Oct. 30, 2012
New Mexico Lobos Volleyball -- On the Mountain West road
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Lobo volleyball team hits the Mountain West road this week, stopping first at Air Force (8-15, 2-7 MW) on Thursday, Nov. 1 for a 7 p.m. MT match, and then heading to Boise State (12-12, 4-5 MW) on Saturday, Nov. 3 for a 1 p.m. MT contest.
The Lobos (18-8, 5-5 MW) look to recover from a tough three-match homestand last week, getting swept by New Mexico State on Oct. 23, losing 1-3 to UNLV on Oct. 25 and dropping a heartbreaker, 2-3, to Fresno State on Oct. 27. UNM also lost another player to a sesason-ending injury -- junior outside hitter Ashley Newman suffered a knee injury in the match with NMSU. It's the fourth season-ending injury and the Lobos' roster is now down to nine players.
Newman had played in every match of the 2012 season and was third in the Mountain West in overall matches and conference matches for ace serves, averaging .31/set (26 total) overall and .29/set (9 total) in conference matches. Other Lobos that are out for the year due to injuries include: Sara Stelzer (head injury in offseason), Ashley Kelsey (knee injury in preseason), and Elsa Krieg (knee injury 11 matches in).
There was one positive for the Lobos last week. With her 21 digs in UNM's 1-3 loss to UNLV at home on Oct. 25, Miquella Lovato moved in to the No. 10 spot in Lobo volleyball history for single-season digs. The junior currenlty has 400 (795 career digs). Lovato edged out former Lobo Blaire Burns, who had 372 in 2002.
With a 4.30 set average and seven matches remaining in the season, Lovato is likely to climb to nearly the top of the list. Allison Buck set the single-season record last year with 561 digs. The No. 2 spot is occupied by Sharon Browning, who recorded 499 in 1992.
Lobo Chantale Riddle is also on pace to break in to the top 10 in Lobo volleyball history for single-season kills and points, and could possibly land a spot in the Mountain West's top 5 for single-season kills in overall matches and conference-only matches.
She currently has 395 kills and 461.0 points with seven matches remaining in the regular season. No. 10 on UNM's single-season kills list is Tania Gooley who recorded 422 in 1992. The Lobo record dates back to 1981, when Kim Hicks recorded 528 kills.
Riddle needs 101 more kills to reach the No. 5 spot for the MW's single-season kills in overall matches and only 77 kills to set the sophomore record for single-season kills. Wyoming's Michele Rauter recorded 496 in 2002 and occupies the No. 5 spot while BYU's Nina Puikkonen holds the sophomore record with 472 kills, set in 1999.
In MW matches, the No. 5 spot for single-season kills is Chelsea Goodman of BYU who recorded 262 in 2005. Goodman was a sophomore that season, so 262 is also the sophomore record. Riddle needs 106 more kills in MW matches to claim the sophomore record and break in to the top-5.
The No. 10 spot for single-season points is occupied by 2011 All-American Ashley Rhoades who recorded 474.5 last season. The top spot belongs to Pauline Manser who had 565.0 in 1991.
Riddle leads the Mountain West in kills (4.11/set) and points (461.0 tot., 4.80/set) and is No. 44 and No. 33 among all Division I volleyball players in those respective categories.
With a 5-5 mark in MW play, the Lobos are in fifth place in the conference standings.
UNLV has a 7-2 mark and claims the top spot while San Diego State and Colorado State are both 7-3 and tied for second place. Fresno State is 6-3 and sits ahead of the Lobos. Boise State is 4-5 and Wyoming is 4-6 for sixth and seventh, respectively, while Air Force is in eighth with a 2-7 mark and Nevada is ninth at 1-9.
Quick Notes on Air Force and Boise State
Air Force came to Albuquerque on Oct. 6 and the Lobos swept the Falcons. UNM freshman outside hitter Alijah Gunsaulus led the Lobos that match with 10 kills and a career-best .444 hitting percentage. Cami Richan paced Air Force with nine kills while Hillary Keltner had one kill and a team-high 10 digs. Entering this week's match, the all-time series between the Falcons and the Lobos is 28-3 in favor of New Mexico. The last time Air Force beat UNM was Oct. 24, 2003 in a 3-0 match in Albuquerque. The last time the Lobos lost at Air Force was Sept. 26, 2003, also a 3-0 decision.
Air Force is led by Cami Richan (3.02 kills), HIllary Keltner (1.13 kills, .239 pct., 9.49 assists, 2.62 digs) and Ayesha Hein (1.88 kills, .245 pct.). Keltner leads the conference in double-doubles having tallied 13.
Boise State came to Albuquerque on Oct. 4 and the Lobos outlasted the Broncos, 3-2, in The Pit. Chantale Riddle led UNM in that match with 23 kills and 16 digs. Alijah Gunsaulus added 20 kills and 14 digs. Boise State's Alyssa Gammel led all players with 24 kills and 13 digs. The all-time series between the Lobos and the Broncos is 4-0 in favor of UNM.
Boise State is led by Alyssa Gammel (3.44 kills, .190 pct.), Liz Harden (3.50 kills, .269 pct.) and setter Casey Rose (6.59 assists, 2.03 digs). Libero Kersti Whitney averages 4.42 digs per set.
The Falcons and the Broncos played last weekend at Air Force, with Boise State taking the match, 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 27-25).
New Mexico Notes
Down the road... The Lobos will not play during the week next week as the Nov. 9 match at Texas Tech was cancelled. UNM hosts non-conference opponent CSU Bakersfield on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. and will finish out its 2012 home schedule by hosting Nevada at 7 p.m. MT on Thursday, Nov. 15 and San Diego State at 11 a.m. MT on Saturday, Nov. 17.
Match Cancelled... New Mexico's Nov. 9 match at Texas Tech has been cancelled. Like the Lobos, Texas Tech has been bit multiple times by the injury bug. Both teams decided a break rather than an extra non-conference match would be best and have postponed the match until next season.
Double Up... Chantale Riddle is tied for third in the MW for season double-doubles with 11. Jordan Russell has six and Lena Skipper has five double-doubles, while Alijah Gunsaulus has four so far this season.
Block Hungry... Freshman Skye Gullatt is a defensive force at the net for the Lobos, leading the team and ranking No. 7 among all conference players in blocks-per-set in conference matches. In 39 sets of MW volleyball played, Gullatt has five solo blocks and 42 block assists for 47 total (1.21/set).
Ace, Ace Baby... The Lobos lead the Mountain West and are No. 44 nationwide in ace serves having recorded 143 on the season (1.43/set). Five players (three active) have double-digits in aces: Lexi Ross leads UNM and is third in the MW with 28 (.30/set) while Jordan Russell is second on the team with 23 (.24/set). Lena Skipper is third on the active roster with 16. Ashley Newman, who is out for the remainder of the season, has 26 (.31/set), good enough for second in the MW, and in just 11 matches played, Elsa Krieg recorded 19 aces.
RPI Report... The fifth release of the season of the NCAA's RPI rankings yielded 15-spot slip for New Mexico to No. 84. Colorado State ranks the highest among league schools at 42nd while San Diego State is No. 50. Fresno State 53rd and UNLV is fourth at No. 63. The other four members of the MW are as follows: Wyoming 104, Boise State 168, Air Force 173 and Nevada 224.
Cheers to the Home Crowd... New Mexico ranks No. 32 in the nation in attendance with 16,686 fans having gone through the turnstiles at 14 home matches, an average of 1,192. The Lobos rank second in the Mountain West in attendance, trailing Colorado State who is 14th among Div. I volleyball schools, averaging a home crowd of 2,203 per match. Hawaii is No. 1 for attendance, drawing an average of 6,749 fans per contest.