Oct. 1, 2009
Thursday: Lobos 3, San Diego State 0
Saturday: Air Force at Lobos, 1 p.m. Johnson Center
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Promises. Promises. That's what Lobo junior Lisa Meeter made to her Johnson Center fans prior to Thursday's visit by San Diego State.
The promise, the mission, is half finished. One Mountain West Conference opponent down, one to go. The Lobos smoked San Diego State 3-0 in front of the largest home crowd (2,338) of the season and move on to play Air Force at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"This is just one of many wins to come," said Meeter, who saw her Lobos jump to 10-5 overall and 2-2 in the MWC race. "We have to build on this win. We aren't taking Air Force lightly. We want to build a killer instinct out there."
The Lobos had good instincts and good shots most of the night against the mismatched Aztecs. UNM fired at a .321 hitting percentage in the first game and a sizzling .469 in the second game in rolling to the 25-19, 25-16, 25-20 win.
"Once again the passing was fantastic," said Lobo coach Jeff Nelson. "That's something we've been consistent in all year and we wanted to attack the right side, so passing really opened that up for us.
Rhoades finished the three-game set with 11 kills and no errors. Hadfield had 12 kills with three errors. Lehne had eight kills with a single net error.
"We wanted this," said Rhoades, a 5-foot-11 sophomore from Rio Rancho High. "I think our energy helped us a lot. When we have fun, that's when we do our best.
"If we have a crowd, we get pumped up to play for them. Winning at home is one of our main goals. Just working hard and having fun is what's going to accomplish that goal."
Said Nelson: "We were much more ourselves tonight. We never panicked. We did soften up a little bit in game three. We have to work on going for the kill and not laying back."
The Lobos slipped to a 9-5 lead in the first game, but the Aztecs fought back to 9-7. UNM used a Meeter spike followed by a Lehne block to pull up 11-7. The Aztecs took three of next four points to make it 12-10.
The Lobos then rode a Rhoades spike followed by a SDSU error and a UNM block to grab a 15-10 lead. UNM went up 19-14 and drifted to the 25-19 first-game win.
The Lobos hit a nice .321 in the first game while the Aztecs struggled to a .139 hitting percentage. Meeter had four kills in the first game while Rhoades and Hadfield had three each. Jade Michaelsen had 12 assists and Meeter and Allison Buck had three digs. UNM had only five errors in the first game.
"We did a good job of not letting them run too many points together," said Meeter. "We kept our errors low and kept the ball in play."
The Aztecs jumped on UNM quickly in the second game to post a 4-0 lead. A SDSU error followed by a Rhoades spike made it 4-2. Kelly Williamson then ripped one to pull UNM to 4-3. Her next spike was blocked and UNM was down 5-3.
Rhoades then worked the net to produce a 5-4 UNM deficit. Hadfield knotted the game on the right side with a savage spike to form a 5-all tie.
Meeter finally got UNM into the lead spot at 7-6 with a hard spike that was tipped out. Hadfield pushed over an off-speed placement shot that forced a SDSU error and UNM had an 8-6 cushion.
Lehne then took over at the net with a couple of spikes and a reach-over slam to push UNM to a 15-10 lead. When a SDSU spike went long to hand UNM an 18-11 lead, the Aztecs called a timeout. It was too late to stop the leakage or to stop the Lobos.
Meeter got a service ace to form a 23-15 bluge. Lehne put away a running spike to make it 24-16. UNM cruised to the 25-16 win and took a 2-0 lead into the break.
The Lobos' net work was even better in the second game with a .469 hitting percentage. Lehne and Hadfield had six kills each in that game and Rhoades added four. Michaelsen padded her assists total with 14 and Buck added five more digs. The Aztecs warmed up a bit at the net with a .217 hitting percentage. The Lobos were leading the kill category 33-to-22 at that point and led the dig stats 21-to-14. UNM had only four errors in the second game.
In the third game, the Aztecs again jumped up early: 4-2, 8-5 and 10-6 before Nelson called a timeout to rally his Lobos.
It took the Lobos a while to scratch into the lead, but they finally did it at 17-16. That climb was aided by three Aztec service errors. UNM cut the SDSU lead to 13-12, 14-13, 15-14 and 16-15 before a Lehne/Michaelsen block tied the game at 16-all. A SDSU error pushed UNM up 17-16 and it was the Aztecs turn to call time.
Another SDSU service error, a too-long SDSU spike helped UNM slide up 20-17 and SDSU went for another timeout. An Aztec error made it 21-17. A Meeter rocket from the back row probably put the game out of reach at 22-17.
The Aztecs scratched to 22-19 before a Rhoades running spike from the right side made it 23-19. SDSU hit into the net to make it 24-19 and Hadfield sealed the deal for UNM with a hammer on the right side to produce the 25-20 final.
Lobo Notes: UNM leads the series 21-3. ... Lobo senior Rose Morris, out with an injury to her left pinkie finger, dressed up and stood with her teammates on the sidelines. The UNM captain did not play.