Aug. 31, 2012
Lobo Volleyball (5-1, 0-0 MW) - Tiger Invitational (hosted by Savannah State - Savannah, Ga.
Friday, Aug. 31: Lobos def. UNC Asheville, 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-14); Lobos def. Maryland-Eastern Shore, 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-23)
Saturday, Sept. 1: Lobos vs. Kennesaw State (4-1), 11 a.m. MT.; Lobos at Savannah State (0-5), 5 p.m. MT
Tournament Coverage: Watch it LIVE
GoLobos.com: Box Scores and match recaps
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The University of New Mexico volleyball team went 2-0 in the opening day of the Tiger Invitational hosted by Savannah State, capping off Friday night with a 3-1 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore. UNM (5-1) handed the Hawks (4-1) their first loss of the season.
The Lobos held last week's American Volleyball Coaches Association Div. I National Player of the Week Saitaua Iosia to 15 kills and one block. Iosia entered the weekend averaging 5.33 kills/set. UMES returned its five top scorers from last year's squad that went 24-7 overall and 12-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Lobo head coach Jeff Nelson thought his Lobos did a good job of regrouping after dropping the first set.
"We started battling better at the end of the first game, and in the second and third sets in particular," he said. "Maryland-Eastern Shore is a strong team. Their player that was the National Player of the Week was the real deal and is as good as anybody we play against so I think that was a good test for us."
The Lobos picked up their net play in the second and third sets, which made a big difference against Iosia and the Hawks.
"We blocked the ball really well in games two and three, and that made a big different for us," he said.
Freshman Alijah Gunsaulus gave the Lobos a solid performance and recorded her first collegiate double-double with 10 kills and 12 digs. Chantale Riddle added 20 kills, hitting .417 in the match (20k-5e-36ta).
"We got great performances from Gunsaulus," he said. "We handled their jump serves well and we also got strong play from our middles and again, Chantale led the way."
The Lobos again came out tentative in the first set of the match. Miscommunication paired with a number of serve-receive errors allowed Maryland-Eastern Shore to take a 9-5 lead.The Hawks held a lead of two points or more until mid-set when UMES used a 3-1 run to make the score 19-15.
New Mexico managed to string together four unanswered points to come within two points, but a Lobo serving error and a kill from UMES stopped the rally. Trailing 23-19, UNM again put up a 4-0 run to come within one point, but a kill from Saitaua Iosia made it set point in favor of the Hawks. An attack error by the 'Bos ended the first set, 25-22 UMES.
UNM found itself down 0-2 early, but a big block from Chantale Riddle and Lexi Ross followed by a service ace from Alijah Gunsaulus put the Lobos back in it, 2-2. The teams traded points until three consecutive attack errors by Maryland-Eastern Shore gave the Lobos a 9-6 lead.
With the score at 16-12, Gunsaulus had another ace serve to increase the Lobos' lead to five points. A few plays later, an ace from Ashley Newman put the mark to 20-13. Kills from Riddle and Gunsaulus kept the Lobos on track, and they took the second set, 25-18.
In the third set New Mexico claimed a 5-2 early lead, but the Hawks capitalized on a few Lobo miscues and some strong serving to knot the score at 7-7. The teams traded a few points and at the 11-11 mark, a big block by Riddle and Krieg gave the Lobos a bit of momentum, but it was silenced by a kill from the Hawks. At the 13-13 mark, a service error by the Hawks, followed by a service ace from Lena Skipper and a hitting error by UMES gave the Lobos a 16-13 advantage and they didn't look back.
A few plays later, a big kill from Riddle on the right side followed by a block from Riddle and Lexi Ross increased UNM's lead, 20-15. Steady serving from Gunsaulus and strong net play from Riddle propelled the Lobos to a 25-16 third-set win.
As in the third set, the Lobos claimed an early 6-2 lead in game four. The Hawks put together a run and tied the set at 9-9. UMES hung around, keeping within a few points of UNM. The Lobos would put up two or three points and look as though they were going to run away with the set and match only for UMES to produce a block or a kill and stunt a run.
With the score 15-12 in favor of the Lobos, the Hawks took off on a 4-0 run of their own forcing a UNM timeout. UMES followed up the breather with three consecutive miscues, moving the score to 18-16. Maryland-Eastern Shore clawed its way back, and tied the set at 19 apiece. A kill by Lexi Ross and an attack error by UMES put the mark at 21-19 and helped the Lobos reclaim the lead for a final time.
The teams traded kills and service errors, but UNM held on to a 23-22 lead. A lift by the Hawks put UNM at set and match point. UMES prolonged the match with one last kill before committing a service error to end the match, 25-23 in favor of New Mexico.
The Lobos begin play at 11 a.m. MT on Saturday against Kennesaw State (4-1) and face host Savannah State (0-5) at 5 p.m. MT.