in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament on their way to the national semifinals. Michigan State lost to Kentucky in the first round.
UNM returns home to host the Comcast Lobo Challenge on Sept. 10-11. Sacramento State, SMU and UC Santa Barbara will join the Lobos inside Johnson Center. UCSB returns to Albuquerque for the second year in a row and advanced to the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
The annual Rio Grande Rivalry match with New Mexico State is set for Sept. 14 at Johnson Center.
The Lobos take one more big road trip before starting conference action. UNM travels to Tampa, Fla., for the South Florida Invitational on Sept. 17-18. USF will host the Lobos, Jacksonville and Florida Atlantic.
The battle for the 2010 Mountain West Conference title begins on Sept. 23 with a road trip to San Diego State. The Air Force Academy at home will wrap up the month of September on the 30th.
October starts with a home match against UNLV on the 2nd, followed by three matches on the road, TCU (Oct. 8), Wyoming (Oct. 14) and Colorado State (Oct. 16). Home matches against BYU and Utah will be featured on Oct. 21 and 23. October ends with a road trip to UNLV (Oct. 28) and Air Force (Oct. 30).
The Lobos will have four of six November matches at home, starting with three in a row, TCU (Nov. 5), Colorado State (Nov. 11) and Wyoming (Nov. 13). The last regular season road trip will be BYU (Nov. 18) and Utah (Nov. 20). The regular season wraps up on Nov. 26 at home against San Diego State. No. 17 Colorado State and TCU also represented the MWC in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
New Mexico finished the 2009 season with a 20-10 overall record, 10-6 in Mountain West Conference action. The Lobos finished tied for third in the league and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. It was UNM's first trip to the NCAA postseason since 1994. UNM will have 10 returning letterwinners, highlighted by honorable mention All-American Taylor Hadfield, all-MWC setter Jade Michaelsen and 2009 team Most Valuable Player Lisa Meeter.
2010 Non-conference Opponent Capsules
Pepperdine (16-11, 9-5/3rd West Coast, RV) - Head Coach: Nina Matthies (28th year) ... top returning player is junior middle blocker Kim Hill, an AVCA All-American (honorable mention) ... Waves have made 20 appearances in the NCAA Tournament
Tulane (18-10, 12-4/3rd Conference USA) - 2009 NCAA First Round ... Head Coach: Sinisa Momic (2nd year) ... top returning player is junior outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic, an AVCA All-American (honorable mention) and the 2009 C-USA co-Player of the Year ... former Albuquerque Academy player Lindsey Shepard is a member of the Green Wave.
Stanford (23-8, 14-4/1st Pacific-10, No. 7) - 2009 NCAA Regional Semifinals ... Head Coach: John Dunning (10th year) ... the Cardinal return nine of the letterwinners that led the team to its fourth-straight Pac-10 title and 29th consecutive NCAA appearance ... among the returners is a trio of seniors, including three-time All-American Alix Klineman, AVCA All-American (first team) Cassidy Lichtman and career digs leader Gabi Ailes.
Michigan State (17-16, 5-15/t10th Big Ten) - 2009 NCAA First Round ... Head Coach: Cathy George (6th year) ... the Spartans return 12 members from 2009, led by AVCA All-American (honorable mention) junior outside hitter Kyndra Abron ... 2009 was MSU's 13th NCAA tournament bid and third in last four years.
USC (22-10, 10-8/5th Pacific-10, No. 16) - 2009 NCAA Second Round ... Head Coach: Mick Haley (10th year) ... it was the 19th consecutive year that USC qualified for the tournament, as well as the 19th straight season that the Women of Troy finished in the Top 25 nationally ... junior outside hitter Alex Jupiter becoming USC's 31st All-American, earning AVCA All-America third team honors.
Hawai'i (32-3, 16-0/1st Western Athletic, No. 3) - 2009 NCAA National Semifinals ... Head Coach: Dave Shoji (35th year) ... Shoji recorded his 1,000th career victory in 2009 and was named the AVCA National Coach of the Year ... the Rainbow Wahine are led by All-American (first team) and WAC Player of the Year Kanai Danielson, an outside hitter, and honorable mention All-America setter Dani Mafua.
Sacramento State (16-16, 6-10/6th Big Sky) - Head Coach: Ruben Volta (3rd year) ... Hornets are led by all-Big Sky senior middle hitter Maddison Thivierge ... UNM assistant coach Lisa Beauchene is a Sacramento State graduate.
SMU (19-12, 9-7/t6th Conference USA) - Head Coach: Lisa Seifert (15th year) ... Seifert is first and only volleyball coach in SMU history ... the Mustangs will be led by All-American (honorable mention) outside hitter Dana Powell.
UC Santa Barbara (22-8, 11-5/2nd Big West, RV) - 2009 NCAA First Round ... Head Coach: Kathy Gregory (36th year) ... Gregory is the only coach the Gaucho program has ever known ... senior setter Dana Vargas is the top returning player for UCSB, earning All-America honorable mention in 2009.
New Mexico State (20-9, 13-3/2nd Western Athletic) - Head Coach: Mike Jordan (13th year) ... the Aggies will be led by honorable mention All-America setter Jennah DeVries and all-WAC hitters Kayleigh Giddens and Whitney Woods.
South Florida (18-10, 9-5/t5th Big East) - Head Coach: Claire Lessinger (7th year) ... senior all-Big East selection Allie Boaz, a right-side hitter, is the Bulls top returning hitter in 2010.
Jacksonville (19-9, 15-5/2nd Atlantic Sun) - Head Coach: Shaun Kupferberg (5th year) ... senior Aidan Yeager and sophomore middle blocker Alison Loeppky are expected to lead the Dolphins in 2010.
Florida Atlantic (6-20, 4-13/6th Sun Belt East) - Head Coach: Jody Brown (15th year) ... sophomore Christina Wallinger led the Owls with 3.43 kills per set in 2009.