Oct. 22, 2009
Thursday: Lobos 3, Wyoming 0
Saturday: Vs. Colorado State, 1 p.m., Johnson Center
Online: GameTracker, results on GoLobos.com
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The good news is the Lobos won. Maybe the bad news is Colorado State Rams lost -- no longer undefeated after falling at TCU.
"They'll be hungry now," said Lobo Lisa Meeter after the University of New Mexico's hard-fought 3-0 win over the Wyoming Cowgirls. "CSU is a huge game for us. I'm estatic about that game. I love volleyball and I love big games. It's going to be so much fun."
It wasn't all fun and games Thursday night in Johnson Center. The Wyoming Cowgirls pushed UNM to the limit -- and the wire -- in the first game before UNM powered away 25-23, 25-19 and 25-22.
"We knew they were going to come in here looking to get that first game," said Meeter. "But we needed tonight and we were ready."
Said teammate Taylor Hadfield, who paced UNM with 10 kills and a .412 hitting percentage. "We stayed calm. That's important for us. You can tell when the team out there is frantic."
There were more than a few frantic moments in the all-important first game for the 17-7 Lobos (5-4 in Mountain West). UNM has lost every match in which it has dropped the first game. UNM has won every match in which it has won the first game.
The Cowgirls appeared to be on a ride to the win when they sat on a 23-20 lead going into the stretch. The Lobos did the final stretching.
"That's was tight," said Hadfield. "But I don't think we ever got nervous. We're looking forward to playing Colorado State now. We didn't show them much the first time (a 3-0 UNM defeat). We plan to show them we can play volleyball, too. We're very excited about the match because they are a very good team."
Said Rose Morris: "Colorado State is good, but we know if we play against them like we did against Utah and New Mexico State, we can play with them."
It's possible that the Lobos' mental jump ahead to Saturday's 1 p.m. match with CSU showed up a bit in Game One against Wyoming. The Lobos didn't quite have the fire they showed at times in Game Two and Game Three. But you also have to give the Cowgirls credit. The visitors from Laramie played well and tough -- until the stretches.
Hadfield ended up pacing UNM with her 10 kills and was followed by Ashley Rhoades with eight, Rose Morris with seven and Meeter with five. UNM hit .217 for the three games and Wyoming pounded the ball with a .120 rate of success.
Wyoming's hitting percentages went from .150 to .125 to .083. UNM went from .140 to .303 to .233. Jade Michaelsen had 30 assists and Allison Buck had many spectacular digs on her way to a 19 total. The attendance was 1,450.
The first game was obviously an important one. For some reason, it seems to set the tone for UNM against good teams and average teams -- because it sets the tone for the Lobos.
The Lobos jumped up 4-3 and 5-3 on a savage Anna Lehne spike and then UNM took a break -- during the game. Wyoming powered up 10-6 and Nelson called his first timeout of the contest. The Cowgirls drifted up 12-7 before Rhoades hammered a spike and followed that with a block to pull UNM to 12-9. Wyoming hung tough and pushed into a 15-9 lead. Nelson again called his Lobos over for a chat.
The Lobos then began chipping away at the Wyoming lead. Morris pushed in a placement shot to make it 15-10. Another vicious Lehne spike and it was 15-13. A Wyoming error on a Michaelsen serve made it 16-15. Then back-to-back Lobo blocks pulled the Lobos into an 18-all tie.
Then there was some see-saw stuff: 19-18, 19-19, 20-19 Wyoming and then 21-19 Wyoming. UNM got called for a block in the net, 22-19. Hadfield threw down a spike to make it 22-20, but Wyoming drifted back up 23-20. The Lobos needed to pull close before Wyoming could get that all-important game point. The Lobos did it.
A Hadfield spike, a well-placed Michaelsen push shot and a sinking Meeter serve that was misplayed made it 23-22. Rhoades then got a point off a spike. Wyoming pushed a long shot wide and it was the Lobos looking at game point at 24-23. A Cowgirl error let the Lobos escape the first game 25-23.
The numbers from the first game were tight. Wyoming had a .150 hitting percentage and UNM came in at .140. UNM had 15 kills (Hadfield 5) and the Cowgirls had 11 kills. Michaelsen had 13 assists and Allison Buck had 10 digs.
The Lobos got better as the match progressed, but that wasn't too hard to do after their first game. UNM controlled the match from the midway point to the end in the second game and powered to a comfortable 25-19 win.
The final game was a breeze -- 9-3, 14-7 -- for a while. Wyoming fought back to 17-15. The stretch run had been Lobos in the two previous games. It was that way again -- barely.
The third-game win wasn't as easy as the second game and more like the first. Wyoming hung around and sliced UNM's lead to 20-19 forcing Nelson to call a time. Wyoming came out and did some more slicing: 20-all.
Rhoades got a high-flying spike on the right side to push UNM up 21-20. A Wyoming spiking error went long and UNM was up 22-20. Morris went long on a spike and Wyoming had the serve on a 22-21 deficit. Rhoades went for a running spike that Wyoming blocked out: 23-21.
Wyoming went into the net to hand UNM the game-point serve at 24-22. Wyoming was called in the net again and UNM got the game-point and match-point in a 25-22 squeaker.
The Cowgirls went up 5-4 in the second game and stayed up at 10-9. A four-point Lobo run pushed UNM into a 13-10 lead and pushed Wyoming into a team huddle. The Cowgirls could not stop the run fueled by Meeter serves. UNM went up 17-10, stayed hot and the Lobos were up 21-13 when Wyoming again called a timeout.
It was too late to get the Lobos off their roll. A Meeter spike made it 23-16 and a Meeter spike blocked out on the left side gave UNM the 25-19 win.
The Lobos hit .303 in the second game to .125 for Wyoming. The Lobos had balanced net work behind Hadfield, Morris and Rhoades with six kills. Meeter had five kills and Michaelsen had four with 23 assists. Allison Buck had 15 digs. UNM was hitting .211 for the two games with Wyoming at .139.
Lobo Notes: Saturday is Cherry Crush. Fans wearing red will be allowed into the game for $3 (adults) and $2 (ages 2-18). Fans who can show a ticket for the Lobos vs. UNLV football game get in free. There will be giveaways from the UNM bookstore throughout Saturday's game.