Oct. 9, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico volleyball team was stunned by San Diego State in a 3-2 loss Sunday at Johnson Center.
The Lobos were in the driver seat throughout most of the match against SDSU, but for whatever reason, they could not finish the Aztecs. Not finishing has become a recurring theme for Jeff Nelson's Lobos and he couldn't be more upset about it.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Nelson said. "We had five match points and I couldn't get them to take good swings and get after it. It's unbelievable."
One good thing the Lobos can take from the match is the maturation of true freshman Elsa Krieg. The 6-foot-2 Granby, Colo., native recorded a career high in kills (14) and really looked as if she has taken her game to another level. But even after having a career night, the freshman couldn't help but feel frustrated over the loss.
"It is frustrating," Krieg said. "We just need to let it go, come back and think about the future ahead."
Game One: SDSU 25, Lobos 16
The beginning of the first set proved to be an extremely close battle of wills. Neither team was giving an inch. The score stayed deadlocked up until SDSU took the lead 14-13. From that point SDSU went on an 8-0 run to up the score to 21-13. UNM tried to climb back in the game but couldn't muster enough offense, as the Aztecs took the set, 25-16. Seniors Kelly Williamson and Ashley Rhoades led the way for the Lobos with three and two kills, respectively. Reagan Shelton and Emily Harris of San Diego State out pointed UNM's duo, recording five kills apiece, respectively. The difference in the set was team blocking. SDSU had six blocks compared to UNM's one.
Game Two: Lobos 25, SDSU 23
The story was much of the same in the second set. Both teams played the set tightly, leaving no room for error. At one point, the Lobos pulled ahead, 19-15, but SDSU wasn't about to let that lead last. The Aztecs knotted the game back up at 19-19, scoring four-straight points. The Lobos didn't let SDSU's little run affect them, however, as UNM took the set, 25-23. Lexi Ross showed up in a big way for UNM in game two. The sophomore had five kills in the set after only recording one in the first game.
Game Three: Lobos 27, SDSU 25
The Lobos held the lead throughout most of the set. SDSU was able to tie things up at one point late in the match, 19-19. At this point in the match, the Lobos had really spread things around offensively. UNM had five players with six or more kills. Rhoades was leading the way with ten total kills by the end of the set. It was do-or-die for both teams, being that whichever squad took the game would take a 2-1 lead heading into game four. Williamson put the Lobos ahead, 25-24, with a nasty kill in the back left corner of the court, but SDSU answered, once again, tying the game up, 25-25. UNM went up again, 26-25, and with Allison Buck serving, the Lobos ended the match emphatically as Ross and Chantale Riddle each came up with a huge block to give the Lobos the game, 27-25.
Game Four: SDSU 25, Lobos 21
The fourth set, just like the three before it, was gut-wrenchingly close. The Lobos led for the majority up until SDSU stole the lead away, 17-16. SDSU wouldn't let up from that point. The Aztecs went on an 8-5 run to close out the set and tie things up, 2-2, heading into game five. SDSU's Shelton continued to come up big for the Aztecs. She had a game high 16 kills by the end of the fourth set. UNM had four players with 10 or more kills up to this point. It is the first time this season the Lobos have had that many players with double-digit kills in a match.
Game Five: SDSU 17, Lobos 15
In what was truly a battle for MW supremacy, it all came down to the final set for the Lobos and Aztecs. Both teams had played an incredible match, but only one could be the victor. It was going to come down to which team made the least mistakes. SDSU had the lead at the half way point, 8-7, but the Lobos battled back to take their biggest lead of the set, 14-9. UNM's Krieg continued to shine, leading the Lobos in Kills with 14. The Lobos couldn't hold on to their lead, however, and ended up losing in devastating fashion. UNM let SDSU back into the game, as the Aztecs tied things up at 15-all. From there SDSU scored two-straight points on kills from Shelton and Harris to win the match. UNM and the 2,048 spectators could only stare in disbelief as SDSU celebrated on the Lobos' court.
The Lobos are now 10-7, 3-2 MW, after the loss. UNM will be on the road next week as the Lobos face Colorado State at 6 p.m. in Fort Collins, Colo., on Oct. 13. The match will air on the MountainWest Sports Network. The Lobos also travel to Laramie, Wyo., for a match with Wyoming at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15.