Net Play Propels Lobos to 3-0 Win at Utah State
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/03/2013
LOGAN, Utah -- The University of New Mexico volleyball team improved to 12-2 overall and 3-1 in Mountain West conference play with a sweep of Utah State (25-20, 25-15, 25-28) on Thursday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah.

It's the eighth sweep for the Lobos this season and their second in conference play. Utah State drops to 9-6 overall and 3-2 in MW contests.

Head coach Jeff Nelson was anticipating Thursday night's match to be one of the toughest road contests of the season for the Lobos. He is pleased with the way UNM started strong defensively and maintained a high level of play throughout the matcht.

"I thinks we got them on their heels right away with our blocking in game one," he said. "We came out a little slow offensively, but defensively we were fantastic."

Senior libero Miquella Lovato had nine digs in the first set (24 in the match) while the team had five blocks in the opening set.

"When our offense worked, we were really able to pull away. Our defense was good all night, but when we were good at the net we really pulled away and did a nice job," Nelson said. The Lobos hit .233 and had 42 kills in the match while holding Utah State to 32 kills and a .031 attack percentage (32-28-129).

New Mexico had 14.0 blocks, matching its season best in a three-set match.

Redshirt junior Chantale Riddle led all players with 16 kills. She added six blocks and five digs.

"Chantale had a great match for us tonight," Nelson said. "She averaged over six points a game tonight and did a really good job for us. Tonight was a solid match for her."

Reshirt sophomore Hannah Johnson had 31 set assists, nine digs and tied her career high in blocks with seven.

Skye Gullatt, sophomore middle blocker, also had seven blocks and added five kills on six total attempts and was error free at the net (.833 pct.). Senior middle blocker Lexi Ross added five blocks, five digs and six kills.

"We got great blocking out of our middles again tonight and from Hannah, too," Nelson said. "One of our keys for Saturday at Boise State is going to be controlling that middle and having our middles have a big match again."

Utah State was paced by Kaityln Vanhoff with 10 kills.

New Mexico's road trip continues with a 7 p.m. MT match at Boise State on Saturday, Oct. 5.

The Broncos are 7-6 overall and 2-2 in league play. They were scheduled to play Air Force on Thursday evening but the status of the match is currently postponed.

Lobos 3, Utah State 0

The Lobos pulled away from Utah State, 18-15, after leading the Aggies by a point or two for most of the first set. UNM controlled the game the rest of the way and secured a 25-20.

Riddle led the Lobos with seven kills of the team's 13 kills. USU also had 13 kills, but New Mexico outhit the Aggies, 1.28-.060.

UNM opened the second set with an 8-3 advantage and continued to dominate the rest of the way thanks to strong blocking and hot hitting. The Lobos topped the Aggies in kills (13 to 8), hitting percentage (.300 to -.034) and blocks (7-2).

The Aggies opened with a 4-0 lead thanks to tough serving by USU's libero Ashlan Rogers-Court. A kill by Riddle thwarted the run and got the Lobos on the board. UNM pawed its way back eventually claiming the lead 12-11 off a kill by Riddle made possible by a nice dig by Lovato followed by a Johnson assist.

The Lobo lead never wavered from there swelling to 20-14 on an offspeed shot to the middle by Ross and closing, 25-18 on a kill by Gullatt followed by an attack error by the Aggies.

Thursday, August 20
6:30 PM - 
vs. Cherry vs. Silver
Friday, August 28
8:00 AM - 
at Belmont
3:00 PM - 
at Albany
Saturday, August 29
5:00 PM - 
at Ball State