Nov. 4, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Despite sophomore Jeanne Fairchild's 21 kills, the ninth-ranked Utah Utes, who are undefeated in Mountain West Conference play, were too much for the Lobo volleyball team handle. The Utes earned a 3-1 win over New Mexico at Johnson Center, dropping the Lobos to 8-18 overall and 4-10 in the MWC.
"Playing back-to-back against two nationally ranked teams is tough," head coach Kelley McKee said. "We finished well in game three and played well in the beginning of each game. We have some work to do to get to that level but this match helped us get better."
Sophomore Gayle Tripp started game one off with two crowd-raising aces. Utah responded quickly with two powerful kills that put the Lobos back on their heels. UNM struggled to find their rhythm the rest of the game, tallying more errors than kills, falling 17-30. Freshman Allison Suiter highlighted the team's effort, going 3-for-5 with no errors in the game.
Utah's hitters started off game two on fire, putting down eight kills, including four from Kathryn Lovell for a seven-point lead (9-3). Suiter continued to lead the Lobos, putting down three kills as a part of UNM's first five points. Utah hit .379 (17K-6E-29TA) en route to the 30-17 victory.
Game three appeared to be no different than the first two as Utah grabbed a 4-1 lead. Fairchild responded with four kills to even the game at five. The Utes pulled away, maintaining a comfy four-point lead more than half way through. Fairchild and Suiter refused to let them get away that easily, notching two kills and two aces, respectively, tying it at 19.
Senior Kelly Therkelsen stepped up, knocking down three kills to give New Mexico the lead. Utah fought back to even the match at 29, erasing the Lobos' game point. The teams traded points to 31 when Therkelsen put down another kill for UNM's fourth game point. Therkelsen clinched the match, 33-31, going up for the block with Suiter.
The Lobos hung with Utah early in game four before the Utes' Airial Salvo connected on three straight attacks, sparking a 9-1 run. From there, Utah cruised to the 30-19 win.
Aside from 21 kills, Fairchild added eight digs and two blocks. Suiter chipped in with five blocks and 13 kills, equaling her personal best.
The Lobos host TCU Friday night at 7 p.m. in Johnson Center for their last home match of the season. They will honor Therkelsen, the lone senior, prior to the match. The contest will also be recorded by the mtn. for telecast on Nov. 14.