Nov. 20, 2003
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Top-seeded and 14th-ranked Colorado State extended its winning streak to 18 matches as it defeated eighth-seeded New Mexico in four games (22-30, 24-30, 32-30, 18-30) in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Volleyball Championships Thursday night (Nov. 20) on the campus of San Diego State University. The Lobos finish the season with a 4-25 record, while CSU improved to 25-4. New Mexico shocked the Rams with a 32-30 win in game three, and it marked only the eighth time this season that the Rams have surrendered a game to a MWC opponent.
Senior Anna Reines (Big Lake, Minn.) collected 14 kills and three blocks in her last career match as a Lobo to lead the offense. Reines closes out her career 1,089 kills, which is fifth all-time in the UNM record books.
The Lobos recorded a season-high 13.5 team blocks and 27 block assists at the net, including six block assists by Jennifer Heasty (Fr., Westminster, Colo.) and five each from Kelly Therkelsen (Fr., Eagan, Minn.), Monica Meihack (Jr., Fallon, Nev.) and Chelsea Sondrup (So., Lindon, Utah). Sondrup hit .273 and tallied 13 kills, five digs and three service aces. Meihack paced the offense with 30 assists and nine digs to go along with her career-high five blocks.
"Our serve feeds our blocking game, and we did both pretty well against a good team tonight," said UNM head coach Kelley Sliva McKee. "We were very resilient, steady and calm for most of the match. I think we grew up a lot tonight and took a huge step as a team. We were disappointed after the first two games, because we felt we were only a couple of points away from winning either of those games. But we stayed patient and came out strong in the third game. Unfortunately, we couldn't get it going in the fourth game."
CSU featured a balanced attack with four Rams in double figures in kills, including Tess Rogers, who had a team-high 18. The Rams hit .306 to the Lobos' .181 and recorded 21 more kills.
Similar to their first contest against the Rams, the Lobos came out ready to play in the first game. Although CSU quickly went up 6-1, UNM responded with a 5-1 run and then tied the game at 9. The Rams followed the run by taking a 13-9 lead, but the Lobos bounced back to tie it once again at 19. After hanging close for most of the game, UNM fell victim to an 8-3 Colorado State run to close the game at 30-22. Reines put down four kills and Sondrup had three in the game for UNM, while CSU hit .357 and only committed three errors.
New Mexico got off to a blazing start in the second game, jumping out in front of the Rams to lead for the first half of the match. After the score was tied at 3, UNM went on an 8-5 run, good for an 11-8 advantage. CSU took its first lead since the 2-1 mark at 14-13, but the Lobos remained close, taking back the lead at 16-15 and tying the game at 19 after a brief Ram lead. The close game soon imploded for UNM as it was jolted once again by a late-game run by Colorado State. With the game tied at 20, the Rams proceeded to roll on a 10-4 spurt to win the game 30-24 and go up 2-0 heading into intermission. UNM struggled offensively in the second game, hitting at a .038 clip with eight kills compared to CSU's .500 percentage and 17 kills.
The Lobos and Rams were once again close throughout the first portion of the third game, but after UNM was within one point at the 9-8 mark, CSU leaped out to a seven-point lead at 17-10 keyed by an 8-2 run. The Rams then led by a six-to-eight point margin until UNM rattled off a 10-3 run to cut the lead to one point at 27-26. After a CSU point, UNM tied the game for the first time at 28-28. Each team then split the next four points to keep the game tied at 30, but two consecutive blocks by the Lobos capped the incredible comeback to stun the Rams, 32-30. UNM ended the game on a 16-6 run. The Lobos hit an impressive .520 with 15 kills and only two errors in the game, and in the process limited the high-balanced attack of the Rams to a .225 hitting percentage. UNM also registered 5.5 team blocks in the game, including three block assists from Reines and Therkelsen.
Colorado State returned to form in the fourth game and looked like the team that plowed through the conference season undefeated for the first time in MWC history. The Rams quickly built their lead to 13 points at 18-5 and proceeded to cruise to a 30-18 victory.
In earlier action at the Mountain West Tournament, second-seeded Utah defeated seventh-seeded Wyoming in three games and third-seeded BYU beat sixth-seeded Air Force in three games. Utah and BYU will meet in the first semifinal Friday, while Colorado State will meet the winner of the UNLV-San Diego State contest in the other semifinal. The championship match is set for Saturday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. PT and will be televised live on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain. Live stats of all matches are available at www.TheMWC.com.