LOBO VOLLEYBALL - JOHNSON CENTER
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico hosts Air Force at 7 p.m. MT on Wednesday evening in Mountain West volleyball action.
The Lobos (20-7 overall, 10-6 MW) will be clad in turquoise jerseys against the Falcons (6-21 overall, 3-12 MW). Fans who wear turquoise to the match will receive $2 admission.
The match will be streamed live via the Mountain West Network, production by LoboTV. Live stats will also be available.
New Mexico opened Mountain West play with a 3-1 win at Air Force on Sept. 19, and look to complete the season sweep over the Falcons. The Lobos hold an all-time series lead of 30-3 over the Falcons and are 13-0 against Air Force under head coach Jeff Nelson. The last time UNM dropped a match to Air Force was Sept. 26, 2003 when the Flacons topped the Lobos, 3-0, in Albuquerque.
The Lobos play at Nevada on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT.
LOWDOWN ON THE LOBOS
The Lobos are coming off an 0-2 week in Mountain West action on the road. The Lobos fell in four at then-No. 10 Colorado State on Nov. 14. New Mexico took set one, 25-16, before dropping the next three, 20-25, 19-25 and 19-25. UNM was swept at Wyoming on Nov. 16.
New Mexico is tied for the lead in the Mountain West in opponent hitting percentage in overall matches, holding foes to .154 accuracy. The Lobos are No. 3 in the conference and No. 24 in the nation in blocks-per-set for overall matches, with an average of 2.74.
Redshirt junior Chantale Riddle continues to pace the Lobos and the MW in overall and conference-only matches with 4.00 kills-per-set and 4.70 points-per-set. In MW-only matches, she averages 4.02 kills-per-set and 4.65 points-per-set. She is No. 30 in the nation in points-per-set and No. 39 for kills-per-set.Riddle is also UNM’s leader in aces with 15 on the season.
Outside hitters Cassie House and Devanne Sours add 2.49 and 1.49 kills-per-set apiece, while senior middle blocker Lexi Ross hits at a team-best .329 clip and averages 1.97 kills-per-set and 1.13 blocks-per-set.
Redshirt sophomore Hannah Johnson handles setting duties for UNM and dishes out 10.79 assists-per-set, which ranks her third in the MW in overall matches. She is tied as the league leader in double-doubles in overall matches with 15 and is tied for second in MW only matches with seven. Senior libero Miquella Lovato is second in the league in digs-per-set in overall (4.66) and MW-only matches with an average of (4.51).
Sophomore middle blocker Skye Gullatt is the highest ranked underclassmen in the MW top-10 for blocks at fourth with 1.25 stuffs-per-set.
WIN NO. 2O OF 2013 -- CHANCE FOR MOST WINS IN NELSON ERA
For the 12th time in program history, and the fifth time under head coach Jeff Nelson (seven seasons), the Lobos have achieved a 20-win season.
With four regular-season matches remaining, the Lobos could finish with the most wins in the Nelson era and the most wins in over 20 years.
The most wins for the Lobos in a season under Nelson is 22, achieved in 2008. The most wins before that is 23 -- done in 1991 when Laurel Brassey was the head coach.
ABOUT AIR FORCE
Air Force enters the week No. 10 in the Mountain West standings with a 6-21 overall and 3-12 MW mark. As New Mexico’s travel partner, the Falcons faced Wyoming and nationally-ranked Colorado State last week, and like the Lobos, went 0-2. Air Force lost in four at Wyoming on Nov. 14 and was swept by the Rams on Nov. 16.
The Falcons are led by sophomore outside hitter Akokwe Clement who averages 2.87 kills per-set and 0.82 digs-per-set. Sophomore outside hitter Maggie Sherrill, senior right-side hitter Cami Richan and junior middle blocker Ayesha Hein add 2.71, 2.11 and 2.07 kills-per-set, respectively. Junior setter Hillary Keltner anchors the offense with an assists-per-set average of 10.01. She adds 2.44 digs-per-set.
Defensive specialists Rebecca Bates, a sophomore, and Emma Dridge, a junior, average just over 2.50 digs-per-set apiece.
The Lobos and Falcons met at USAFA on Sept. 19 to open MW play and UNM came away with a 3-1 win (25-17, 25-21, 21-25, 26-24).
NEW MEXICO INKS SPRAGG & CARRASCO FOR 2014-15
Victoria Spragg (Belen, N.M.) and Mariessa Carrasco (El Paso, Texas) each signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball at the University of New Mexico beginning next fall.
PrepVolleyball.com lists Spragg as No. 35 on its Senior Aces Top 43 Middle Blockers in the class of 2014 and head coach Jeff Nelson calls her the best player in the state of New Mexico this season. The 6-foot-4 1/2 middle blocker is a five-year letterwinner in volleyball and two-year letterwinner in basketball. In 2012 Spragg was named First-Team All-District, Second Team All-State and two-time District 6 4A Player of the Year (2012 and 2013). She also earned District All-Academic accolades as a junior, and her 3.91 GPA ranks her No. 7 in her class. Spragg begins her third year of playing ball for New Mexico Juniors this fall.
Carrasco is a 6-foot-1 middle blocker who is a four-year letterwinner in volleyball, having earned her first varsity letter at Leilehua High School in Wahiawa, Hawaii, and the remaining three at Chapin High School in El Paso, Texas.
As a sophomore in 2011, Carrasco helped Leilehua finish runner-up at the Hawaii State Championships and for the past two seasons has helped Chapin win the 1-4A District title -- shared title in 2012 and outright champions this fall.
Carrasco earned All-State honorable mention (Hawaii) in 2011 and in 2012 was named All-City Second Team. She recorded 128 blocks as a junior, which is the Chapin High School record.
She started out playing club volleyball in Hawaii at Mililani Volleyball Club where she helped her team earn the state championships for 16s and finished third in state at the 18s level. Most recenlty Carrasco played for Wildfire Volleyball Club where she and her team were El Paso Stars Power League Champions and took second place at both the Sun Country Tournament and the Albuquerque Qualifier.
Carrasco is also a standout in the classroom, having been recognized specifically for her performance in advanced biology class.
SKIPPER NAMED CAPITAL ONE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT FIRST TEAM
University of New Mexico volleyball’s Lena Skipper earned Capital One Academic All-District First Team honors for District VII as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America on November 7. With the District honor, the senior is now eligible for Academic All-America, which will be voted on and announced later this month.
Skipper, a native of Melbourne, Australia, and a Liberal Arts major, boasts a 4.05 GPA -- the highest among all Division I honorees and the second-highest among all honorees. Hannah Brickley, a senior biology major from Division III Trinity College, was the only other volleyball honoree to post a GPA above 4.0 -- she has a 4.13.
Skipper is the 10th Lobo volleyball student-athlete in program history to earn regional academic honors and the fourth student-athlete to do so during Nelson’s era, joining Kelly Williamson (First team, 2011 and First team, 2010), Jade Michaelsen (Third team, 2010), and Jeanne Fairchild (Second team, 2008).
It’s the first season Skipper was eligible for nomination as she transferred to UNM last season. As a junior, she earned fall Mountain West Academic All-Conference honors and was named a 2012-13 MW Scholar-Athlete.
She credits her Australian education and support from her family in her ability to successfully balance the demands of a Division I student-athlete.
Skipper is one of four MW volleyball student-athletes to earn Academic All-District honors. Marissa Brand (Fresno State, Sr., psychology major); Ayesha Hein (Air Force, Jr., astronautical engineering major) and Medline Westman (UNLV, Sr., communications) were also honored by Capital One/CoSIDA.
JOHNSON REACHES 1K ASSISTS IN 2013; BREAKS INTO PROGRAM'S SINGLE-SEASON TOP-10
Heading into the Lobos’ Nov. 9 match with Utah State, Hannah Johnson needed 25 assists to reach 1,000 for the season. Johnson tallied 39 in the three-set match to reach the season milestone.
She broke into the single-season top-10 on Nov. 14 with 40 assists at No. 10 Colorado State, which pushed her past Sarah Kwasigroch’s 1,068 recorded in 2006.
Johnson currenlty has 1,079 on the season and is tied at No. 9 on the list with Alicia Bergmann who had 1,079 in 1994. With four matches remaining in the regular season, Johnson could climb as high as No. 6 on the list. That spot is also currently occupied by Kwasigroch who had 1,088 in 2005. No. 7 is occupied by Karen Saavedra-Warnock who had 1,123 in 1987.
RIDDLE REACHES 1K CAREER KILLS, BECOMES PART OF PROGRAM CAREER TOP-10
Redshirt junior Chantale Riddle recorded her 1,000th career kill in the fourth set of the Lobos 3-1 win at San José State on Oct. 19. The Roswell, N.M., native needed 17 entering the match to reach the 1K mark and tallied a match high 20. Riddle is the 11th Lobo in program history to reach the milestone and the first since 2010 when Lisa Meter recorded her career 1,000th.
Riddle recorded 20 kills against UNLV on Oct. 31 to break into the top-10 in program history in career kills. On Nov. 14 she took over the No. 8 spot from Anna Reines (1,089; 2001-03) and she currently has 1,114.
Amber Smith (1,122; 1996-99), Kim Hicks (1,131; 1980-81 & ‘83), and Lisa Meeter (1,161; 2007-10) are No. 7, 6 and 5 on the list and it’s likely Riddle could surpass them yet this season.
The most kills recorded in a career by a Lobo volleyball player is 1,579, done by Tania Gooley (1991-94).
RIDDLE PART OF CAREER POINTS HISTORY
Riddle surpassed the milestone of 1,000 points earlier this season and took over the No. 10 spot for career points in UNM program history when she recorded 14.0 on Oct. 26 in the Lobos’ 3-0 win over Nevada. The redshirt junior is at 1,308.0 and counting.
She bumped Nao Ikeda from the No. 9 spot and looks to surpass Kim Hicks who is No. 8 (1335.0; 1980-81, ‘83) and Lisa Meeter at No. 7 (1,352.0; 2007-10).
RIDDLE RANKED IN CAREER ATTEMPTS, BLOCK ASSISTS AND TOTAL BLOCKS
Riddle is also No. 5 in career attempts with 3,063 and No. 5 in block assists with 256. She is No. 10 in total blocks with 293.
ROSS IN CAREER TOP-10 FOR BLOCK ASSISTS; CLOSE FOR TOTAL BLOCKS
Senior Lexi Ross is No. 6 in career block assists with 254 and counting. She could move up as high as No. 3 or 4 before the season ends.
In total blocks, Ross has 285 and is likely to crack into the career top-10. Spot No. 10 on the list is occupied by Chantale Riddle who has 293 and counting (2011-present).
LOVATO CRACKS INTO DIGS SINGLE-SEASON TOP-10 FOR SECOND TIME IN CAREER
With her 15 digs against Utah State on Nov. 9, senior libero Miquella Lovato reached Lobo volleyball program’s single-season top-10 list for the second time of her career. She has 464 on the year, which ranks her No. 4 on the list. Lovato also occupies the third spot on the list as she had 465 digs last season.
Sharon Browning is second on the single-season digs list (499 in 1992) and former Lobo great/current volleyball director of operations Allison Buck holds the top spot (561 in 2011).
LOVATO FOURTH IN LOBO HISTORY FOR CAREER DIGS
Lovato recorded her 1,000th career dig early in the third set against Northern Arizona on Sept. 14, becoming the 13th Lobo to reach the milestone.
Her season-high is 26, which came in UNM’s 3-2 win at New Mexico State on Sept. 23. Her career-high is 27, which she did twice last year; first in a 3-2 win over UALR on Sept. 14 and the other in a 3-1 loss at Fresno State on Sept. 27.
She cracked into the Lobos’ top-10 list for career digs earlier this season and currently has 1,324, which ranks her fourth. The career record is 1,630, held by Buck (2008-11).
Lovato is second in the league for digs-per-set, trailing Wyoming senior Libero Becky Stewart who averages 5.19.