Aug. 27, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The University of New Mexico volleyball team got the 2010 season started off on the right foot with a 3-0 win over Pepperdine on Friday night at the Johnson Center. UNM beat the Wave, 25-15, 25-22, 25-22 in the first round of the MCM Elegante Lobo Classic. Earlier in the evening, No. 4 Stanford beat Tulane, 3-0.
The Lobos started off the first set swapping points to a 5-5 tie with Pepperdine, until senior Lisa Meeter put down a kill to give UNM the serve. Allison Buck, the junior libero, served the Lobos to an 8-6 lead, including a service ace at 8-5. The Wave gave the ball back on a service error and UNM built up to a 15-10 lead, capped by block by sophomore Rachel Barber and junior Ashley Rhoades. The Lobos kept Pepperdine at arms-length to finish up the set, 25-15.
It looked like the match would go extra sets as Pepperdine jumped out to a 10-5 lead. The Lobos got motivated during a timeout and went on a 5-0 run to tie things up at 10-10. Meeter had back-to-back aces to put the Lobos up 14-12, but Pepperdine's Kim Hill put down two kills to tie it up again at 14-14. The Lobos took at three-point lead at 18-15 on a kill by junior Kelly Williamson. Pepperdine battled back to a 20-20 tie to keep things interesting. Wave errors and kills by Meeter and senior Taylor Hadfield put UNM ahead at the end 25-22.
In the third set, the teams battled again at the start to 6-6 before Pepperdine took a 9-6 lead. After a Lobo timeout, UNM outscored the Wave 6-3 to tie the match at 12. UNM took the lead for good at 19-18 on a Pepperdine service error and followed up with a service ace by Meeter, 20-18. New Mexico held on to win the set 25-22.
Williamson quietly compiled a career-high 13 kills during the match, while Meeter led the team with four service aces. Meeter now has 88 career aces and needs seven more to jump on to the UNM career aces Top 10 list. Senior setter Jade Michaelsen had 30 assists on the night and tied junior libero Allison Buck for the lead in digs with eight each.
"We really worked on playing fast and we were aggressive," said Lobo head coach Jeff Nelson. "I thought the energy was great both on the court and in the building. The crowd was awesome and everyone was into it. Kelly and Lisa were great, getting into it on every ball."
Second day action in the MCM Elegante Lobo Classic begins at 11:30 p.m. with No. 4 Stanford vs. Pepperdine, followed by UNM vs. Tulane at 2 p.m. The nightcap will be Tulane vs. Pepperdine at 7:30 p.m. The tournament wraps up on Sunday at 2 p.m. with the Lobos playing the Cardinal.