Nov. 3, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - For the first time since 1995, the New Mexico volleyball team beat the BYU Cougars. The Lobos (8-17, 4-9 MWC) knocked off 18th-ranked BYU, 3-1, tonight in Johnson Center, snapping a 23-match losing streak to the Cougars. UNM held the Cougars, who are ninth in the nation in hitting percentage with a .293 average, to just a .181 percentage.
"It's a long time coming," head coach Kelley McKee said. "Our team has been working really hard yet struggled to play good volleyball. We did that tonight so it is fuel for the fire to get this team in the right direction. It gives the team confidence and shows we are a team on the rise."
Tied at 10 in game one, the Lobos put together an 8-2 run thanks to two kills from senior Kelly Therkelsen and one from sophomore Jeanne Fairchild. The Cougars chipped away at the lead, pulling within one at 21-20. Two more kills from Fairchild extended the lead but BYU fought back again, tying the game at 28. Still tied at 29, Fairchild slammed down a kill and sophomore Joelle Ingram followed with a solo block for the 31-29 win.
"I think BYU was pretty frazzled early because our players came out and targeted their serves at the right people early," head coach Kelley McKee said. "They are a very good offensive team so it is a huge accomplishment for us."
Game two was tight through the first half, seeing nine ties through the first 16 points. Fairchild forced down four straight kills, leading the Lobo breakaway. Sophomore Sarah Kwasigroch added a block and a kill, pushing the lead to 22-16. The Cougars clawed their way back in, trailing by one at 28-27. Fairchild was unstoppable, clinching the win, 30-27, with two consecutive kills.
BYU refused to go quietly, taking game three 30-21. The Cougars held a six-point lead (19-13) when freshman Rose Morris came up with a block and a kill, pulling the team within one (18-19). Fairchild followed with an ace to even the score but two kills and a block from BYU's Bryn Porter started an 11-2 run that wrapped up the game.
Neither team held more than a three point lead in game four until Therkelsen and Morris recorded back-to-back kills for a 21-17 lead. After the Cougars cut the Lobo lead to one (22-21), New Mexico surged to the 30-23 win with an 8-2 run.
Three Lobos posted double-doubles, including Fairchild, who notched her first of the season on a career-high 24 kills and 11 digs. Kwasigroch and Morris recorded the others, posting 52 assists and 14 digs, and 12 kills and 13 digs, respectively. Therkelsen added 13 kills while sophomore Gayle Tripp had a match-leading 20 digs.
New Mexico hopes to carry the momentum over to tomorrow night's 7 p.m. match as they host ninth-ranked Utah in Johnson Center.