Oct. 21, 2011
FORT WORTH, Texas - The Lobo volleyball team came to play in its match against TCU, but just didn't have enough as UNM lost, 3-0, in front of a packed house in Fort Worth, Texas, at TCU's Recreational Center.
UNM came out of the locker room wearing different uniforms to start the match, sporting pink in support of TCU's cancer awareness night. The uniforms weren't the only change the Lobos made; the lineup had a different look as well. Instead of suiting up in her usual libero spot, senior Allison Buck lined up at outside hitter, in an effort for UNM to try and shake things up.
The Lobos didn't lose the match for lack of effort by any means. They just weren't the better team this particular night. The Lobos were in all three sets, they just couldn't win any of the three games when it came down to crunch time. TCU really fed off the crowd and used the loud gym to its advantage.
"I don't feel like we played bad volleyball," head coach Jeff Nelson said. "I just feel like TCU has been struggling like we have and they just played with a little more passion."
Game One: TCU 25, Lobos 22
Emotions were high and the crowd was electric, making the set all the more dramatic. The Lobos showed early on that they were in Fort Worth to compete, not mess around. The game remained close, with both teams tied at, 8-8, before TCU broke away for a 12-10 advantage. Leading the Lobos attack were freshman Chantale Riddle and senior Kelly Williamson, as both had four and five kills in the set. TCU spread the ball around well and was led by stalwart Kristen Hester offensively (five Kills). Eventually the Horned Frogs found themselves ahead, 24-20, but they were having some trouble closing the Lobos out. The Lobos rallied, closing the score to 22-24, only to lose the set on a service error by starting libero Miquella Lovato.
Game Two: TCU 25, Lobos 18
UNM didn't let the outcome of game one affect its play early on in game two, as the Lobos came out determined. The Lobos held the lead for the majority of the first part of the set, until TCU tied things up at 12-all. Hester continued to rack up the kills for TCU, while Williamson, Riddle and Ashley Rhoades provided the offense for UNM. Buck also began to record some kills (four total), making it obvious why the coaches wanted to try her outside; she is a fantastic athlete with a feisty competitiveness. No matter how much effort the Lobos put in, it seemed like TCU was the team catching the breaks. UNM trailed the Horned Frogs, 18-16, in the latter portions of the set, prompting Head Coach Jeff Nelson to call a timeout in hope of a spark. The spark never came, unfortunately, as TCU went on a 7-2 scoring run to close out the set to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Game Three: TCU 25, Lobos 18
The first obvious observation of the third set was UNM's Buck had moved back to her natural libero position. The experiment was over, as it hadn't worked the way the Lobos had hoped it would in the first two sets. Once again both teams played the first half of the set closely, with TCU pulling away late. TCU won the set, 25-18, giving the Horned Frogs the match and the season sweep over the Lobos. Williamson and Riddle led the Lobos in kills for the match with 10 and 11, respectively. Riddle also picked up a career-high 13 digs in the match, giving the freshman her first ever career double double.
The Lobos fall to 10-10 with the loss and 3-5 in Mountain West play. Up next, UNM will continue its Texas road trip, as the Lobos face UT-Pan American at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Edinburg, Texas.
"I don't think we are going to talk a whole lot about UT-Pan American heading into the match," Nelson said. "I think we are going to focus more on how we can play better and be successful."